5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. Read it. Loan it out to friends.
Perakh organized his text into three sections. The first two take up issues of creationism, first Intelligent Design (ID), and second the earlier but still influential Scientific Creationism. Significant authors from each of these pseudosciences are addressed in their own chapters. William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Phillip Johnson are the ID representatives. Perakh's...
Published on Mar 10 2004 by Gary S. Hurd
3.0 out of 5 stars On the attack
With 30 reviews already present, why another? Because of this observation: the reviews of all books in the area of science vs. religion came with emotional baggage. Atheistic books are praised by atheists and religious books are praised by believers. There is almost no middle ground, essentially no books for agnostics. The result is then that the 'helpful' question at the...
Published on Jun 13 2004 by David J. Turell, M.D.
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3.0 out of 5 stars On the attack,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)With 30 reviews already present, why another? Because of this observation: the reviews of all books in the area of science vs. religion came with emotional baggage. Atheistic books are praised by atheists and religious books are praised by believers. There is almost no middle ground, essentially no books for agnostics. The result is then that the 'helpful' question at the end of a review really means, 'do you agree with the viewpoint,' not how well is the book done. The existing reviews bring up all the criticisms and the praiseworthy comments I could make. I agree with many of the author's observations. On the other hand, no matter how brilliant a scientist he appears to be, I find off-putting his self-serving examples of his 'brilliance', his snide remarks and his technique of pointing out an author's lack of knowledge when that missing information is of no consequence to the author's point of view. Destroying a writer's credibility is easier than wining a debate by logic. And in using that technique some information he presents is out-and-out wrong, just as he accuses other authors of inaccuracies. In his "Afterword" he presents himself as not agnostic, both religious faith and atheism being irrational, but as neutral. Still, all in all, an important read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. Read it. Loan it out to friends.,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)Perakh organized his text into three sections. The first two take up issues of creationism, first Intelligent Design (ID), and second the earlier but still influential Scientific Creationism. Significant authors from each of these pseudosciences are addressed in their own chapters. William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Phillip Johnson are the ID representatives. Perakh's thorough demolishment of Dembski's thesis in Chapter 1 (the longest single chapter) alone is worth the price of the book. Not only was Perakh thorough, but understandable using clear language and reasoning. His many years as a teacher are obvious in these pages.
I had expected that this would be the only highlight of the book, but there is a considerable amount of good reading in the seven chapter second section addressing the Creation Science authors. What I particularly enjoyed was that Perakh did not merely stay with the well known ultra-biblical-literalists from the Christian Right, but also addressed Judaic creationists in four chapters. In fact, there were only 3 out of the first 317 pages that I had any quibble with, and these (290-292) are the reactions of a specialist toward a generalist. I shudder to imagine what Perakh could do to any attempt on my part to write about physics.
A "reader from Riesel, TX" wrote an unfavorable review of Mark Perakh's new book last December. Bill Dembski was "outed" as the "reader from Riesel, TX" by the Amazon (Canada) software glitch a month or so ago. I would have suspected this anyway, as "reader from Riesel" nee "Waco" is typical of Dembski's other responses to critics -- attack obliquely, avoid their actual positions, claim that their criticisms have been addressed elsewhere, or that you will totally answer them in your next book.
If you have too much time and too much money, I suggest that you follow Dembski's advice to "read the primary <creationist> literature." Then you should read Perakh's _Unintelligent Design_ to learn how you have wasted your time and money. Otherwise, just read Perakh's excellent book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the effort,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)I've been reading about the creationism/evolution debate for twenty years now, and this book is an extremely important addition to that discussion. Perakh has two basic points as he works his way through the major advocates of ID (Intelligent Design). One is that they misuse statistics is ways that are intuitively reasonable but ultimately incorrect. This is why he includes a discussion of the Bible Code, another case of statistics gone awry.
His second point, and one that I hadn't seen spelled out so well before, is that the idea of irreducible complexity is a jumbled compilation of observations which Paley and others have offered much more clearly long ago. Perakh breaks down each component of irreducible complexity and shows how it does not justify the strong claims made for it by ID theorists.
My frustration in all of this is that the people who most need to read this book aren't going to take the time and effort necessary to engage in his arguments.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book unjustly repudiated,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)Interesting things seem to occur on Amazon site.
Here is one example. On December 22, 2003, a review of Perakh's book was posted here signed by a reader from Waco, TX. As another reader, Jacqueline Caussel from Montreal, Canada, indicated in her review, Waco is that town where Baylor university is located. William Dembski whose work was strongly critisized in Perakh's book, works at Baylor, so the extremely negative tone of the review from Waco could have been explained by its being written by one of the objects of Perakh's critique.
Then suddenly the signature under the negative review mysteriously changed - now it is not a reader from Waco anymore but a reader from Riesel, TX. Otrherwise, it is exactly the same review which pounces not so much on Perakh's book as on Prometheus Books publishers.
