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From Genesis to Genetics: The Case of Evolution and Creationism Hardcover – Jan 24 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (Jan. 24 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224414
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,924,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A biology textbook author and emeritus professor at UC-Riverside, Moore offers an ardent but frequently simplistic defense of evolution and its place in science education. Addressing an audience of parents, science teachers, civic leaders and "all who desire harmony in a diverse society," Moore presents a serviceable account of evolutionary biology and its evidentiary basis both in Darwin's context and in subsequent research. As an account of the creation-evolution controversy, the book is impaired by equivocation between refereeing the debate and advocating the evolutionist cause. Moore's tendency to stereotype evolutionists as fearless truth-seekers and their critics as repressive fundamentalist demagogues quickly grows tiresome, as the book's polarized display of heroes and villains misrepresents scientific and cultural developments on both sides. Readers with a religious background may be disconcerted by Moore's approach toward religious history and scriptural interpretation, as both are consistently exploited to put creation doctrines or myths in the least complimentary light. Particularly ironic, in light of Moore's lament that today's students are not learning how science works, is the extent to which the actual history and structure of evolutionary theory are distorted in the name of "making the case for evolution." This approach culminates in the kind of sanitized synopsis that makes professional historians of science despair of "textbook science" as a window on scientific reality.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A marvelous and insightful review of the creationism/evolution controversy by an individual who has contributed immeasurably to the public understanding of science." - Lee Hood, author of The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project; "I know of no book that explains the evolution/creation controversy in such a comprehensive manner, and yet in a style that will be understood by high school students." - Richard E. Dickerson, University of California at Los Angeles; "A product of Moore's wisdom and his over 60 years experience as a brilliant and productive scholar, From Genesis to Genetics will bring understanding to both citizens and scientists who are grappling with the contentious issues of science and religion, evolution, and creationism." - Eugenie C. Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education

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In July 1996 a nearly complete human skeleton was found by two college students on the bank of the Columbia River near the town of Kennewick, Washington. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book describes the way creationists approach evolution. If they can find just one thing that evolutionary biologists have yet to explain, they figure that one thing is enough to throw the whole thing out. Such a view is just wrong, and shows an abysmal understanding - or abuse - of science. There are more than enough transitional fossils to convince a fair minded skeptic, but no creationist would ever agree to classify anything as a transitional fossil. Not Archeoptryx, not Acanthostega (sp?), not the mammal-like reptiles. The beautiful documention of the evolution of the mammalian jaw from the reptilian jaw should convince anybody, but it will never convince a creationist.
Of course, there is a lot that scientists don't know about evolution. But there is a lot that we DO know, and there is just too much evidence to simply toss out evolution. This is a theory that will not go away, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it change as we learn more about genetics.
This book is not written for creationists, but for people who might be sympathetic to their cause. If people would learn more about the nature of science, they would be offended by the utter dishonesty and lack of integrity you find in scientific creationism.
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Format: Hardcover
Why do we need another book that seems to explain 19th century scientific issues to a high school level audience ? The very real and serious undermining of science education that has been accomplished by various cultural movements in the United States seems to have forced us to retreat to this kind of reinforcement of basic scientific reasoning that previously could have been taken for granted.
The core of this book is a quick 20,000 foot high overview of the fossil record, Linnean taxonomy, the common cell structure, vestiges of evoltuon in embryological development, vestigal structures in fully developed organisms, layers of sediment, radiocarbon dating, and modern genetics. We get a good, if very simplified, presentation of the evidence that entire species of living things have appeared and gone extinct over the eons.
Moore also reviews the reasons why Biblical scholars have different interpretations of Genesis. Unfortunately, Moore never seems to fully appreciate why these modern lines of thought might not be convincing and might present a problem for a lot of people.
Between the lines you can sense the real frustration in this book, of science educators faced with the task of trying to teach to an audience relatively unaware of the tradition of causal models and scientific descriptions of the natural world, and better prepared to debate metaphysics than evaluate scientific theories.
Just as the transmission of heritable characteristics through reproduction requires a stable genome, the transmission of culture, whether it be scientific or religious in nature, requires a grounding of trust.
