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Physicist Mark Perakh critically reviews recent trends toward harmonizing religion and science. From intelligent design theories to arguments allegedly proving the compatibility of biblical stories with scientific data and "Bible codes" containing secret messages, Perakh shows that, however sophisticated in appearance, all such approaches are little more than tailoring evidence to fit the desired theory.
Beginning with the design theorists, Perakh provides a detailed critique of the publications of William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Phillip Johnson. In each case he clearly demonstrates lack of substantiation, internal contradictions, and multiple fallacies that mar their works.
In Part Two he critiques the "mental acrobatics" of various Christian and Jewish writers whose works attempt to prove such unlikely propositions as: the inerrancy of the Bible, the harmony of the Torah and science, the duration of the six days of creation, and deriving a theory of nonrandom evolution from the Talmud.
Part Three describes how genuine science is conducted, what the laws of science actually mean to practicing scientists, and what distinguishes real science from pseudoscience.
In conclusion, Perakh discusses the rise and fall of the so-called Bible code as an example of how well-marketed pseudoscience can successfully cloak itself in the mantle of science.
For everyone interested in separating scientific facts from the hype of trendy theories about science, this book is must reading.
|Pt. 1||Unintelligent Design|
|1||A Consistent Inconsistency: How William Dembski Infers Intelligent Design||19|
|3||A Militant Dilettante in Judgment of Science||141|
|Pt. 2||Mental Acrobatics: How Religious Writers Prove the Compatibility of the Bible with Science|
|4||Verifying the Eternal by Means of the Temporal? An Introduction to the Reviews of Books Asserting Harmony between the Bible and Science||167|
|5||A Crusade of Arrogance||173|
|6||The Signature of an Ignoramus: Canadian Preacher Grant Jeffrey Proves the Bible's Inerrancy||193|
|7||Show Me Proof: A Preacher in a Skeptic's Disguise||221|
|8||Challenging the Challenge: Did a Book Published over Twenty Years Ago Indeed Prove the Harmony between the Torah and Science?||245|
|9||The End of the Beginning: Nathan Aviezer Explains How to Interpret the Book of Genesis||267|
|10||Not a Very Big Bang about Genesis: Gerald Schroeder Calculates the Duration of the Six Days of Creation||283|
|11||A Lost Chance: Lee Spetner Derives Nonrandom Evolution from the Talmud||305|
|Pt. 3||Two Bits of a General Discussion and One Telltale Example|
|12||Science in the Eyes of a Scientist||321|
|13||Improbable Probabilities: Assorted Comments on Some Uses and Misuses of Probability Theory||367|
|14||The Rise and Fall of the Bible Code||393|
|App||Calculation of Probability of Winning a Lottery by a Nonspecified Player||431|
Posted April 15, 2008
I first came across this book in the school library while I was checking out a book to read. I saw the beautiful cover with a galaxy of stars and planets and I was immediately interested in what the book was about. I have always been a person with a thirst for knowledge in the scientific and mathematical area. At the time, I knew not what the Intelligent Design was. By judging the book by its cover (which one should never do), I supposed that it would be something about space and how the galaxies being arranged around the universe had some bad design to it. Being curious, I checked out the book. I first looked up what the Intelligent Design was. Dictionary.com states it as, ¿The assertion or belief that physical and biological systems observed in the universe result from purposeful design by an intelligent being rather than from chance or undirected natural processes.¿ Okay, so the Intelligent Design is the idea that evolution did not happen, and that the universe was created by an intelligent mind, otherwise inferred to as ¿God¿. Since the title was Unintelligent Design, I assumed that it would be talking about evolution or natural selection. I was partially wrong¿ In this book, the author, Mark Perakh, thoroughly analyzes about how the Intelligent Design has multiple flaws in it. He attacks many things said by Intelligent Design believers, as well as attacking the fundamentalists themselves. Among them are William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Phillip Johnson. He spends a lot of his time attacking the flaws of the Intelligent Design as written in William Dembski¿s own book. I suppose that attacking the Intelligent Design is why the book is titled Unintelligent Design, but I thought that he should have spent more time talking about why one should believe evolution rather than why one should not believe the Intelligent Design. The vocabulary that Mr. Mark Perakh used, I thought, was rather challenging and I would have appreciated it if he weren¿t so verbose and using such large words. Seeing as how I am just a freshman in high school, I suppose that one with more scientific knowledge on this topic as well as a bigger vocabulary span would have understood the book better. I enjoyed greatly reading this book as I am a strong supporter of evolution and natural selection. Being able to read a book written by someone with the same views as me was rather interesting. I now see the multiple flaws in the Intelligent Design theory that I did not see before. This book is wonderful for people that would enjoy reading about how religion and science should not be mixed together. I recommend reading it! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 17, 2005
