Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very relevant
In the context of today's 'debate' between atheists and theists this is a good book to read because of Fuller's perspective (sociology) and his grasp of debates within science and in the philosophy of science. It is a challenging read for someone who is not an expert in these areas but if you are interested in the science vs religion debate and in the politics of the...
Published on 4 Mar. 2008 by Frank Fennelly

versus
9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligence v Design
This book is a curious blend of subtle (sociological)analysis and glaring (scientific) ignorance. It attempts to create a bridgehead between creationism (intelleigent design) and science (evolutionary biology) - generally favouring the former - but fails to convince.

The key to this failure is revealed in the title: evolution is seen as a 'problem'. But...
Published on 3 Jan. 2008 by Paul Kirkham


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very relevant, 4 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Paperback)
In the context of today's 'debate' between atheists and theists this is a good book to read because of Fuller's perspective (sociology) and his grasp of debates within science and in the philosophy of science. It is a challenging read for someone who is not an expert in these areas but if you are interested in the science vs religion debate and in the politics of the debate then have a go. I am not an expert but I am coping so far.I have been particularly interested in the (rather brief)sections on the argument between Dawkins and Gould, and Fuller's interpretation of the positive links between science and religion - not the sort of message Dawkins wants to read, I think. I also read the reviews on Amazon.com to see what the Americans(?) were saying about it. Perhaps you might want to do the same.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Design defended by an 'expert witness' at Kitzmiller trial, 10 May 2009
By 
trini "HWS" (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Paperback)
Steve Fuller, Professor of Sociology at the (UK) University of Warwick, defends Intelligent Design (ID), aka Intelligent Design Theory (IDT) in this book. It deserves a better review than I can now offer, as I have read it carefully through only once (I usually aim at two or more readings), but I feel that I should go live in order to promote it as soon as possible.

It will be clear that Fuller does not equate ID with `young earth creationism'. The latter view promotes the idea that the universe and the earth and all living things were created somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. It is worth emphasising that much criticism of IDT - almost universally in `popular' blogs, but also often in more serious writing too - quite foolishly and utterly wrongly takes these two views as identical. Most supporters of ID accept the general scientific view that the universe is about 14 billion years old and the earth about 4.5 billion years, with life beginning about 3.7 billion years ago. It is childish (and irritating) to read put-downs of `young earth creationsim' as if they discredited ID. No way. It is also, in my view, childish to suggest that a believer in religion makes a less competent scientist than an agnostic or atheist.

The most interesting feature of this book is its extended treatment of the 2005 legal case in the US, `Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al.', where ID, and specifically a biology textbook, `Of Pandas and People', in many ways linked to supporters of ID, were challenged by ID opponents as being explicitly religious, and these opponents therefore claimed that to teach ID or use the named textbook in schools would be to teach religion, which would be contrary to the United States Constitution. I leave it to the reader to study for himself or herself the intricacies of the US Constitution on exactly what contradicts its position on the public teaching of religious views.

I also leave it to the reader to decide whether the final ruling of Judge John E Jones III, on 20 December 2005, in the Kitzmiller case, is correct: that ID is only religious, Christian, biblical `creationism' in disguise, that it is not science, and that it is unconstitutional to teach it in the US public education system. (There is massive information on Google.)

The significance here is that Steve Fuller was one of three `expert witnesses' who testified in defence of the ID position. I think, on my first reading of his book, that he probably thinks that the judge's verdict was inevitable on the evidence as presented, but that the pro-ID case was not well presented.

Fuller makes the point, as others increasingly do, that although the motivation for many of the pro-ID scientists (including philosophers and historians of science) to begin supporting ID may have been triggered by religious considerations, ID is now developed as a proper scientific critique of neo-Darwinism. ID defenders insist that none of their objections to the prevailing neo-Darwinist consensus depend in any way on biblical quotations for their validity. Fuller says (p. 122): "But how seriously should a theory's origins be taken as a mark of its validity? ... While IDT may appeal to those who believe in divine creation, its knowledge claims, and their evaluation, are couched in terms of laboratory experiments and probability theory that do not make any theistic references. Of course, this does not make the theory true, but (so I [i.e.Fuller] believe) it makes it scientific."

In other words, I [the reviewer!] believe that if the Kitzmiller case were re-tried today, in the light of the careful re-assessments made in just the past three years, the verdict would have to be different. The unsatisfactoriness of the neo-Darwinian position that increasingly finds there is everywhere evidence of "design" but [of course!] "without a designer" would be highlighted, and the ID case would more firmly distance itself from Christian fundamentalism and the weak 'science' found in 'Of Pandas and People'.