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By A Customer on April 7 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a breadth of knowledge this man has! What humanity! What generousity of spirit! I read it in one sitting because I found it so fascinating. It was worth sacrificing a weekend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Shows what evolution explains, but misses the point of faith March 28 2002
By Todd I. Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Why do we need another book that seems to explain 19th century scientific issues to a high school level audience ? The very real and serious undermining of science education that has been accomplished by various cultural movements in the United States seems to have forced us to retreat to this kind of reinforcement of basic scientific reasoning that previously could have been taken for granted.
The core of this book is a quick 20,000 foot high overview of the fossil record, Linnean taxonomy, the common cell structure, vestiges of evoltuon in embryological development, vestigal structures in fully developed organisms, layers of sediment, radiocarbon dating, and modern genetics. We get a good, if very simplified, presentation of the evidence that entire species of living things have appeared and gone extinct over the eons.
Moore also reviews the reasons why Biblical scholars have different interpretations of Genesis. Unfortunately, Moore never seems to fully appreciate why these modern lines of thought might not be convincing and might present a problem for a lot of people.
Between the lines you can sense the real frustration in this book, of science educators faced with the task of trying to teach to an audience relatively unaware of the tradition of causal models and scientific descriptions of the natural world, and better prepared to debate metaphysics than evaluate scientific theories.
Just as the transmission of heritable characteristics through reproduction requires a stable genome, the transmission of culture, whether it be scientific or religious in nature, requires a grounding of trust. The message we get from Moore is that his audience can't even be assumed to trust him that a Biblical narrative has a wholly different character than a scientific decription, they have to see it for themselves. And of course he doesn't trust his audience to even know that much.
Moore explains why each set of findings is better predicted by an evolutionary account than by the account in Genesis, even if it could be reconciled in some way with Genesis as an afterthought. He is more sympathetic to "faith" than anti-religious authors like Richard Dawkins, but he doesn't give his audience much credit at all.
Many aren't ever going to be convinced to stop trying to reconcile Genesis with science in some sense. There's an element of futility in some of Moore's arguments to take a view of faith as something useful and almost quaint.
We see how all sorts of predictions made by evolutionary theory were eventually validated by observations, and how the whole puzzle gradually has come together in the 20th century to eliminate nearly all the pieces that were missing in the 19th century when Darwin and Wallace first proposed a basic natural mechanism for natural selection.
Although it is all pretty much laid out here for them, I can't imagine that very many people who think it is their Christian duty to oppose evolutionary theory will be persuaded very far by this book to learn about evolutionary biology or let their children learn about it. Not because it isn't persuasive logically, but because it doesn't really address their blindspots nor their concerns realistically. It is sympathetic but not empathetic regarding relgious faith, it doesn't adequately address the nagging concern of creationists that naturalism regarding origins undermines morality.
Finally, the book doesn't go very far demonstrating what I think is the main *non-religious* conceptual sticking point of anti-evolutionists; how small variants can possibly accumulate in a meaningful way over time if nothing is guiding each act of selection. It seems fairly common to hear creationists arguing that it is unlikely for random mutations to ever add up to useful variation in structure. Clearly if we are to reach someone with that odd view of the process we have to find a way to describe to them in simple terms how the genome changes and how changes in the genome relate to changes in phenotype.
The most powerful notion of all and the whole point of Darwin's theory is that selective survival of variants cause stable features of the environment to guide the process, even without a plan. We can't expect someone to understand adaptation through natural selection if they are imagining that dinosaurs jumped off of cliffs until one finally achieved a useful mutation and sprouted wings and turned into a bird. This is very close to the account implied by the recent movie "X-Men," and I suspect that many consider this almost realistic.
Richard Dawkins is one of the most talented authors for describing the accumulation of tiny useful features, but Dawkins unfortunately is so hostile to religion that he is one of the least likely people to be read carefully by creationists, although he would be perhaps the most helpful for them conceptually if they sincerely want to understand the argument for adaptation through natural selection.
This is a good book, but if Moore had a more realistic understanding of the profound role of faith in the lives of most of Darwin's detractors and borrowed a few pages from Dawkins to illustrate the piecewise accumulation of features, it would have been even better. The logical structure and explanations for understanding the evidence for evolution are a little easier to follow here than in Ken Miller's "Finding Darwin's God," but that book does a better job addressing creationism more directly.
Of course, even with these changes, this still will not convince many of the "intelligent design" crowd about the importance of evolution in biology. Perhaps Pennock's recent book on "Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics" would be a good supplement as well, if it indeed still makes sense to argue 19th century creationism in 21st century biology classes in order to teach evolution.
