- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Rutgers University Press (June 25 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081353433X
- ISBN-13: 978-0813534336
- Product Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.4 x 2.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,814,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism Hardcover – Jun 25 2004
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"Behold the Dreamers" is an unforgettable debut novel about a family's struggle to make a new life in America from author Imbolo Mbue. Learn more
"A terrific book that explores, fairly and openly, whether proponents of ID have any scientifically valid gadgets in their toolbox at all ... accessibly written throughout and an invaluable aid to teachers and scientists."
About the Author
Matt Young is the author of No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe. He is a retired physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and now teaches physics at the Colorado School of Mines.
TANER EDIS is associate professor of Physics at Truman State University. While primarily a theoretical physicist, he has also written numerous articles on the secularist tradition in science. He is the author of The Ghost In the Universe: God in Light of Modern Science (2002) and co-editor of Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism (2004). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Every major principle of Intelligent Design is subjected to intense, rigorous scrutiny by an international team of authors, representing disciplines ranging from mathematics to astrophysics, and from forensic anthropology to vertebrate paleobiology. Matt Young succinctly demolishes both Behe's mousetrap model of irreducible complexity and Dembski's probabilistic "arrow" model of specified complexity (Chapter Two). Biologist Gert Korthoff weighs in with a most compelling affirmation of common descent, successfully refutating Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Paul Nelson's inane objections (Chapter Three). Biochemist Matt Ussery, among Behe's most effective critics, shreds apart Behe's inane assertion of "Darwin's Black Box" (Chapter Four), demonstrating how "irreducibly complex" structures like the bacterial flagellum are not so irreducibly complex at all (An important point which molecular pharmacologist Ian Musgrave elaborates at length in a succeeding chapter (Chapter Six).). Last, but not least, vertebrate paleobiologist Alan Gishlick explains how the evolution of avian flight was the product of natural selection, and not the consequence of some irreducibly complex process (Chapter Five).
Four chapters are devoted exclusively to gross probabilistic and statistical abuse "designed" by the likes of Dembski and Behe.. Forensic anthropologist and archaeologist Gary S. Hurd offers a brilliant refutation of Dembski's bizarre contention that his explanatory filter is used successfully now in forensic anthropology (Chapter Eight). Mathematician Jeffrey Shallit and marine biologist Wesley Elsberry demonstrate how and why Dembski's Complex Specified Information fails as an inane example of probabilistic reasoning (Chapter Nine). Taner Edis follows with a most insightful exploration (Chapter Ten) into the importance of chance and necessity in creating complexity, arguing persuasively that "Darwinian" processes - indeed, natural selection - are solely responsible for that complexity, not Dembski's ill-informed, mathematically flawed notion of a "design inference". Finally physicist Mark Perakh tackles Dembski's probabilistic abuse of the "No Free Lunch" theorems (Chapter Eleven), contending convincingly that there is indeed "free lunch" after all. Although the mathematical arguments may, at times, seem a bit obtuse in each of these chapters, these are nonetheless well stated, through clear, concise logic and prose.
This book concludes with two relatively short chapters devoted to the possibility of an anthropic principle in the formation and history of the universe and whether or not Intelligent Design creationism could be construed as science. Cosmologist Victor Stenger gives a thorough, quite persuasive, examination of several anthropic principles that contend that the universe was "fine-tuned" to permit the existence of life, especially sapient life like Earth's humanity. Not surprisingly, he concludes with a most resounding "No" (Chapter Twelve). The same harsh verdict for Intelligent Design creationism is stated succinctly, by Young and Edis, as a most lucid summary, discussing how one ought to define science (Chapter Thirteen). Collectively, the essays truly demonstrate that Intelligent Design creationism should be regarded not only as unscientific, but, especially, in light of the gross errors and distortions stated repeatedly by Dembski, Behe and their sympathetic colleagues and supporters, as a sterling example of mendacious intellectual pornography.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
One essayist notes, "Those jaw bones did not just suddenly one day re-form themselves and decide to become ear bones; because mammals did not need unhinging jaws, the jaw bones gradually changed their shape and their function until they became the bones of the inner ear. The ear today may be irreducibly complex, but once it was not. You might, however, be fooled into thinking that the ear could not have evolved if you did not know exactly how it originated." (Pg. 22)
Another observes, "How many basic types are there? Creationists don't tell us. Until we know, the dynamic-creation model is only a fragment of a theory. If basic types are to capture the million or so species on earth, the model must include thousands of basic types." (Pg. 35) He adds, "I cannot stress enough how amazing it is that the model cannot cannot answer straightforward questions such as why cats and dogs share characteristics and are placed in the same group, Carnivores..." (Pg. 38)
Another essayist says, "Michael Behe claims to accept the common descent of all life... Behe's position is puzzling. He does not say why he accepts common descent... Perhaps he does not realize the consequences of his statement. Common descent of life means ... that life is one unbroken chain of ancestors and descendants. It means that every organism inherited all its genes from the previous generation... And that includes irreducibly complex systems." (Pg. 43)
A later essay adds, "[Kenneth R.] Miller, like Behe, is a Catholic. But contrary to Behe, Miller rejects intelligent design as a scientific theory because there is scientific evidence against it and also because of flawed logic." (Pg. 49)
This book will be of keen interest to critics of Intelligent Design, as well as to anyone interested in the Creation/Evolution controversy.
A great deal has happened since WIDF was first published and today. One of the most obvious was the solid repudiation of IDC (intelligent design creationism) by the Federal Court in Pennsylvania on December 20, 2005. The authors and text of "Why Intelligent Design Fails" played a direct role in that trial now known as the "Dover Panda Trail" or the "Waterloo of IDC." The latter nomen naturally referes to the British designation of flushing sounds in the "Watercloset," also known as the "loo." Not surprisingly, little had happened in IDC- merely repetitions of the same dodges and falshoods. This is why the text of WIDF is as good today as it was originally.
Readers of WIDF should strongly consider reading "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" (2004 Oxford University Press) by Barbara Carroll Forrest and Paul R. Gross. Barbara was brilliant in her Dover testimony.
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