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Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism Paperback – February 2, 2006
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About the Author
TANER EDIS is associate professor of Physics at Truman State University. While primarily a theoretical physicist, he has also written numerous articles on the secularist tradition in science. He is the author of The Ghost In the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science (2002) and co-editor of Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism (2004).
Top Customer Reviews
While this book is rather expensive, I found that the money was well spent. As I started reading chapter after chapter, I was fascinated by the force and clarity of the argumentation by its thirteen authors, who took time from their scientific work to perform their duty as scientists and citizens concerned over the well financed and persistent campaign by the new crop of creationists against genuine science. The thirteen authors dissected the intelligent design pseudo-science from the standpoints of biology, physics, mathematics, archaeology, and philosophy. Each aspect was dealt with by an expert in the particular field. As the collection of negative reviews on this site shows, even the most convincing arguments will not change the minds of those who, by virtue of having preconceived views, rejecti in advance any arguments which are contrary to their beliefs. However, for those who still keep open minds or are uncertain which side the truth is on, this book is a must read. The negative reviews on this site seriously misrepresent the contents of this book. Some of the reviewers who wrote negative reviews obviously have not read the book, as their antics do not refer to any specific points discussed in it. While a positive review may legitimately be of a general type without delving into a book's specifics, a negative review carries no weight unless it critically addresses specific notions in the discussed publication. That is what the negative reviews on this site fail to do. Overall it is a clear case, and five stars may be assigned with confidence.
1. As a person who is skeptical of outlandish claims on both sides of this debate, I was pleasantly surprised at the restrained nature of this book. The opening chapter, written by one of the editors, sets the stage by going to great pains to admit that ID is not intriniscally forbidden from the scientific forum (p. 17), and that it is at least theoretically possible that future research could validate some form of ID (p. 18). This in constrast to many scientists would bar ID from the table forever. Of course, this point is only theoretical at present, since the book is all about how ID fails as science (and mathematics).
2. Unlike many anthologies, this book, especially in the first half, is quite self-conscious about not being repetitive; the chapter authors frequently refer the reader to other chapters that look at other aspects of their assigned topic.
3. While most of the chapters are informative and useful, two are particularly so, perhaps because they are not as focused on refuting Behe and Dembski. Chapter 3 is an excellent discussion of why common descent cannot be limited to the certain classification levels. This chapter addresses ID proponents who allow for a great deal of common descent and those who allow for very little. While the former are getting more press these days, the latter are still active in large numbers.
4. Chapter 7 is a fascinating look at how nature can, and demonstrably does, produce complexity and apparent design. This is probably the most approachable chapter in the book.
5.Read more ›
Now to the point, which the critics seem to miss.
The burden of proof is not on Darwinian evolution, but on alternative theories: Darwinian evolution has been, and continues to be, predominant, and if ID wants to be considered as a serious contender it needs to show that (a) it has at least equivalent explanatory power and (b) satisfies all of the usual criteria for scientific theories. Foremost among the latter is *disprovability* -- it must be possible to disprove the theory, or at least to challenge it such that its proponents must provide a (disprovable) alternative theory that has the same explanatory power.
ID is not disprovable, by definition: no "theory" that has a magic escape clause ("and then a miracle happens") is disprovable, because a miracle (extra-scientific event) can always be (and always is) invoked.
If (for example) human remains were found in strata corresonding to the Cretaceous -- not just once, but in many locations -- this would be a blow to the prevailing theory. This has not, to my knowledge, happened -- nor has any other piece of concrete evidence arisen to challenge evolution.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To make an analogy: If the proponents of this book reflect it's value at explanation, then the book is worthless, because their logic and analysis I found weak, or non-existent and... Read morePublished on December 21, 2013 by Inewton
The Preface to the first edition of this 2004 book states, "This book concerns... a new and comparatively sophisticated form of creationism. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by Steven H Propp
I came to this book after reading Alister McGrath's "Surprised by Meaning" ASIN:0664236928 Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things]] wondering if... Read morePublished on May 18, 2012 by jtq
This is a good compendium of responses to the usual arguments advanced to promote ID. Because it is by several authors, the writing clarity is not uniform but generally the... Read morePublished on December 6, 2009 by Don Jennings
Some may say that are looking for the truth and that has led them to the conclusion that there is no creation. Read morePublished on April 7, 2009 by Jose Luis Herrera Diestra
It should not be construed as irony that I am posting this review on Darwin's 200th birthday, nor should it be seen as a deed worthy of celebration, and yet, I admit that I am... Read morePublished on February 12, 2009 by John Kwok
From the 1980's we've been waiting for scientists of the Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian persuasion to provide explanations for - e.g. Read morePublished on May 31, 2007 by Theoretix
This is a very good book, several parts of this book were over my head as I am not an expert in biology or mathematical statistics, however the book was clearly written and... Read morePublished on November 12, 2006 by J. O'Donnell
Back in Galileo's time the church had a big argument with physics. The church held that the sun went around the earth. Read morePublished on April 3, 2006 by John Matlock