My son passed this book on to me when he was in a Catholic University. It was part of required reading in a Biology class, along with a copy of a book by Morris advocating the other viewpoint. Morris's book pretty much said, "the Bible says blah blah, blah, therefore, science is wrong." Berra's superb book began in the preface with a scathing indictment of the agenda behind Scientific Creationism - that agenda being enforcement of religious views on our educational system. In the process, Creationists misinterpret science wherever they like in order to make it fit the Bible.
As applied to Scientific Creationism, "Scientific" is a misnomer. In order to qualify as science, first , data is gathered. A "Hypothesis" based on the data is formulated. The hypothesis is tested and results are published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The hypothesis, if it passes muster so far, is subjected to retesting by other scientists with verification of the results. The hypothesis describes "how" a process works, but says nothing about "why." A "Theory" may eventually be developed which explains "why", and has a stronger meaning in science than the usual dictionary definition. To become a theory indicates general acceptance by the scientific community, may be the end result of decades or even centuries of groundwork, and is always susceptible to modification or even rejection if new data demands it. This is the scientific method that helped to bring us out of the Dark Ages. Any theory that is not subjected to these procedures does not belong in science class.
Research for Scientific Creationism consists of careful perusal of the scientific literature, hoping to isolate quotes, ideas, or disagreements amongst scientists which can then be misinterpreted to support Creationist arguments. This is not hypothesis testing. There is no testing in Creationism, but then religion is supposed to be about faith, whereas science is about evidence.
Berra gives us several chapters outlining the very basics of evolution. Starting on page 126, he lists 16 assertions that Creationists hang their hat on, which are contradictory to basic sciences in geology, physics, biology, or chemistry. These are given in only a sentence or two, and Berra's rebuttals are almost as brief. He has a chapter about the politics of this sad situation, all in very blunt prose, not mincing words.
Fortunately, Scientific Creationism's assertions are easily dealt with and you don't have to be a serious scholar to be convinced. Unfortunately, about the time Berra wrote this great little book, a new tactic arose called Intelligent Design. Briefly, the most liberal brand of the ID movement accepts a 4.5 billion year old earth and most of evolution, as the way God created man...however, at some unspecified crossroads in evolution, an unidentified "designer" intervened. This "had to be" because certain aspects of biochemistry/the eye/the flagellum are "irreducibly complex."
The spectrum of ID belief runs the gamut of belief from close to Scientific Creationism to close to complete belief in all of evolution, beginnings of life from primordial sludge and the Big Bang. For the more liberal versions, there are perhaps 5 times as many who would vote for the concept to be taught alongside evolution in high school as there were for Scientific Creationism. This is sort of OK with a lot of the more conservative IDers because it gives them a "wedge" of entry. Later on, the agenda can be broadened to exclude "materialistic and sinful" theories such as evolution from the curriculum altogether. Willingness to obtain by legislation, judicial decree, or the sword that which cannot be obtained by evangelism has a long history within our species.
Back to the book, it is excellent. It is without peer for its day, due to its brevity & clarity, but it needs an update. I urge Dr. Berra to write an up to date version, edited to satisfy some of the complaints in these reviews, and to give the major portion of the book over to rebuttal of Intelligent Design. The chameleon has undergone a transformation and needs to be slapped back down again.