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Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism Hardcover – March 17, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Paying significant attention to creationism's newest incarnation, intelligent design, this revision of Petto and Godfrey's 1983 Scientists Confront Creationism contains mostly new essays and some revised holdovers from the original edition. The 16 articles include contributions from some of the biggest names in the anti-creationism field: Wesley Elsberry demolishes the concept of complexity promoted by William Dembski, while several contributors demonstrate that Dembski defines his terms idiosyncratically, in a manner that scientists have not found productive, and that his mathematics and logic are wanting. Similarly, ample evidence is presented to show that Michael Behe's best examples of irreducible complexity have been found to have simpler versions indicating how they could have evolved. Individually, the chapters are well written for a general audience. Collectively, however, there is a fair amount of repetition, The best chapters directly take on the claims of creationists and promoters of intelligent design; less engaging and useful are chapters that largely ignore the controversy and present detailed evolutionary information. Nonetheless, there is much to help readers gain a robust understanding of the current controversy. Indeed, the point is very clearly made that the battle is a political one and not one of scientific substance. (Mar.)
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About the Author

Andrew J. Petto is the editor of Reports of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California, and a lecturer in anatomy and physiology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He lives in Wisconsin.

Laurie R. Godfrey is a professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives in Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (March 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393050904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393050905
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,354,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tom Carpenter VINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This books is, without question, a must read for individuals on both sides of the Intelligent Design debate. I, for one, do not understand why Christians are threatened by reading such material and why it is automatically given low reviews (1 or 2 stars) as a method of attack. First, I am an author and I know that having reviews helps sell books and one or two negative reviews can be very good for a book. Second, I am a Christian and I found the book very well written and full of interesting information.

Now, before all the evolutionists get to excited, the book did not present any "conversion" power arguments. In other words, there was nothing here that made me say, "Wow! Evolution did happen." There were many things that made me think more deeply and there were also some interesting insights about the thinking of the opposing side.

For example, on page 182 speaking about a comment by Francis H. C. Crick made in an application for a student research fellowship, the author admits that the goal of showing that areas apparently too mysterious to be explained by physics and chemistry could actually be explained has not been achieved. Then, in the next breath, the author says, "there is no evidence indicating an ultimate supernatural origin of the basic biological phenomena." So we see that the author requires evidence to believe there is a supernatural explanation, but he does not require any evidence to prove that there is a natural explanation. In other words, things that science has failed to explain must be believed to have a natural explanation even though there is no evidence for it. Notice how this is accorded to the naturalistic viewpoint, but not to the supernatural viewpoint.
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Fervent fundamentalist religious groups (Jewish, Christian, or Islamic), have exhibited chronic allergies to science ever since Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" convincingly presented his theory of evolution by natural selection. Unweaving rainbows could be tolerated - but dismantling cherished creation myths spawned an array of pseudoscientific hives and rashes ranging from 'creation science' to 'Intelligent Design.'

Faith-based resistance to evolution - a theory supported by an overwhelming and extraordinary consilience of scientific evidence - has deleteriously impacted everything from separation of church and state to economic competitiveness as science, and science education, became essential prerequisites for information age economies and political systems. "Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism" thoroughly and convincingly deconstructs the all dog, no pony, creationist and ID sideshow with sixteen essays by prominent scientists, historians, and educators.

PART ONE focuses on the origins of 'scientific creationism' and 'Intelligent Design.' Ronald L. Numbers unmasks the shell-game strategies employed by creationists attempting to substitute religious dogma for science in American classrooms. Shortly after the Supreme Court rejected 'scientific creationism' in the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard ruling 'Intelligent Design,' chronicled by Eugenie C. Scott, whelped into view. Sired by an unremarkable claque of born again lawyers, underachieving academics, and a Moonie; 'Intelligent Design' was accompanied by a strident but content-free PR initiative from The Discovery Institute for the Renewal of Science and Culture. John R.
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Format: Hardcover
"Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism" is an important updated edition of an earlier volume focusing on the history and claims made by "scientific creationists" back in the 1980s. This recently expanded edition, edited by Andrew J. Petto, editor of the Reports of the National Center for Science Education, and Laurie R. Godfrey, the editor of the original edition, takes a long, hard look at the history, scientific claims and educational implications of creationism, especially in its latest, most virulent, flavor, Intelligent Design. This superb tome is subdivided into three parts; the first is a historical and philosophical survey of creationism. The second part explores its most important scientific claims in ample detail. The third section examines creationism from the perspective of trying to understand science, discussing how and why it fails to meet the rigorous self-imposed centuries-old standards of peer-reviewed scientific research. The sixteen contributors include a diverse group of scientists, philosophers, and other educators, including such luminaries as philosopher of science Robert Pennock, geochronologist G. Brent Dalrymple, vertebrate paleobiologist Kevin Padian and historian Ronald Numbers. This is truly an important, exceptional book which deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone seeking to understand the history and aims of American creationist movements, especially that of Intelligent Design.

The opening section on the history and philosophy of creationism features superlative essays written by Ronald Numbers and National Center for Science Education executive director Eugenie Scott. Numbers' essay starts this section with a terse, but vivid, account of the history of American creationism.
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