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Doubting Darwin?: Creationist Designs on Evolution

Doubting Darwin?: Creationist Designs on Evolution

Book Description

The debate about what to teach as science in our schools has reached the boiling point, both inside and outside the classroom. From Young Earth to Intelligent Design creationism, the intrusion of political and religious ideals is damaging the integrity of our public education system. Doubting Darwin? puts the dispute into its scientific and historical context, illuminating the intellectual debate that is shaping educational policy. In his thought-provoking book, noted biologist and philosopher Sahotra Sarkar exposes the frauds and fallacies of Intelligent Design Theory and its claim to be “good science.” An expert exploration of key arguments, Doubting Darwin? adamantly rejects Intelligent Design’s claim to legitimacy, showing clearly how and why it is an unsuitable alternative to evolutionary biology in the classroom. This book examines the concrete arguments and positions of the Intelligent Design Movement, analyzes the use of computer science and information theory by the creationists, and discusses the relation between Darwin and modern evolutionary theory. Doubting Darwin? is an accessible and engaging read for anyone looking to gain a genuinely informed perspective on this heated debate.


“Sarkar’s scientific expositions and dissections of Dembski’s specious arguments and Behe’s lack of imagination are clear, surgical, and authoritative. For those who would fear a return to the middle ages, this is the best critique of ID now available.”
– William Wimsatt, University of Chicago

“Part history, part science, and part philosophy, Doubting Darwin? is a deft critique of the new creationism. Sahotra Sarkar hits all the main points with economy and the broad knowledge of a scientist-philosopher.”
– Jeffrey Shallit, University of Waterloo

“The West’s simultaneous loyalty to Christianity and science is a cognitive dissonance in our culture as a whole, most prominently manifested in the Intelligent Design Movement. Sahotra Sarkar’s book is a welcome attempt to apply cognitive therapy to our culture, by talking us through the contradictions in intelligent design.”
– David Wolpert, Senior Computer Scientist at NASA

“Sahotra Sarkar lucidly and comprehensively dismantles Intelligent Design creationism in the most powerful way: by explaining the biology. This book summarizes the theory and philosophy of evolution with depth and insight, and in a way that sharply refutes the objections of creationism.”
– P. Z. Myers, PhD, University of Minnesota, Morris, and author of Pharyngula Blog

Table of Contents

List of Figures



1. Introduction

    a. The Central Argument

    b. The Evidence for Evolution

    c. Rejecting Theories

    d. Plan of the Book

2. The Legacy of Darwin and Wallace

    a. The Theory of Natural Selection

    b. “Absurd in the Highest Possible Degree”

    c. Darwin’s Unfortunate Retreat

    d. Wallace and Weisman

    e. The Decline of Darwinism

    f. Mind and Culture

    g. Contemporary Implications

3. The Argument from Design

    a. Adaptation and Design

    b. Function, Design, and Selection

    c. Blind Variation

    d. Dembski’s Resurrection

4. Mere Evolution

    a. Mendel’s Legacy

    b. The Modern Framework for Evolutionary Theory

    c. Selectionism and Neutralism

    d. Reconstructing the Past

    e. Contemporary Debates

    f. Terminological Choices

5. The Cost of Lunch

    a. Evolutionary Algorithms

    b. The “No Free Lunch” Theorems

    c. Dembski’s Excitement

    d. Utter Irrelevance

    e. Adaptationism

    f. Final Assessment

6. Complexity is Complicated

    a. Irreducible Complexity?

    b. Pathways to ICSs

    c. The Citric Acid Cycle

    d. The Blood Clotting System

    e. The Bacterial Flagellum

    f. Protein Evolution

    g. Irreducibility and Design

7. Questions of Information

    a. What is Biological Information?

    b. Information and Evolution

    c. Specified Complexity

    d. The Law of Conservation of Information

    e. The Cambrian “Explosion”

    f. Taking Leave of Creation Biology

8. Cosmic Coincidences

    a. Physics and Biology

    b. Anthropic Principles?

    c. The Force of Improbability

    d. A Cosmological Design Argument

    e. Is Fine-Tuning Surprising?

    f. A Concluding Note

9. Naturalism and Its Discontents

    a. What Naturalism Is

    b. Nagel’s Legacy

    c. The Problem of Normativity

    d. Creationist Critiques

    e. Metaphysical Naturalism

10 Conclusions

    a. Critiques of Evolutionary Theory

    b. Is ID Science?

    c. Back to the Classroom