Darwin And Design

Overview

The intricate forms of living things bespeak design, and thus a creator: nearly 150 years after Darwin's theory of natural selection called this argument into question, we still speak of life in terms of design--the function of the eye, the purpose of the webbed foot, the design of the fins. Why is the "argument from design" so tenacious, and does Darwinism--itself still evolving after all these years--necessarily undo it?

The definitive work on these contentious questions, ...

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DARWIN AND DESIGN

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Overview

The intricate forms of living things bespeak design, and thus a creator: nearly 150 years after Darwin's theory of natural selection called this argument into question, we still speak of life in terms of design--the function of the eye, the purpose of the webbed foot, the design of the fins. Why is the "argument from design" so tenacious, and does Darwinism--itself still evolving after all these years--necessarily undo it?

The definitive work on these contentious questions, Darwin and Design surveys the argument from design from its introduction by the Greeks, through the coming of Darwinism, down to the present day. In clear, non-technical language Michael Ruse, a well-known authority on the history and philosophy of Darwinism, offers a full and fair assessment of the status of the argument from design in light of both the advances of modern evolutionary biology and the thinking of today's philosophers--with special attention given to the supporters and critics of "intelligent design."

The first comprehensive history and exposition of Western thought about design in the natural world, this important work suggests directions for our thinking as we move into the twenty-first century. A thoroughgoing guide to a perennially controversial issue, the book makes its own substantial contribution to the ongoing debate about the relationship between science and religion, and between evolution and its religious critics.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

Ruse examines the concept of 'design' in nature, explaining why it still remains a strong influence despite the scientific revolution, and historically, how it dominated Western thought from ancient Greece (Plato) to the advent and predominance of Christianity...A rich and compelling book.
— J. S. Schwartz

Reports of the National Center for Science Education

Anyone who is interested in the 'science wars' controversy or the history of evolutionary thought will find this book fascinating and rewarding. The prose is masterfill—relaxed, colloquial, rich in information, and suffused with flashes of malicious wit and delicious historical tidbits.
— Matt Cartmill

Natural History

To anyone interested in the evolution of evolution, I recommend this book.
— John Tyler Bonner

Science

This has to be the best of Ruse's many books, and it is hard to imagine how a better one could be written on this subject. With an understanding erudition spiced with good-natured wit and occasional sly ribaldry, Ruse moves easily and assuredly among biology, philosophy, history, and theology.
— Robert T. Pennock

American Scientist

Michael Ruse's latest book, Darwin and Design, is an intellectual history of the design argument and its Darwinian solution...His story is a fascinating one, enlivened especially by his accounts of various imaginative attempts before Darwin to solve the design problem without recourse to a deity.
— Daniel W. McShea

Choice - J. S. Schwartz
Ruse examines the concept of 'design' in nature, explaining why it still remains a strong influence despite the scientific revolution, and historically, how it dominated Western thought from ancient Greece (Plato) to the advent and predominance of Christianity...A rich and compelling book.
Reports of the National Center for Science Education - Matt Cartmill
Anyone who is interested in the 'science wars' controversy or the history of evolutionary thought will find this book fascinating and rewarding. The prose is masterfill--relaxed, colloquial, rich in information, and suffused with flashes of malicious wit and delicious historical tidbits.
Natural History - John Tyler Bonner
To anyone interested in the evolution of evolution, I recommend this book.
Science - Robert T. Pennock
This has to be the best of Ruse's many books, and it is hard to imagine how a better one could be written on this subject. With an understanding erudition spiced with good-natured wit and occasional sly ribaldry, Ruse moves easily and assuredly among biology, philosophy, history, and theology.
American Scientist - Daniel W. McShea
Michael Ruse's latest book, Darwin and Design, is an intellectual history of the design argument and its Darwinian solution...His story is a fascinating one, enlivened especially by his accounts of various imaginative attempts before Darwin to solve the design problem without recourse to a deity.
Science
This has to be the best of Ruse's many books, and it is hard to imagine how a better one could be written on this subject. With an understanding erudition spiced with good-natured wit and occasional sly ribaldry, Ruse moves easily and assuredly among biology, philosophy, history, and theology.
— Robert T. Pennock
Choice
Ruse examines the concept of 'design' in nature, explaining why it still remains a strong influence despite the scientific revolution, and historically, how it dominated Western thought from ancient Greece (Plato) to the advent and predominance of Christianity...A rich and compelling book.
— J. S. Schwartz
Natural History
To anyone interested in the evolution of evolution, I recommend this book.
— John Tyler Bonner
American Scientist
Michael Ruse's latest book, Darwin and Design, is an intellectual history of the design argument and its Darwinian solution...His story is a fascinating one, enlivened especially by his accounts of various imaginative attempts before Darwin to solve the design problem without recourse to a deity.
— Daniel W. McShea
Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Anyone who is interested in the 'science wars' controversy or the history of evolutionary thought will find this book fascinating and rewarding. The prose is masterfill--relaxed, colloquial, rich in information, and suffused with flashes of malicious wit and delicious historical tidbits.
— Matt Cartmill
The Washington Post
… Ruse's reassuring message is that we need not resist the temptation to seek direction and purpose in biology. Indeed, "biology as we know it today would be dreadfully impoverished without a perspective that asks 'what for.' " — Mark Parascandola
KLIATT
This is the third in a series of books on evolution written by philosophy professor Ruse. This is not "Evolution for Dummies," but an erudite analysis of the love-hate relationship of science and religion. Ruse's writing style is not difficult, but some of the concepts he explores are, requiring a sophistication and education in philosophy, history and science to fully grasp his ideas. Is the fact that life forms are often beautiful beyond any utilitarian need a sign that both scientists and theologians are right in regard to the creation of life? Darwin seemed drawn to both sides of the question and his descendents have been arguing about it ever since. An excellent bibliography and index are included. Serious readers will want to read the first two books in the trilogy, though the books are meant to stand alone as well. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2003, Harvard Univ. Press, 371p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 17 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674016316
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2004
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ruse is Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University. He is the founder and editor of the journal Biology and Philosophy, and has appeared on “Quirks and Quarks” and the Discovery Channel.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

1. Two Thousand Years of Design

2. Paley and Kant Fight Back

3. Sowing the Seeds of Evolution

4. A Plurality of Problems

5. Charles Darwin

6. A Subject Too Profound

7. Darwinian against Darwinian

8. The Century of Evolutionism

9. Adaptation in Action

10. Theory and Test

11. Formalism Redux

12. From Function to Design

13. Design as Metaphor

14. Natural Theology Evolves

15. Turning Back the Clock

Sources and Suggested Reading

Illustration Credits

Acknowledgments

Index

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