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Review: The Genius of Charles Darwin

Year: 
2009
Title: 
The Genius of Charles Darwin
Issue: 
6
Author(s): 
presented by Richard Dawkins
Date: 
November-December

In recent years Richard Dawkins — formerly Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University — has achieved a measure of notoriety for his outspoken atheism; indeed, he possesses a collection of tasteless e-mail to show for it. However, The Genius of Charles Darwin — a three-episode program (139 minutes) he narrated for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom — is principally concerned with scientific evidence and critical thinking in teaching about evolution and the difficulties posed by fundamentalist Christians.

Silver Spring [MD]: Athena, 2009. DVD, 2 disks, 139 and 260 minutes
Page(s): 
43–45
Reviewer: 
Timothy H Goldsmith
About the Author(s): 

Timothy H Goldsmith
Yale University
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
PO Box 208103
New Haven CT 06520-8103
timothy.goldsmith@yale.edu

Timothy H Goldsmith is Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. He is the author of The Biological Roots of Human Nature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991) and, with William Zimmerman, Biology, Evolution, and Human Nature (New York: Wiley, 2000). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former chair of the board of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study.

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Review: Why Darwin Matters

Year: 
2006
Title: 
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
Issue: 
6
Author(s): 
Michael Shermer
Date: 
November-December

The indefatigable Michael Shermer has joined the lists of those authors bent on providing ammunition for the ongoing struggle against that old shape-shifting dragon, creationism, in its latest avatar, the "intelligent design" movement. His new book, Why Darwin Matters, gets high marks for its amiable style, its readability, and the unmistakable moral passion of the author. It is impressive in the wide range of issues and questions it addresses.

New York: Times Books, 2006. 199 pages
Page(s): 
18-19
Reviewer: 
Norman Levitt
About the Author(s): 
Norman Levitt
Department of Mathematics
Hill Center
Rutgers University
Piscataway NJ 08854

Norman Levitt is a mathematician at Rutgers University (New Brunswick). He has written widely on the public understanding of science, including the book Prometheus Bedeviled (New Brunswick [NJ]: Rutgers University Press, 1999).
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Texas Science Standards and March Madness

Title: 
Texas Science Standards and March Madness: Did We Win or Lose?
Author(s): 
Steven Schafersman
Issue: 
3

The revisions of my state's science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, TEKS) by the State Board of Education (SBOE) are confusing and controversial. News articles following the March 25–27, 2009 meeting reported that the scientific community had succeeded in turning back proposals by the Discovery Institute (DI) and religious radicals on the SBOE that would have weakened science education. The DI and radical SBOE members, on the other hand, gleefully claimed a great victory in their blogs and reports. Who was right?

Year: 
2009
Date: 
May–June
Page(s): 
4–6
About the Author(s): 

Steven Schafersman
Texas Citizens for Science
6202 Driftwood Drive
Midland TX 79707
tcs@texscience.org

Steven Schafersman is the president of Texas Citizens for Science (http://www.texscience.org). He received NCSE's Friend of Darwin award for 2004 in recognition of his decades of defending the integrity of science in Texas.

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Testimony Before the Texas State Board of Education

Title: 
Testimony Before the Texas State Board of Education
Author(s): 
Joshua Rosenau
Issue: 
3

Mr Chairman, members of the board, thank you for the chance to speak with you about the draft science TEKS.

The science TEKS on the books now were given an F in a 2005 survey of state science standards by the politically conservative Thomas Fordham Institute, noting that "they produce breadth of assertion instead of depth of understanding."

Year: 
2009
Date: 
May–June
Page(s): 
6–7
About the Author(s): 

Joshua Rosenau
NCSE
PO Box 9477
Berkeley CA 94709-0477
rosenau@ncseweb.org

Joshua Rosenau is Public Information Project Director at NCSE.

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Review: Why Evolution is True

Year: 
2009
Title: 
Why Evolution is True
Issue: 
3
Author(s): 
Jerry A Coyne
Date: 
May-June

In recent years, the battles over creationism, "intelligent design", and evolution have produced a glut of new books on the topic. Most of the books focus on the purely biological side of evolution; a few (including mine) focus on the fossil evidence. Jerry Coyne's new book, Why Evolution is True, does a beautiful job of covering nearly all the bases in a succinct but enjoyable and gently persuasive fashion.

New York: Viking Press, 2009. 282 pages.
Page(s): 
45-46
Reviewer: 
Donald R Prothero
About the Author(s): 

Donald R Prothero
Department of Geology
Occidental College
Los Angeles CA 90041
prothero@oxy.edu

Donald R Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).

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Review: Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters

Year: 
2009
Title: 
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters
Issue: 
3
Author(s): 
Donald R Prothero
Date: 
May-June

Arch-creationist Duane Gish proclaimed that fossils say "no!" to evolution. Creationists perennially make bizarre claims about the supposed deficiencies of the fossil record. This book is motivated by the challenge of "intelligent design" (ID) and the recent Kitzmilller v. Dover Area School Board case decided in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Don Prothero of Occidental College is a very good vertebrate paleontologist. He has written a book to provide definitive resources on exactly what the fossil record shows.

New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. 381 pages.
Page(s): 
39-40
Reviewer: 
Peter Dodson
About the Author(s): 

Peter Dodson
Department of Animal Biology
School of Veterinary Medicine
3800 Spruce St
Philadelphia PA 19104-6045
dodsonp@vet.upenn.edu

Peter Dodson is Professor of Anatomy and Paleontology at the University of Pennsylvania, and a coeditor of The Dinosauria, second edition (Berkeley [CA]: University of California Press, 2004).

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RNCSE 29 (3)

RNCSE 29 (3) cover image
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2009
Date: 
May-June
Articles available online are listed below.
Click "Print Edition Contents" for list of articles in the print edition.
Media Type: 

Review: Only a Theory

Year: 
2009
Title: 
Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
Issue: 
3

The thesis of Ken Miller's succinct and very readable book Only a Theory is that the evolution/creationism controversy that has been playing out in schools, school boards, legislatures, and courts across the United States is more than a heated but circumscribed skirmish between scientists and religious fundamentalists over the veracity of evolutionary theory versus divine creation, but actually part of a broader and more widespread battle over "nothing less than America's scientific soul".

Author(s): 
Kenneth R Miller
Date: 
May-June
New York: Viking, 2008. 256 pages.
Page(s): 
40-41

References

Bloom A. 1987. The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Impoverished America's Young and Failed Its Students. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Forrest B, Gross PR. 2007. Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gross PR, Levitt N. 1998. Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

[NSB] National Science Board. 2004. Science and Engineering Indicators 2004. Arlington (VA): National Science Foundation. Available on-line at . Last accessed December 20, 2008.

Reviewer: 
Andrea Bottaro
About the Author(s): 

Andrea Bottaro
URMC Box 695
University of Rochester Medical Center
601 Elmwood Ave
Rochester NY 14642
abottaro@pandasthumb.org

Andrea Bottaro is Associate Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

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Review: The Greatest Show on Earth

Year: 
2010
Title: 
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Issue: 
3
Author(s): 
Richard Dawkins
Date: 
May./June

Richard Dawkins, Darwin’s latterday pit-bull, has a missing link. Or, rather, had. With the publication of his tenth book, The Greatest Show on Earth, Dawkins finally gets around to filling a conspicuous void in an evolutionary oeuvre that spans nearly forty

New York: Free Press, 2009. 480 pages
Page(s): 
37-38
Reviewer: 
Douglas Theobald
About the Author(s): 

Douglas Theobald is Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Brandeis University and author of "29+ evidences for macroevolution: The scientific case for common descent" (available on-line at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/).

AUTHOR'S ADDRESS
Douglas L Theobald
Department of Biochemistry
Mailstop 009
Brandeis University
Waltham MA 02454-9110
dtheobald@brandeis.edu

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Review: Darwin’s Sacred Cause

Year: 
2009
Title: 
Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution
Issue: 
6
Author(s): 
Adrian Desmond and James Moore
Date: 
November–December

In 1991 Adrian Desmond and James Moore teamed up to write a wonderful book. Called simply Darwin (New York: Warner Books, 1991), this biography of Charles Darwin rightly won plaudits from fellow historians and a wider reading public, both camps awed by the authors’ depth of research, their fluency of expression, and their ability to bring the tumultuousness of Darwin’s England to life.

New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 448 pages
Page(s): 
41–42
Reviewer: 
John Waller
About the Author(s): 
John Waller
Department of History
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824
wallerj1@msu.edu

John Waller is Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine at Michigan State University. His latest book is A Time to Dance, A Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518 (London: Icon Books, 2008).
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