I think Mr.Perakh is comletely misunderstanding Behe's definition of irreducible complexity. Behe's definition has nothing to do with the definition of irreducible complexity according to ATP. According to Behe, a biological system is irreducibly complex if it could not be formed by numerous, succesive, gradual modifications. Keeping this definition in mind, even a completely random bit stream is infact REDUCIBLE, because it can be produced by a computer program (Program A) that outputs random 0's and 1's gradually (one at a time randomly). So, according to Behe's definition there is no bit stream which is also irreducible. In order to better understand Behe's idea, we have to put a natural selection like mechanism into our bit stream analogy. For this purpose, suppose, we have another computer program (Program B) which operates on the output of Program A, and saves the bit streams only if their length are even and the number of 1's is twice as the number of 0's. So, only the bit streams satisfying the above criteria are considered to be functional, and others are just erased by Program B. Then, the bit stream 110110 becomes irreducibly complex, because every precursor bit stream to it will be eliminated by Program B and thus, it would have to be outputed by Program A as a whole. So, the question is : Is the bit stream 110110 irreducilbly complex under this conditions? The answer is YES. Does it show a pattern? YES. Unavoidable conclusion : Mr.Perakh's examples are WRONG!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2005
In my view, Perakh's book (which fully deserves 5 stars) is a very convincing discourse showing both the scientific emptiness of intelligent design theory and the weak arguments of those writers who try (in vain) to 'prove' the compatibility of science with biblical stories. The anonymous reviewer who posted his review of Perakh's book on February 4, 2005, 'generously' granting the book 3 stars and referring to its author as a 'retired teacher of physics' managed to so thoroughly misrepresent Perakh's book that it appears he read a completely different books from the one I have. To start, Perakh is not just a 'retired physics teacher,' but a professor emeritus of physics with an extensive record of scientific publications and many awards for his work. Contrary to the anonymous reviewer, Perakh quite unambiguously stated that he is not a biologist and therefore is not delving into discussions of biological problems. Perakh's discourse is calm and impartial, and does not resort to ad-hominem. Although sometimes Perakh's critique of some writers is rather harsh and uncompromising, it is always based on strong argumentation and logic. I suggest that those who have not read Perakh's book get a copy and judge the book's merits for themselves -- they'll get their money's worth.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2005
This book contains much good material and is an enjoyable read, except the author constantly resorts to name calling and ad hominem attacks against those he is critiquing. I soon lose respect for one who does this. If you have a case, make it and don't call your opponents names. To me name calling says you do not have a good case. A few of the more obvious examples include Perakh calls Professor Johnson a 'militant dilettante' (p.141), Hugh Ross, Ph.D. is on a 'crusade of ignorance' (p. 173), Grant Jeffrey is not only an 'ignoramus' but also 'arrogant' (p.193, 206) and on and on. Johnson is attacked because he is a lawyer, yet Perakh is a retired physics teacher and in this book he deals with many concepts and ideas in the field of biology. In this book Perakh attacks anyone who is anybody who believes God had some role in history, however minor, including theistic evolutionists, such as many of the people involved in the intelligent design movement (Behe and Heeren, for example). This common response to theists by atheists has bothered me when I was part of the atheist movement as a young man. My co-atheists constantly called believers of the theistic kind stupid, ignorant, uninformed, arrogant and such. We believed that only our kind of believers had the truth and only we were really intelligent. Most atheists I knew were hardly humble. Also, most of the leading atheist I knew (and I knew some fairly well) were not exactly geniuses and had their share of short comings as well, such as to look down on (often bordering on hate) all theists. I have also noticed that it is now a trend for Darwinists, such as Perakh did in this book, to use more hateful and inflammatory rhetoric, including likening those that doubt Darwin to holocaust deniers. In the end, I think that this ploy will backfire with reasonable people. It is for this reason that I lost respect for the author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.