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Unintelligent Design Hardcover – December 1, 2003
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The Amazon Book Review
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"...an important addition to the science and religion debate...those interested in the field should read it." -- Metanexus Online Journal, December 8, 2004
"...this book would be useful for those wishing to sharpen their critical thinking skills generally..." -- Fortean Times, May 2004
"If you enjoy watching a first-rate mind at work, you will get a lot of pleasure from reading this book." -- Australian Humanist, Winter 2004
"It would be a real service...if the book was required reading for school board members and teachers..." -- Quarterly Review of Biology, September 2004
From the Inside Flap
His work is divided into three parts: first, an attack on the specifics of intelligent design, a theory spearheaded by the writings of William Dembski (THE DESIGN INFERENCE, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, NO FREE LUNCH), Michael Behe (DARWIN'S BLACK BOX), and Phillip Johnson (DARWIN ON TRIAL, THE WEDGE OF TRUTH, DEFEATING DARWINISM BY OPENING MINDS); second, a critical dismantling of several arguments closely related to the intelligent design movement, such as attempts to "harmonize" the Bible with modern scientific understanding of the universe, the anthropic principle, and nonrandom evolution; and finally, a discussion of proper scientific method and probability theory, as well as an infamous account of science gone bad for the sake of religion--the Bible code theory propagated by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg.
This thoughtful and incisive critique from a veteran scientist genuinely concerned about the integrity of the scientific enterprise wastes no diplomacy on those who would see its purpose twisted to ideological ends. Perakh successfully ties his opponents' arguments together by demonstrating how most of them are based on the same mistaken view of probability theory and the same disregard for impartial objectivity in testing hypotheses. This is a must-read for anyone interested in separating scientific facts from religion masquerading as science.
Top Customer Reviews
I had expected that this would be the only highlight of the book, but there is a considerable amount of good reading in the seven chapter second section addressing the Creation Science authors. What I particularly enjoyed was that Perakh did not merely stay with the well known ultra-biblical-literalists from the Christian Right, but also addressed Judaic creationists in four chapters. In fact, there were only 3 out of the first 317 pages that I had any quibble with, and these (290-292) are the reactions of a specialist toward a generalist. I shudder to imagine what Perakh could do to any attempt on my part to write about physics.
A "reader from Riesel, TX" wrote an unfavorable review of Mark Perakh's new book last December. Bill Dembski was "outed" as the "reader from Riesel, TX" by the Amazon (Canada) software glitch a month or so ago. I would have suspected this anyway, as "reader from Riesel" nee "Waco" is typical of Dembski's other responses to critics -- attack obliquely, avoid their actual positions, claim that their criticisms have been addressed elsewhere, or that you will totally answer them in your next book.Read more ›
To find an additional niche for another book was not an easy task. Perakh, in my view, has done it quite successfully - his book is unlike any other published so far about Intelligent Design or about biblical neo-apologetics.
The format of this book is rather unconventional - it is built around a set of publications (books and articles) by, first, the most prominent defenders of the Intelligent Design and, second, by some Christian and Jewish writers, all of whom Perakh unequivocally debunks.
I was impressed by the strict logic of Perakh's narrative. For example, after having read chapter 1, which contains a very meticulous analysis of publications by William Dembski (perhaps the most prominent champion of Intelligent Design), I could not help but to say to myself, "Gee, the king is naked." Using unrelenting logic, Perakh has demonstrated the lack of substance in Dembski's theory, whose quasi-mathematical appearance serves as pure embellishment covering the lack of meaningful contents.
I will be looking for other publications by Perakh, starting from his posts on the Talk Reason web site. Welcome to the fray, Perakh, you get five stars from me.
His second point, and one that I hadn't seen spelled out so well before, is that the idea of irreducible complexity is a jumbled compilation of observations which Paley and others have offered much more clearly long ago. Perakh breaks down each component of irreducible complexity and shows how it does not justify the strong claims made for it by ID theorists.
My frustration in all of this is that the people who most need to read this book aren't going to take the time and effort necessary to engage in his arguments.
Professor Perakh's book is written as a series of book reviews and critiques, with a couple of chapters toward the end on what science is and how probabilities are determined. His reviews start with the chief proponents of intelligent design theories, and move on to others who have tried to reconcile science and religious texts.
I found that this book was occasionally dry and difficult to read. I have to confess that I put some of my difficulty in reading this book down to the fact that its author is a physicist, and I am not used to the style of that discipline. Although this book is intended for a general audience, the author's professional area of expertise does strongly influence the style, content, and focus.
Having said that the book is sometimes difficult, I found that I could understand the challenging sections with a little effort and re-reading. That aside, what was very striking is that, at times, beautifully clear and incisive points made by the author criticizing proponents of "intelligent design" theories jump off the page. There is some truly razor-sharp logical and evidentiary analysis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mark Perakh (born 1924) is a professor emeritus of Mathematics and statistical mechanics at CSU Fullerton. Read morePublished on May 3, 2013 by Steven H Propp
Mark Perakh is a physics professor. He has written a series of book reviews of books by Dembski, Behe, Johnson, Ross, Jeffrey, Heeren and others. Read morePublished on December 11, 2011 by Barry Rucker
Great title and potential but ended up mainly refuting other authors who were promoting intelligent design. Could have been so much more.Published on June 18, 2008 by John H. Woertendyke
"Unintelligent Design" offers an outstanding summation of the mainstream scientific community's arguments against the Theory of Intelligent Design. Read morePublished on August 8, 2007 by Martin Kane
I'm going to differ with some of the other reviewers of this book. My opinion is that of the three parts in the book the last is the most important. Read morePublished on February 27, 2007 by John Matlock
This fine book offers a powerful and sustained critique of the creationism argument versus evolutionary theory, especially the most recent iteration of "intelligent design" which... Read morePublished on January 15, 2007 by Roger D. Launius
Whether Dr. Perakh is entirely wrong, partially right, or entirely right is almost irrelevant. Anyone trying to understand his ideas has to dig them out of a tremendous pile of... Read morePublished on July 10, 2006 by Occasional reviewer
This is actually three books in one, none of which actually relates to the title (more on that later). Read morePublished on February 12, 2006 by Joseph Kaiser Canner
Unintelligent Design is a great book, with an even better title, and I heartedly recommend it. Mark Perakh has a lot of great ideas about how to defeat this pernicious hypothesis. Read morePublished on February 5, 2006 by Jedidiah Carosaari