Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)

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Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) is an impassioned argument in favor of science-primarily the theory of evolution-and against creationism.

Focusing on what other books omit, how science works and how pseudoscience works, Matt Young and Paul K. Strode demonstrate the futility of "scientific" creationism, debunking the notion of intelligent design and other arguments that show evolution could not have produced life in its present form. Concluding with a frank discussion of science and religion, they argue that science by no means excludes religion, though it ought to cast doubt on certain religious claims that are contrary to known scientific fact.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this superb overview, academics Young and Strode tackle the most vexing issues in the public's understanding of biological evolution and earth history. With clear, readable text, Young and Strode detail requisite concepts while providing a conversational response to creationists' objections to evolution, which are frequently based on profound misunderstandings of how science works. Young and Strode provide a thorough explanation of the concept of biological fitness, showing that evolution, hardly random, is a process of interaction between organisms and the environment. Later chapters explain the science of evolutionary development and phylogenetics-how Earth's organisms are related through their genetic codes-as well as geological and astronomical methods for dating (including possibly the clearest explanation of an isochron ever written). They also take a good look at creationism, using the publications of prominent believers to show that it's a movement divided against itself. Much of this work developed from Strode's teaching experience, and it may be the best book yet written for teaching citizens what science really does, and what religion really is in relation.
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"This work carefully explains the difference between science and pseudoscience, and how the so-called alternative theories fail to be scientific. Young and Strode additionally argue about the compatibility of science and religion. This work attempts to make an argument to those who have not accepted the facts of evolution and to those who may not possess a more general understanding of the science. Highly recommended."
Reports of the National Center for Science Education

"This book provides compelling examples of how science works. With any luck, it will entice its readers to delve further into these impossible, yet compelling and empirically-based, ideas, and help them to recognize what distinguishes the 'impossible' ideas of science from the impossible ideas of religion and other ideologies."
Science and Education

"This is not just another book on the evolution-creation controversy. This is actually a book on the Nature of Science, which aims to explain what counts as science and what does not. It is a valuable resource and deserves to be widely read."
Daily Kos

"A passionate argument for the importance of evolution both in nature and in the classroom."
Gustavus Adolphus College

"Of similar books I have seen on this subject, this one is the best. Its discussions of evolution and refutation of creationism are clear, concise, and powerful. Matt Young and Paul Strode offer a unique, introductory-level book for students, scientists, or anyone who is open to thinking about the topic."

— Alan D. Gishlick

author of Unintelligent Design - Mark Perakh

"Strictly following facts and applying impeccable logic, Young and Strode lead the reader, step by step, through a variety of topics, from evolution theory to cosmology and from psychology to medicine, convincingly demonstrating the power of genuine science versus the fallacies of pseudo-science. An excellent addition to every school library.


Gustavus Adolphus College - Alan D. Gishlick

"Of similar books I have seen on this subject, this one is the best. Its discussions of evolution and refutation of creationism are clear, concise, and powerful. Matt Young and Paul Strode offer a unique, introductory-level book for students, scientists, or anyone who is open to thinking about the topic."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813545493
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 6/27/2009
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt Young is a senior lecturer in the department of physics at the Colorado School of Mines. A prolific writer, he is the coeditor of Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism (Rutgers University Press)

Paul K. Strode is a biology teacher in Boulder, Colorado, and an instructor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a doctoral degree in ecology and environmental science.

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Table of Contents

Figures ix

Tables and Boxes xi

Foreword Kevin Padian xiii

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Part I The Basics and the History

1 Introduction 3

2 The Structure of this Book 14

3 History of Creationism and Evolutionary Science in the United States 20

Part II How Science Works (and Creationism Doesn't)

4 How Science Works 37

5 How Pseudoscience Works 49

6 Why Creationism Fails 54

7 The Argument from Design 59

8 Why Intelligent-Design Creationism Fails 64

Part III The Science of Evolution

9 The Father of Evolution 81

10 How Evolution Works 86

11 Recapitulation 99

12 Evo Devo: How Evolution Constantly Remodels 103

13 Phylogenetics 118

14 Design by Committee: The Twists, Turns, and Flips of Human Anatomy 131

Part IV The Universe

15 How We Know the Age of the Earth 145

16 Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life? 165

Part V Evolution, Ethics, and Religion

17 Evolution and Ethics 175

18 Why Science and Religion are Compatible 184

19 Summary and Conclusion 194

Glossary 197

Bibliography 217

Index 221

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