Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism Hardcover – March 17, 2007
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
I appreciate the book greatly because it helps me understand the arguments from both sides better and it also provides me with windows into the thinking process of the evolutionist's mind. I know that evolutionists think I am illogical or irrational for not agreeing with evolution; however, I have also studied logic and thinking skills for much of my adult life and I am internally sincerely certain that I am thinking logically. Therefore, I do not think those who disagree with me are thinking illogically or irrationally just a I don't think this of myself though others clearly disagree with me; I think they are thinking differently. They consider some things to be true that I consider to be possible and I consider some things to be true that they consider possible. They may also consider some things to be probable that I consider to be improbable. It all depends on our biases, which we all have - some are just afraid to admit it.
I think we all need to work harder to understand each other and we need to spend less time attacking the character of each other. This book helps us do this - yes, even those of us who believe in a Creator. Creationists, IDers and evolutionists are nearly all sincere. There have been liars on both sides, but we need to realize that the person against whom we are debating is just that: a person. Whether they evolved or were created, they are of the same species as me and I respect them.
Overall, I did not find the tone of this book to be harsh or judgemental like, say, a Richard Dawkins book. This book, for the most part, just presents facts and what the writers perceive to be either facts or strong probabilities. I think the arguments in the article on Biological Complexity are particularly strong, though they have not persuaded me for a few reasons.
First, the author defines complexity in its different manifestations and then shows how evolution could (my word) allow for it; however, the fact that evolution could allow for it in the ways specified does not mean that it did. For example, the author states, "My colleagues have shown (not speculated, shown) that the amino-acid changes that are unique to the bar-headed goose hemoglobin (Perutz 1983; Jessen et al. 1991) do in fact confer higher affinity for oxygen." That is a complete quote, even the emphasis on the word shown is in the original article. Look closely at that quote and read the article in context and you'll see the repeated use of the phrases "changes that are" and "changes we observe" and so on. My point is this: the author emphasizes that his colleagues have "shown" that the amino-acid changes do confer higher affinity for oxygen. My question is: so what? The key to understanding why this argument does not change my opinion in any way is to note that they did not observer the amino-acids changing... they simply observed that the differences between these particular geese and others is in the amino-acids. This change could be designed or it could be lost in the other geese though their ancestors had it. It does not show that some new thing has developed only that it is a different thing than that which we see elsewhere. For this, design is just as good of an explanation.
Second, the argument that the concept of emergence allows for complexity to arise from simplcity is not an argument that proves that complexity has arisen from simplicity in evolutionary biology. It would, at best, prove that it could have. I could argue that God could have created it too. I would have no more observant evidence for my case than the argument of emergence has for the evolutionary case. This is not to say that we do not observe emergence, only that we have not observes a new complex biological entity emerging. In other words, it just says there is an explanation that's compatible with evolution, but it doesn't change the mind of one who is biased against evolution just like my statement arguing for God would not change the mind of one biased toward evolution.
Third and finally, the core argument of ID (irreducible complexity) is very lightly addressed. One example, the eye is given (though this is a fitting example since Darwin also addressed it in Origin) and possible evolutionary steps are highlighted. However, I was surprised to see no clear argument against the logic that says, "There are x number of things that have to be true for the eye to work and these x number of things had to evolve at the same time to make the eye useful. The odds of this happening are staggering and therefore it is just as rational to believe a supernatural power created the eye or guided the evolution of the same as it is to say that the dice fell in the right way." I've heard and read arguments that are acceptable against this logic, but the author didn't really provide them. Instead, an affectionate discourse on the thinking of Darwin was undertaken that resulted in no real persuasion ability.
Now, I'm sure some of you will dislike my review, and I understand. However, I hope you'll notice that I gave the book a good rating while at the same time clearly not being persuaded by it. This is because I love mental stimulation and this book certainly provides plenty. Let me be clear, I do not believe that any of the authors intended to manipulate or misrepresent the information and I hope that no comment has been taken to mean such; however, I do believe that a careful reading and an attention to the choice of words used in the articles reveals more about the bias of the writers (such as is revealed about me in this review too) than the articles reveal about the strengths of modern evolutionary science as opposed to intelligent design.
Most recent customer reviews
A scientist looks at biology. He investigates the inner workings of the cell.Read more