I guess the best hope here is that this book might help redeem a few more of the uncertains in high school or undergrad biology who are motivated enough to read it as a supplement to the sketchy account in their texts.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Creationist View of Science Explored Jan. 3 2003
By W. G. Kjellander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book describes the way creationists approach evolution. If they can find just one thing that evolutionary biologists have yet to explain, they figure that one thing is enough to throw the whole thing out. Such a view is just wrong, and shows an abysmal understanding - or abuse - of science. There are more than enough transitional fossils to convince a fair minded skeptic, but no creationist would ever agree to classify anything as a transitional fossil. Not Archeoptryx, not Acanthostega (sp?), not the mammal-like reptiles. The beautiful documention of the evolution of the mammalian jaw from the reptilian jaw should convince anybody, but it will never convince a creationist.
Of course, there is a lot that scientists don't know about evolution. But there is a lot that we DO know, and there is just too much evidence to simply toss out evolution. This is a theory that will not go away, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it change as we learn more about genetics.
This book is not written for creationists, but for people who might be sympathetic to their cause. If people would learn more about the nature of science, they would be offended by the utter dishonesty and lack of integrity you find in scientific creationism.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Found it very useful. Nov. 28 2005
By Theremin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Previous reviewers have indicated that this book is a rehash of high school biology, to over-simplistically paraphrase them. But I needed a rehash of high school biology and how it relates to geological data. The book also introduced to me stuff that was entirely new. Using the book, I was able to put together a rough timeline of how the present-day bible came to be. This timeline is verifiable using other sources, and it is essential for arguing that, if one creation story in Genesis is to be considered, then BOTH contradictory stories in Genesis should be considered. Yes, the book could delve into this and aspects of biology more deeply, but it would have to be 1000 pages long. And yes, it was well worth sacrificing a weekend to read it.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Disappointing Attempt to Both Recount the History of the Evolution/Creationism Debate, and to Refute Creationism May 9 2007
By Roger D. Launius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"From Genesis to Genetics" is one of several easy-to-read books about the debate over evolutionary biology and creationism. John Moore, a science textbook writer and emeritus professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, tackles a difficult set of goals in this work. Written in an accessible style without reference notes--although there is a bibliography for further reading--it traces in broad overview the history of the debate from its origins in the nineteenth century to the recent past, commenting on its major permutations. It does not offer an extended account of the point/counterpoint of the various arguments in the debate.

Moore presents a view from 30,000 feet of the larger landscape of the evolution/creationism debate emphasizing broad synthesis rather than detailed analysis. He seeks to write a general history of the debate between evolution and creationism. But he also seeks to write a defense of evolution and a refutation of creationism. Those two tasks at a fundamental level are mutually exclusive and Moore fails to do either of them justice. As a work of history it takes a straight line trajectory over some two-hundred years of scientific thought, touching on how scientists have dealt with the fossil record, geology and the age of the Earth, the development of biological theory, and more modern themes in the biological sciences such as genetics. Whatever virtues as history "From Genesis to Genetics" might possess, it is a linear overview that excludes any social or cultural factors. Such simplicity baffles historians when reality is always more complex and interesting. Likewise, Moore's discussion of the history of Christianity, the development of creationist arguments, and the nature of higher criticism of the Bible also leaves much to be desired. No doubt, those in creationism's camp will recoil at the one-dimensional depiction of their position relative to religious history and scripture. In seeking also to offer a refutation of creationism and a defense of evolution, the author is equally stereotypical and unsophisticated.

Because it is neither fish nor fowl, I found the book less satisfying than other works on the subject. For those seeking a history of the debate between evolutionists and creationists the best book by far is Ronald L. Numbers, "The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design" (expanded edition, Harvard University Press, 2006). For those seeking a refutation of the creationist/intelligent design challenge a very good book is Mark Perakh, "Unintelligent Design" (Prometheus Books, 2003). For those wanting to read in an unfiltered way about creationism/intelligent design there are many publications; the most sophisticated of those recently published include the many books by William A. Dembski, Michael J. Behe, and Philip E. Johnson.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Worth Reading April 7 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a breadth of knowledge this man has! What humanity! What generousity of spirit! I read it in one sitting because I found it so fascinating. It was worth sacrificing a weekend.


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