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Intelligent Thought: Science versus the…

Intelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement (2006)

by John Brockman (Editor)

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Published just after the Kitzmiller versus Dover ruling. A collection of essays from those on the side of science and reason in the never ending debate about creationism in science classrooms in the USA.

By turn entertaining and educational whilst consistently eloquent.

The book also covers the wider issue of science and reason and the role they can play in the world today.

A better summary of the issues I have not found.

Coyne on whether ID is science, science versus religion by Susskind, Dennett on ID the hoax, Humphrey on consciousness and Darwinism, White on human evolution, Shubin on the move to the land, Dawkins on intelligent aliens, Sulloway on Darwin and ID, Atran on unintelligent design, Pinker on evolution and ethics, Smolin on evolution and other sciences, Kauffman on ID - Science or not? Seth Lloyd discusses an intelligent universe, Randall on scientific method and the use of words, whilst Mark Hauser discusses education and Sampson explains the importance of "evoliteracy". We are also given a complete printing of the Judges Verdict from the Dover trial.

As the editor says "The Visigoths are at the gates. Will we let them in?" ( )
  psiloiordinary | Jun 10, 2008 |
I found this to be an outstanding collection of essays on a very complex and hotly debated topic. I consider Lisa Randall's essay the best in that she is the only one to make the key distinction between the fact of evolution and the mechanism.

While there are obvious moral implications to the debate, I find it premature in that there are so many open questions in science as to what is going on right now, e.g. quantum mechanical decoherence, fetal development, etc.
  DigitalOntology | Apr 4, 2007 |
Intelligent Thought is a wonderful collection of 16 essays exploring the question of science (evolution) versus the intelligent design movement. The contributors all come down squarely on the side of science and, with varying degrees of emotion and intensity, dismiss IDM. Most try to present the IDM side of the argument, and to assess it as a competing scientific approach, but in doing so, they only confirm the intellectual shabbiness of the IDM. And lest anyone think the contributors are just grinding favourite axes, they only have to refer to the judicial decision in the Pennsylvania case where the judge unequivocally "addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious antecedents". (The fact that this judge received death threats speaks volumes for the strength of Christian charity and forgiveness amongst some of the true believers.)

There are many good quotes and arguments in the book addressing the hoax of the "controversy", the meaning of missing evidence in the fossil records, the fallacy of "irreducible complexity", the weakness of the argument from improbability, and the denial of the fact of evolution in the face of a continually growing mountain of evidence from several fields of science.

Science, as one of the contributors notes, "involves a set of falsifiable assumptions and a framework for prediction and understanding observable phenomena. It arises from an amalgam of observation, mathematics, intuition, and experiment. Hypotheses that contradict facts or aren't testable are not science." And this is where ID manifestly fails.

"To sum up, how do evolution and ID compare as competing explanations of nature? Here are the things that evolution can explain but intelligent design cannot: the fossil record, biogeography, the existence of vestigial organs and pseudogenes, selection for genes within an organism, elements of poor or suboptimal design, and many other features of development. Here is what intelligent design can in principle explain and evolution cannot: any adaptation that could not possibly have evolved by natural selection. No such adaptations are known".

The judge described the decision to teach intelligent design as an alternative to the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection as "breathtaking inanity". But vast numbers of Americans deny the fact of evolution, think ID should be offered as an alternative theory, and in this they have the support of the President of the USA. Scary.
  John | Nov 19, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307277224, Paperback)

Evolutionary science lies at the heart of a modern understanding of the natural world. Darwin’s theory has withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny, and today it not only explains the origin and design of living things, but highlights the importance of a scientific understanding in our culture and in our lives.

Recently the movement known as “Intelligent Design” has attracted the attention of journalists, educators, and legislators. The scientific community is puzzled and saddened by this trend–not only because it distorts modern biology, but also because it diverts people from the truly fascinating ideas emerging from the real science of evolution. Here, join fifteen of our preeminent thinkers whose clear, accessible, and passionate essays reveal the fact and power of Darwin’s theory, and the beauty of the scientific quest to understand our world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:16 -0400)

A compelling tale of the high-rolling, fast-living connections between the casinos and the worlds of legitimate finance and organized crime.

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