Synopses & Reviews
Evolutionary science lies at the heart of a modern understanding of the natural world. Darwin's theory has withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny, and today it not only explains the origin and design of living things, but highlights the importance of a scientific understanding in our culture and in our lives.
Recently the movement known as Intelligent Design has attracted the attention of journalists, educators, and legislators. The scientific community is puzzled and saddened by this trend not only because it distorts modern biology, but also because it diverts people from the truly fascinating ideas emerging from the real science of evolution. Here, join fifteen of our preeminent thinkers whose clear, accessible, and passionate essays reveal the fact and power of Darwin's theory, and the beauty of the scientific quest to understand our world.
"Writer and editor Brockman (What We Believe but Cannot Prove), who publishes the online magazine Edge, has assembled sixteen short essays by prominent scientists on current thinking about evolution. A few of the contributors, such as Jerry A. Coyne and Daniel C. Dennett, use close readings of Intelligent Design (ID) advocates' claims to argue that ID is a political or ideological movement without scientific legitimacy. These arguments are concise and persuasive, if sometimes familiar; strong evidence and wide acceptance in the scientific community have made evolution central to biology and related branches. The most fresh and interesting essays essentially ignore ID to explore aspects of evolutionary biology, including paleontologist Tim D. White considering evidence for Homo sapiens' evolution, psychologist Steven Pinker on the compatibility of evolution and ethics, and geologist Scott D. Sampson proposing primary science education that links evolution and ecology. As a whole, this sampler makes a powerful cross-discipline case for teaching evolution as an accepted biological consensus as opposed to 'teaching the debate' and offers glimpses into how the science behind the theory continues to evolve in a range of fields." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"If the real values of religion and spirituality...are to survive our rising tastes for religious war and destruction, then more than just an elite among us must understand science and what it yields as description of physical reality through deep time. The more often the small faction of us who read can pause to browse engaging books like Intelligent Thought, the better is the chance that we can stop the impetus of Homo sapiens toward self-destruction." New York Sun
In reverence to the force of scientific truth, join fifteen preeminent thinkers whose clear, accessible, and passionate essays reveal the fact and power of evolution, and the beauty of the scientific endeavor.
About the Author
John Brockman is a writer, agent, and publisher of Edge, the "Third Culture" website (www.edge.org), the forum for leading scientists and thinkers to share their research with the general public. He is the author of By The Late John Brockman and The Third Culture and has edited several previous anthologies including The Next Fifty Years, Curious Minds, and My Einstein. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
John Brockman Introduction
Jerry A. Coyne Intelligent Design: The Faith That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Leonard Susskind The Good Fight
Daniel C. Dennett The Hoax of Intelligent Design and How It Was Perpetuated
Nicholas Humphrey Consciousness: The Achilles Heel of Darwinism? Thank God, Not Quite
Tim D. White Human Evolution: The Evidence
Neil H. Shubin The “Great” Transformation
Richard Dawkins Intelligent Aliens
Frank J. Sulloway Why Darwin Rejected Intelligent Design
Scott Atran Unintelligent Design
Steven Pinker Evolution and Ethics
Lee Smolin Darwinism All the Way Down
Stuart A. Kauffman Intelligent Design, Science or Not?
Seth Lloyd How Smart Is the Universe?
Lisa Randall Designing Words
Marc D. Hauser Parental Guidance Required
Scott D. Sampson Evoliteracy
Appendix Excerpt from the Memorandum Opinion of The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, December 20, 2005