I am curious, how Waco has become Riesel? Was this change designed to make Caussel's review incomprehensible as it refers to a review from Waco which is not found any more on Amazon?
Riesel is though not far from Waco and perhaps it is where the reader from Waco in fact resides? As to Perakh's book, it fully deserves 5 stars given to it by 19 readers who all signed their reviews unlike Perakh's detractors who usually hide their names. Perakh's book offers a well balanced and well substantiated (but quite disapproving) analysis of the work by such ID advocates as Dembski, Behe, Johnson and others so it is not suprising that the adherents of the ID pseudo-science try to misrepresent Perakh's book. Their critique lacks arguments though. Indeed, the reader from Riesel (or is it from Waco?) instead of offering a single argument against Perakh's devastating critique, talks about Perakh's publisher, Prometheus Books. Even if Prometheus were so bad as the reader from Riesel (or from Waco?) says (which it is definitely not) what does it have to do with Perakh's arguments? It is obvious that the ID advocate from Riesel (or Waco?) can say nothing to counter Perakh's critique so, in the usual manner of the ID crowd, he talks instead about irrelevant matters trying to obfuscate the issue. It is hard to conclude anything but that Perakh is right.
5.0 out of 5 stars A boilerplate review makes no sense,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)The review of Perakh's book which originally was from a reader of Sunnivale, CA but now has mysteriously become a review from a reader from San Jose, CA, is very interesting in that it is a word-for-word copy of a review of a book by Forrest and Gross (titled Creationism's Trojan Horse) on the same Amazon site. Is it some boilerplate automatically applied to each book critical of Intelligent Design theory? Obviously, a replica of a review of a specific book cannot meaningfully relate to another book. Indeed, Perakh's book and that by Forrest and Gross are quite different in the authors' approach, the scope of material covered and style, although both books deserve high mark. Applying exactly the same review to both is a display of contempt for readers on the part of the person from San Jose (or was it Sunnivale?) Rather than to investigate which of the two books - that by Perakh or that by Forrest and Gross was the original target of the review in question, and for which of the two a copy was used, it seems more reasonable to conclude that the reader from San Jose (or Sunnivale?) hardly knows what he/she is talking about, perhaps having not even read either of the two books. The so-called review by the Sunnivale - San Jose reader is void of substance and does nothing to undermine the impact of Perakh's thorough and convincing argumentation that shows the emptiness of the ID concept. Five stars for Perakh, all rants of ID promoters notwithstanding.
3.0 out of 5 stars Highlights and lowlights,
By A Customer
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)Perakh isn't a dumb guy, and he does a great job with some of the intellectual issues, especially in regard to probability theory. What drags this book down, and what drags most books down that take a similar approach, is that Perakh spends far too much time mixing in ideology with science. Unfortunately, for the open-minded skeptics like myself, this does little to relieve the suspicion that there is an extreme amount of dogma on both sides of the issue. An exemplary of "how to do it right" is Stuart Kauffman, and I would encourage both sides of the intelligent design debate to take his lead and run with it. For those of us with open minds - humility and charity are preferred to pompous ridicule.
5.0 out of 5 stars ID Debunked,
By A Customer
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)This is a truly splendid book that exposes the errors about probability theory and statistical reasoning that have become the stock-in-trade of leading proponents of intelligent design theory. The book is all the more remarkable because Perakh has taken care to explain tricky mathematical concepts in ways that are highly accessible to the general public. As a consequence, anyone can now see how leading intelligent design theorists, like the well-known emperor, really have no clothes.
2.0 out of 5 stars Science In The Eyes of a Scientist=Atheist,
By A Customer
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)This books is full of ideology and sparse on courtesy. Perakh attempts to play the part of the unbiased, cool, collected and rational scientist. Meanwhile, he casts his adversaries as "arrogant" "ingoramuses". Worse yet, he tries to undermine the work of Dembski and Behe by not so subtley equivocating their work with the work of Bible Coders and preachers.
Perhaps one day we will see a book on intelligent design that deals squarely with the intellectual ideas. This is not that book.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unnecessary Book,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)Unintelligent Design is a book that should have not been written. Evolution has met every single scientific test. Creationism, and "intelligent design" is merely creationism under a different name, has failed every single scientific test. Any argument about the two should have been rendered moot decades ago.
Alas, it is not to be as long as fools insist on simple answers to complex problems.
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligently debunking intelligent design,
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Hardcover)Perakh has really done it! For years, I have been studying creationist exegeses designed to "prove" harmony between science and the Book of Genesis, and I have been studying intelligent-design pseudoscience. I thought there was nothing new under the sun. I was delighted, therefore, to find any number of original observations in this book. This book should become a handbook for anyone who wants to counter Ross and Schroeder, on the one hand, and Dembski and Behe, on the other.
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Unintelligent Design by Mark Perakh (Hardcover - Dec 1 2003)
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