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Customer Review

on July 28, 2004
I wish I could give 3.5 stars for this book, which was an easy, fast and interesting read, but which left me wanting more detail in many sections. Written for a general audience, this book may not satisfy a reader with a scientific background who, like me, may find the passages on logical fallacies and on the basics of evolutionary theory to be old hat. However, a reader who knows little about evolution and hopes to learn will probably find this an enjoyable and non-intimidating introduction to the subject.

For me, the most interesting sections were those that traced the development of the American creationist movement. Underlying the book are a plea for a truce between the warring camps of strict creationists and strict evolutionists and a case for a more moderate approach that makes room for both science and religion -- inspiring food for thought.

What you should *not* expect from this book: Don't expect any substantial discussion of the belief systems of non-Western cultures. Do not expect the latest scientific findings on evolution and genetics or a large number of truly scientific and representative surveys of beliefs. Much use is made of interview snippets, which concretely demonstrate the broad range of beliefs about human origins in the United States. But although the 'Belief Survey' in the book was intriguing, since the sample was highly biased (ethnically, economically, and by education level) it left me wanting more and harder data. This was disappointing for a book that includes a whole chapter on scepticism -- and how data can be misleading.

Finally, do not expect that Peoples is neutral. She is not. While she is neither a strict evolutionist nor a strict creationist, she is certainly pushing a particular point of view. Read this book with an open mind and lots of critical reflection and you will undoubtably enjoy exploring one of the greatest questions of human existence: where did we come from?
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