Philosophers, creationists, and serious brainiacs
NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch's review of the updated edition of But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy (Prometheus Books, 2009) appeared in eSkeptic for August 12, 2009. The review concluded:
But Is It Science? is evidently intended as a sourcebook for university classes in philosophy, the history of science, science and religion, and so forth, and as such it succeeds admirably. But it is, or ought to be, appealing to the general public at large. The creationism/evolution controversy is a perennial feature of life in the United States, with attempts to remove, balance, or compromise the teaching of evolution recurring from the Scopes era to the present day. Even if public interest in intelligent design dwindles after Kitzmiller, as public interest in creation science dwindled after McLean and Edwards, the profound yet misguided discomfort with evolution that actuates such assaults on evolution is bound to remain. Also bound to remain are philosophical controversies over creationism, which — as the Kitzmiller case illustrated so vividly — have the potential to affect the quality of science education across the country and indeed around the world. Pennock and Ruse conclude their preface by writing, "We hope that you enjoy this collection and learn from it." I think that you will. And they add, "We hope sincerely that in twenty years it will not be necessary to bring out a third edition." I do, too. But if so, it will be due, despite Mencken's jab, in large part to the philosophers — Pennock, Ruse, and Forrest, to be sure, but also Philip Kitcher, Sahotra Sarkar, Elliott Sober, and a host of their colleagues — who have worked tirelessly to expose the philosophical flaws of creationism.The editors of the book, philosophers Michael Ruse and Robert T. Pennock, testified in McLean and Kitzmiller, respectively, and Ruse is additionally a Supporter of NCSE. Branch's review will be published in a forthcoming issue of Skeptic.