The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories

The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories

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Overview

In the emotional debate surrounding evolution, it is often difficult to cut through the competing agendas to gain an unbiased understanding of the scientific issues involved. The Evolution Controversy provides a resource for doing so. The authors leave aside the profound philosophical and religious issues involved in the controversy in favor of a balanced and critical examination of the four major schools of thought involved: Neo-Darwinism, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Meta-Darwinism. The focus is on an objective evaluation of the scientific merits of each school, as well as an examination of areas of agreement and disagreement among the schools. The goal is to equip readers, whether students, church leaders, or the general public, to come to their own informed conclusions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441201645
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2007
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Thomas B. Fowler (ScD, George Washington University) is senior principal engineer at the Center for Information Technology and Telecommunications at Noblis, formerly known as Mitretek Systems, a not-for-profit consulting firm working in the public interest in Falls Church, Virginia. He is also an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and Christendom College.

Daniel Kuebler
(PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is assistant professor of biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. He has written a number of articles for scientific journals as well as for the National Catholic Register.
Thomas B. Fowler (ScD, George Washington University) is senior principal engineer at the Center for Information Technology and Telecommunications at Noblis, formerly known as Mitretek Systems, a not-for-profit consulting firm working in the public interest in Falls Church, Virginia. He is also an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and Christendom College.
Daniel Kuebler (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is assistant professor of biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio. He has written a number of articles for scientific journals as well as for the National Catholic Register.

Table of Contents

Preface
Part 1: Background on the Controversy
1. Introduction
2. A Brief History of Evolutionary Thought
3. A Review of the Evidence
4. The Principal Points in Dispute
Part 2: Discussion of the Major Schools of Thought
5. Neo-Darwinian School
6. Creationism
7. Intelligent Design School
8. Meta-Darwinian School
Part 3: Policy and Outlook
9. Public Policy Implications of the Controversy
10. Summary and Assessment of the Evolution Controversy Glossary
Bibliography

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Evolution Controversy, The: A Survey of Competing Theories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
juglicerr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is difficult to rate, because it varies so in quality. Most of it is very good, and I think that I have learned a lot from reading it. With the reservations that follow, I would recommend it to anyone with a serious interest in the evolution controversies, and more generally to people interested in scientific issues associated with evolution. The authors have included a bibliography organized by subject as an aid to those wanting to read further. It is perhaps unfortunate that one tends to be briefer in praise than in criticism, perhaps because in the former case the work speaks for itself. Please do not let the length of my criticisms overwhelm my genuine praise for the work. The authors bravely set out to examine the scientific arguments, and those only, of four camps in the evolution disputes: Neo-Darwinists, the overwhelming majority of naturalistic scientists; creationists, here meaning only Young Earth Creationists (YEC); Intelligent Design; and Meta-Darwinists, meaning naturalistic scientists who think that natural selection may be over-rated as the engine of evolution. It may seem redundant to speak of naturalistic scientists, but the subject calls for clarity and precision. For the most part, they have done a creditable job at this difficult task, which makes it a very worthwhile read. Theistic evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists (OEC) are excluded on the grounds that they do not propose different scientific methods, but believe in non-naturalistic mechanisms supplementing the scientific processes.It is easier for me to critique the chapter on Intelligent Design (ID), as it is less technical than the others. The authors do not deal with two criticisms that I have read of Dembski's filter; that is that necessity, chance, and design do not always function discretely in the real world. Where would one place natural selection (which IDers often accept to a degree) on the filter given that it functions through the interaction of chance and necessity? Neo-Darwinism is not the only naturalistic system that the authors need to consider; Meta-Darwinism offers mechanisms that avoid requiring a function to be built stepwise. One must keep in mind that according to naturalistic explanations, most individuals don't reproduce and most experiments fail. To take the authors' example, if organisms developed a light-sensitive patch, some might swim toward the light, some might swim away from it, and some might do a little dance. The organisms whose reaction was most useful would produce more of the next generation. The authors don't address the question of precisely what we have said if we say something is designed, although they note the problem of presenting positive evidence. The IDers have argued that it is possible for the non-naturalistic to be considered in science, but we are left wondering how they propose to do this. The penultimate chapter: "Public Policy Implications of the Evolution Controversy" is atrocious, and in many ways undercuts the careful work of the rest of the book. The discussion is generally shallow, and often involves broad, unsupported generalizations about large groups of people, which are often elsewhere contradicted. Theistic evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists may not have unique scientific arguments, but they are essential to make sense of evolution theory as a public phenomenon and should have been included more consistently here. I will discuss only the section on education. The authors speak very vaguely about education without considering that what is appropriate may depend upon the level and time spend on the class. If high school students are going to spend a total of ninety minutes on evolution, or any other topic, there is no time to consider more than the most generally agreed-upon highlights. As an analogy, when I attend a several hour course on life-after-death at a friend's church, the teacher explain