Fuller quotes an interesting statistical analysis. "Published biological research makes surprising little reference to evolution or its principal Darwinian process, `natural selection'. This point had been already made over a decade ago by the historian of 20th-century biomedical sciences, Nicholas Rasmussen (1994), who contended that neo-Darwinism was largely a philosophical cottage industry with little bearing on day-to-day biological research. I updated his finding. Based on the 1,273,417 articles from 1960 to 2006 indexed on the two main on-line biology databases on October 1, 2005, `evolution' and its variants appeared in the keywords and abstracts of 12 percent of articles, and `natural selection' in a mere 0.4 percent" (p. 131).

On his last page (164) Fuller says: "Were Darwin transported to today's world, and educated in such largely design-based sciences as genetics and molecular biology that were developed after his death, would he continue to interpret the balance of the evidence as telling against intelligent design in nature? Evolutionists take for granted that the answer would be `yes'. However, if you believe (as I [i.e. Fuller] do) that the advent of genetics and molecular biology in the first half of the 20th century, culminating in the discovery of DNA's double-helix structure in 1953, outweighs the significance of Darwin's own work, you would be forced to conclude that Darwin would reinterpret natural selection as a design-based mechanism, possibly propelled by a divine engineer who could even command Newton's respect." [Fuller has often mentioned Newton's search for an overarching blueprint for the entire universe.]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligence v Design, 3 Jan. 2008
By 
Paul Kirkham (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Paperback)
This book is a curious blend of subtle (sociological)analysis and glaring (scientific) ignorance. It attempts to create a bridgehead between creationism (intelleigent design) and science (evolutionary biology) - generally favouring the former - but fails to convince.

The key to this failure is revealed in the title: evolution is seen as a 'problem'. But evolution is no more of a problem than gravity: it just happens to be the way in which the world is constituted. Nor is evolution 'just a theory': it is the foundation of the entire discipline of biology. In contrast, Intelligent Design has never been a theory so much as a tactic (based on ignorance - or, in its own words, 'irreducible complexity') designed to finding a hiding place for the 'God of the gaps'.

The confusion inherent in the title reverbarates throughout the book. Though much is made of the limitations of the, so called, Modern Synthesis (the neo-Darwinian theoretical model from the 1940's which combined evolutionary and genetic thinking) there seems to be no awareness that this synthesis is no longer modern nor accepted by scientists. It has been completely replaced by the More Modern Synthesis based on the new science of evolutionary embryology or development (Evo Devo)which has emerged over the last twenty years. This has forced biologists to completely rethink how forms evolved, based on a growing understand of the genetic tool kit. In doing so it has taken the lid off the so-called 'black box' beloved by creationists as the site of irreducible complexity and design. There is no evidence of design only endless tinkering.

None of this is really reflected in the thesis of this book. The truth is that as far as evidence is concerned the debate between Intelligent Design and evolution is over. Intellegent design has been entirely discredited and remains the last resort of the willfully ignorant. Which is not a very intelligent position to defend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original Contribution to the Debate, 4 Dec. 2007
By 
Morgan Dorrell (Newport, Wales UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Paperback)
I doubt that either creationists or evolutionists will be very comfortable with this book but I suppose it will bother evolutionists more. First of all, Fuller claims that intelligent design (ID) has been behind most of scientific progress, and that Darwin's anti-ID stance is more the exception than the rule to that history. In fact, according to Fuller, a good deal of the history of science has been about trying to get inside the mind of God and, more recently, trying to play God. What this suggests, and here is where Fuller makes life difficult for creationists, the kind of theology that underwrites ID as a science-promoting movement is fundamentally Unitarian, as the greatest scientist of them all, Isaac Newton, himself was. Now, Unitarianism is a sort of heretical offshoot of Christianity (also present in the other monotheistic religions) that veers dangerously close to Humanism and other such anthropocentric visions of reality. This does not bother Fuller in the least, but those more firmly rooted in a traditional Biblical approach to Christianity will have issues with him. What does seem to be true, though, is that it's hard for ID NOT to go down the Unitarian route if it is genuinely trying to promote science, as opposed to being a `science-stopper', as the movement's detractors claim. In other words, Fuller is arguing that science requires a rather specific theological orientation that mainstream religious believer may find hard to accept. But he does agree with the creationists that Darwin's theory of evolution is not necessary, and perhaps even detrimental, to the future of science. Does this make Fuller a `postmodernist'? I don't know. All I know is that only his enemies make the charge. Neither he nor people normally call themselves postmodernists think of Fuller as one. Perhaps you should just read the book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does not know what he is talking about, 31 Jan. 2011
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution (Paperback)
Fuller is a charlatan who does not understand science. He does know how to obtain a professorial appointment at a third-rate British university, which is an admirable skill in itself.

Still, the world would be a better place if nonsense like this did not get written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Science Vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution
£15.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews