On December 20, 2005, a U.S. district court in Dover, Pennsylvania, ruled in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board that teaching Intelligent Design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The judge explained that Intelligent Design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents." This case was just the latest attempt by proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism to undermine the teaching of evolution in high school biology classes. The emotionally charged controversy, which has been going on since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, shows no sign of letting up.
This excellent collection, now fully updated, will inform readers about the history of the debate and bring philosophical clarity to the complex arguments on both sides. The editors, both of whom served as expert witnesses in two different court cases, start by chronicling the heated discussion that surrounded the publication of Darwin’s famous work. In the next part, they present articles that explicate modern evolutionary theory, including philosophical critiques by Karl Popper and others. The selections that follow discuss so-called Creation Science, focusing in particular on the 1981 McLean court case in Arkansas. In the final section, the philosophical issues surrounding the distinction between religion and science in the most recent Kitzmiller case are considered. This outstanding overview of an important contemporary debate shows that philosophy has a vital role to play in major decisions affecting education and interpretations of science and religion.
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45 of 47 found the following review helpful:
Court Case Provides Framework For Evolution EssaysFeb 03, 1999
This book of readings on the evolution/creationism controversy is set within the framework of the important case of McLean vs. Arkansas that overthrew an "education equal time" law in Arkansas in 1982.
As one of the reviewers who actually read the book, I will say that it is quite worthwhile. The initial article that seemed to have given one exasperated reviewer such trouble was simply Bishop Paley's famous 1805 Blind Watchmaker argument for a creator as first cause. His inclusion of the eye as an example of argument from design is famous, and has stuck with the creationists ever since. Its inclusion in the book was important.
Included articles discuss the history and development of Darwinian theory, the essence of evolutionary and creationist mechanisms (Yes, there is a creationist article in the book, by Gish), and the philosophy of science surrounding both evolution in general, and, towards the book's end, an extensive philosophical analysis of the trial arguments. I found the discussions of the trial to be fascinating.
The sophistication and topics of the essays vary widely, and I would not recommend this book as an initial introduction for the layman. An excellent book to be read first or concurrently with "But Is It Science", would be "Abusing Science", by the noted philosopher of science, Phillip Kitcher. That book covers the basic mechanics and philosophy of evolutionist/creationist theory in any easy to understand, but reasonably thorough way.
32 of 36 found the following review helpful:
excellent, varied overviewSep 01, 1999
This is a very good starting point for anyone interested in either creation-evolution or issues in the philosophy of science. The final section - "The Philosophical Aftermath" - is pretty tough going for philopsophical neophytes, but the rest of the book has excellent background materials and lucid summaries of arguments and relevant philosophy. (Since it's a collection of materials from various sources, the quality and readability do vary - the opaqueness of the text an earlier reviewer implied really only applies to a few of the many essays and selections.)
The transcript of Ruse's trial testimony and his description of his involvement in the legal battle are among the best readings - concise, thorough, readable - available for clarifying why creationism is not science, and what it means to be "scientific".
17 of 19 found the following review helpful:
A point blank look at the Evolution vs. creation controversyJul 10, 1998
Although the content of this book requires a great deal of understanding of the arguments between both evolutionists and creationists, I found it to be very informative.Likewise, philosophy is a very difficult discipline to read and understand at times. Ruse deliver's arguments from both the evolutionists and creationists perspectives in their published form. Upon doing so, the reader is able to discriminate between those claims that are scientific and those that are "nonscientific". I highly reccomend this book to anyone researching "The Evolution vs. Creationism" debate.
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Excellent Anthology of the ArgumentsJun 20, 2001
This is in effect an anthology of selected writings dealing with the science vs. creationism issue. The author starts with Bishop Paley's famous blind watchmaker argument for a creator and brings the arguments up to date. As other reviewers have noted, the quality of the reading depends in some cases on the original author. However, Ruse has done a good job of including a variety of styles and levels, and a complete reading should give you a good overview of the arguments over the years. This makes a good reference book or a good reader for someone trying to familiarize themselves with the controversy. The extensive philosophical analysis of the trial arguments are indeed fascinating.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Brief Review of the latest Ed., But Is It Science? . . .Dec 24, 2009
By Paul O. Ricci
Excellent book in general!
As a philosophy instructor emeritus,and with a special interest in the philosophy of science,I could easily relate to Part III: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Kitzmiller case. In that section, the articles by Pennock, Judge John Jones II, and Elliot Sober on why intelligent design creationsm is not science, were clear,detailed and fair. The book did allow the creationst point of view (Larry Laudan, Michael Behe, Philip Johnson, et.al.)so others could read and evaluate their positions.
The last chapter in Part III by Pennock touched on the old problem of demarcation between science and non-science(pseudo-science in particular) and on the conditions necessary and /or sufficient to distinguish between the two areas.
The book is pretty much the "bible" on the creation/evolution issue,at least regarding the legality of teaching some form of creationism in the public schools. I would highly recommend the book to anyone, especially creationists of various kinds.
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