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Download Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate epub

by Tim M. Berra

This clear, candid, and generously illustrated book is written for the open-minded reader who does not understand the technical issues of evolution, but would like to, who sees everywhere the signs of a bitter political, philosophical, and educational debate, but does not know what to make of it or who to believe. It tells how science proceeds, what evolution is, how science knows that it has occurred and continues to occur, and what biologists can point to, in fossils and in the living world, as hard evidence of evolution. For its content and foundations, the book draws on zoology, botany, genetics, embryology, geology, geophysics, cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, history, religion, and science education - everything expressed with a clarity that enables the general reader without a science background, as well as high school students and their teachers, to understand the argument.
Download Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate epub
ISBN: 0804717702
ISBN13: 978-0804717700
Category: Bibles
Subcategory: Theology
Author: Tim M. Berra
Language: English
Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1990)
Pages: 220 pages
ePUB size: 1906 kb
FB2 size: 1722 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 402
Other Formats: lrf mbr mbr rtf

The author gives an explanation of evolution simple and yet thorough enough
to meet the scientific information needs of those of high school and early college
educational levels. It would have been nice if he had stated what his ultimate concern
stance is but leaves readers to guess if he is a Catholic or an atheist.
Although now more than a decade and a half old "Evolution and the Myth of Creationism" by Ohio State University zoology professor Tim M. Berra is still a useful introduction to the basic facts of evolution. Written for a general audience and at a level understandable to high schoolers, it presents a useful overview of the evolution/creationism dispute. Berra's goals are simple: to present the scientific case for evolution to the "open minded reader who does not understand the technical issues of evolution but would like to, who sees everywhere the signs of bitter philosophical and educational debate; but does not know what to make of it, or who to believe" (p. ix). With an emphasis on brevity, only 144 pages of text and some really excellent illustrations, Berra presents the scientific pursuit of the origins of humanity, in the process offering compact explanations of population genetics, the fossil record, case histories of bacteria drug resistance and sickle-cell anemia, the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe, and a very useful summary of current views on the human evolutionary experience.

Berra is an unrelenting evolutionist, insisting that from a scientific perspective there is no debate between evolution and creationism, or as it is called in its current incarnation "intelligent design." Evolution, he comments, has the self-correcting underpinning of the scientific method and is accepted by virtually all who seriously study the subject. Creationism is a faith statement not based on any scientific evidence whatsoever and not testable through the scientific method. Berra notes that only a tiny minority of the Americans accept the creationism argument, and that many with deeply-held religious conceptions find no conflict between science and religion. "Creationists, for the most part," he insists, "are fundamentalist Christians whose central premise is a literal interpretation of the Bible and a belief in its inerrancy" (p. viii). In spite of their small numbers creationists are vocal, domineering, and political savvy at getting their belief system into far too many science curricula. They have asserted, although it is a fundamentally flawed belief, that there is a scientific controversy and that both sides should be taught in science classes. Recently, U.S. President George W. Bush made this assertion; never mind that there is no legitimate controversy, a fact that any reader of this book will come to appreciate fully.

I read this book so that I could more readily answer questions about the origins of the universe and life in the universe in my capacity as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. We have received an increasing number of questions about intelligent design from visitors to the museum, and the scientific arguments for the "Big Bang," the expanding universe, and the possibilities of life beyond Earth have received sustained criticism from those who embrace intelligent design. While there is some information on this subject in "Evolution and the Myth of Creationism" the focus of this book is on natural history, the fossil record, dinosaurs, and human evolution. It is a useful introduction to this material, although a little outdated now, but for questions of cosmology readers will want to review other works such as "The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality" (2004) and "The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory" (2003), both by Brian Greene or "The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design" (2005) by Leonard Susskind.
The subtitle of this book is "A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate." Indeed, this small book equips anyone to discuss evolutionary theory knowledgeably. My professor made "Evolution" required reading. As someone who's long been interested in science, especially evolutionary biology, I found some sections, such as the description of the scientific method, natural selection, and the types of fossils, rather tedious because they were so elementary to me. Yet I found it helpful to review the basics, and readers less familiar with scientific discoveries, theories, and methods, or for whom it has been a while since they took a science course, will find the book greatly informative. As well, Berra describes some major developments in the history of evolutionary biology, such as the fruit fly experiments, in an accessible way that makes the book a quick reference as well as a guide.

Throughout the text, Berra points out the fallacies of the creationist arguments, and briefly describes some views which accomodate both science and religion, such as intelligent design. The bulk of his rebuttal of the creationist arguments is in the last chapter, in which he describes the poor state of education in America and court cases in the battle between creationism and science and disproves some creationist claims. While it may seem that he is simply anti-creationist, he fairly explains the basis for an anti-evolution attitude. He also points out that conflicts such as the evolution v. creation debate have happened before--in Galileo's case, for example--and suggests that the conflict will eventually dissipate. All in all, "Evolution" provides the reader with a basic understanding of both evolution and the evolution v. creation issue.