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Review: The Cell's Design

Year: 
2009
Title: 
The Cell's Design: How Chemistry Reveals the Creator's Artistry
Issue: 
4

After reading Fazale Rana's The Cell's Design, the sequel to Origins of Life (Rana and Ross 2004; reviewed in RNCSE 2007 May–Aug; 27 [3–4]: 45–8), I was reminded of John Conlee's 1979 lyrics, "These rose colored glasses, that I'm looking through / Show only the beauty, 'cause they hide all the truth." This country music classic sums up Rana's book, which starts with the foregone conclusion that the cell is designed, by explaining the principles (with reference to Dembski and Behe) of "intelligent design" (in chapter 1).

Author(s): 
Fazale Rana
Date: 
July–August
Page(s): 
36–37
Grand Rapids (MI): Baker Books, 2008. 332 pages.
Reviewer: 
Frank Steiner

References

Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, Matsudaira P, Baltimore D, Darnell J. 2000. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th ed. San Francisco: WH Freeman.

Miller KR. 2008. Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul. New York: Viking.

Miller KR. 1999. Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. San Francisco: Cliff Street.

Rana F, Ross H. 2004. Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolution Models Face Off. Colorado Springs (CO): NavPress.

Story CM. 2008. Same song, second verse. Christianity Today. Available on-line at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/octoberweb-only/143-42.0.html. Last accessed March 27, 2009.

Stryer L. 1988. Biochemistry. 3rd ed. San Francisco: WH Freeman.

About the Author(s): 

Frank Steiner
Biology Department
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale MI 49242
fxs@hillsdale.edu

Frank Steiner is Professor and Chair of Biology at Hillsdale College.

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Unintelligent Design

Title: 
Unintelligent Design: Interview with Mark Perakh
Author(s): 
Interviewed by Glenn Branch
Issue: 
4

Mark Perakh was born in 1924 in Kiev, Ukraine. In 1941 he volunteered to fight the German invasion of the USSR. Later he studied at the Odessa Institute of Technology, earning a Diploma in Engineering Physics, and later an equivalent of a PhD degree from the Odessa Polytechnic Institute. In the 1950s he was arrested by the KGB on the charge of engaging in "anti-Soviet propaganda" and spent several years in a Siberian prison camp. Subsequently, he conducted research and taught physics in several universities in the USSR.

Year: 
2009
Date: 
July–August
Page(s): 
15–17
About the Author(s): 

Glenn Branch is deputy director of NCSE.

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Review: Critique of Intelligent Design

Year: 
2009
Issue: 
4
Title: 
Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present

The great merit of this book is its authors' recognition of historical contingency as key to the battle over "intelligent design". They argue that every natural and social science originated in a materialist (in the sense of naturalist) critique of some version of "intelligent design" and its accompanying teleological explanation. Proponents of "intelligent design" throughout the ages, in turn, have attacked materialism for its rejection of design and teleology, resulting in a 2500-year dialectic between scientific materialists and their theological and philosophical opponents.

Date: 
July–August
Author(s): 
John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York
New York: Monthly Review Press, 2008. 240 pages.
Page(s): 
32–33
Reviewer: 
Arthur McCalla
About the Author(s): 

Arthur McCalla
Department of Philosophy/Religious Studies
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax NS B3M 2J6 Canada
arthur.mccalla@msvu.ca

Arthur McCalla is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy/Religious Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, and the author of The Creationist Debate: The Encounter between the Bible and the Historical Mind (London: T&T Clark International, 2006).

Media Type: 
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Whither "Intelligent Design" Creationism?

Title: 
Whither "Intelligent Design" Creationism?
Author(s): 
Lawrence S Lerner
Issue: 
4

Since the 1960s, creationism has evolved, with the pressure of "judicial selection" giving rise to new species. The most prominent 1960s program — young-earth creationism or YEC — was based explicitly on the Book of Genesis. It aimed at teaching K–12 science students that God created the universe in six days by a series of fiats and that nearly all of geology could be explained in terms of the action of Noah's Flood.

Year: 
2009
Date: 
July–August
Page(s): 
18, 23–24
About the Author(s): 

Lawrence S Lerner
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach CA 90840
lslerner@csulb.edu

Lawrence S Lerner is Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at California State University, Long Beach, and a recognized expert on state science standards. He was the recipient of a Friend of Darwin award from NCSE in 2003.

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Review: The Darwin Myth

Year: 
2009
Issue: 
5
Title: 
The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin

Using that “life and lies” formula in the subtitle of this anti-Darwin book was not a wise move by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wiker. It invites unfavorable comparison to a similarly titled book about a similarly celebrated white-bearded English sage with an ugly nose. I mean, of course, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, by Rita Skeeter, a book within a book in the Harry Potter series.

Date: 
September–October
Author(s): 
Benjamin Wiker
Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2009. 196 pages.
Page(s): 
42–43
Reviewer: 
Sander Gliboff
About the Author(s): 
Sander Gliboff
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
130 Goodbody Hall
1011 E 3rd St.
Indiana University
Bloomington IN 47405
sgliboff@indiana.edu

Sander Gliboff is Associate Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, and the author of HG Bronn, Ernst Haeckel, and the Origins of German Darwinism: A Study in Translation and Transformation (Cambridge [MA]: MIT Press, 2008).
Media Type: 
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From the World-Wide Flood to the World Wide Web: Creationism in the Digital Age

Title: 
From the World-Wide Flood to the World Wide Web: Creationism in the Digital Age
Author(s): 
Stephen C Burnett
Issue: 
4

INTRODUCTION

Recent research has shown strong support for science among the public in the US (National Science Board 2006). At the same time, this research shows that this same public is generally not well-informed about scientific issues (National Science Board 2006). In fact, the NSB report concludes that “the public’s lack of knowledge about basic scientific facts and the scientific process can have far reaching implications” (National Science Board 2006). This problem is not limited to adults, as tests of scientific literacy rate US students below the level of their counterparts in many other countries (National Science Board 2006). In particular, understanding of evolutionary biology is especially poor among Americans (Miller and others 2006), and it seems to be an issue from grade school (Michigan House Civics Commission 2006) to college (Holden 2006a). While this issue exists in other countries, the United States is the arguably the developed nation where the problem is most severe (Lazcano 2005; Miller and others 2006). Clearly, public perception of evolutionary biology is out of line with the actual state of science, and efforts to correct this should be a high priority.

Year: 
2008
Date: 
July–August
Page(s): 
17–18, 23–27
About the Author(s): 
Stephen C Burnett
Department of Natural Sciences
Clayton State University
2000 Clayton State Blvd.
Morrow GA 30260
sburnett@clayton.edu

Stephen Burnett is an associate professor of biology at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. He teaches courses in evolution, vertebrate anatomy, animal behavior, and general biology. His research interests include public education and various aspects of animal behavior.
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Darwin: A Not-So-Happy 200th Birthday

Teaching of evolution still in danger; US economy in peril?

Will February 12th be a happy 200th birthday for Charles Darwin? Maybe not, says Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in an article that just appeared on the U.S. News & World Report web site.

Review: The Design Inference

Year: 
1999
Title: 
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities
Issue: 
2

In an article appearing in the October 1998 First Things, William A Dembski announced the existence of rigorous and reliable means for detecting the action of an intelligent agent. Its description and justification, said Dembski, would be found in the pages of his new book, The Design Inference (TDI). Dembski made a special point of applying a criterion he called complexity-specification to biological phenomena, with the claim that biologists must now admit design into their science.

Author(s): 
William A. Dembski
Date: 
March–April
Page(s): 
32–35
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 260 pages.
Reviewer: 
Wesley R Elsberry

References

Dembski WA. Science and design. First Things 1998 Oct; 86:21-2. http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9810/dembski.html. Accessed April 8, 1999.

Dembski WA. The Design Inference. Center for Renewal of Science & Culture Fellows Publications, http://www.discovery.org/fellows/design.html. Accessed May 31, 1999.

Further Reading

Dembski WA. The Explanatory Filter: A three-part filter for understanding how to separate and identify cause from intelligent design. http://www.origins.org/real/ri9602/dembski.html Accessed March 8,1999.

Dembski WA. Intelligent design as a theory of information. Conference on Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise (Austin, Texas). http://www.dla.utexas.edu/depts/philosophy/faculty/koons/ntse/papers/Dembski.html Accessed March 8, 1999.

[Find an expanded version of this review on the web at http://inia.cls.org/~welsberr/zgists/wre/papers/dembski7.html. Thanks to Bob Schadewald and others who gave helpful commentary on drafts of this review.]

About the Author(s): 

Wesley R Elsberry
Texas A&M University
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
210 Nagle Hall
College Station TX 77843

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Review: The Wedge of Truth

Year: 
2000
Issue: 
6
Title: 
The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
Paul Tillich, the great German and American theologian, warned theologians never to embrace or reject any scientific idea for purely theological reasons. Such a strategy is theologically injudicious not only because scientific ideas are always subject to revision but also because new ideas from science can be an important stimulus to theological development.

Date: 
November–December
Author(s): 
Phillip E Johnson
Downers Grove (IL): InterVarsity Press, 2000. 192 pages.
Page(s): 
11–13
Reviewer: 
John F Haught
About the Author(s): 
James F Haught, PhD
Department of Theology
Georgetown University
37th & O Street NW
Washington DC 20057-1135
Media Type: 
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Review: Darwin's God

Year: 
2002
Title: 
Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil
Issue: 
1–2

Author(s): 
Cornelius G. Hunter
Date: 
January–April
Grand Rapids (MI): Brazos Press, 2001. 192 pages.
Page(s): 
49–51

References

Reviewer: 
Donald Nield
About the Author(s): 

Donald A Nield
Associate Professor
Department of Engineering Science
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland New Zealand
d.nield@auckland.ac.nz
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