Pharyngula

Explore Evolution gets another drubbing

If you’ve been following the creationist strategy lately, you know that one of their efforts is to push a new and awful textbook, Explore Evolution, in conjunction with the various political bills to endorse a “strengths & weaknesses” theme in the public school science curriculum. Explore Evolution is the type specimen for that teaching technique; it contains nothing but imaginary problems in biology presented in a dueling opinions format, with creationists writing sloppy distortions of biological ideas coupled with creationists writing laudatory explanations based on Intelligent Design creationism. The book has been reviewed (that is, panned) before, but now we have another review published in Evolution & Development. The reviewer is not impressed.

Even as the Discovery Institute’s Stephen C. Meyer was trying to convince the Texas state board of education of his scientific bona fides, the antievolution textbook he coauthored was receiving a scathing review in a top scientific journal. Reviewing Explore Evolution for Evolution & Development (2009; 11 [1]: 124-125), Brian D. Metscher of the University of Vienna described it as “159 glossy pages of color-illustrated creationist nostalgia,” adding, “All the old favorites are here — fossils saying no, all the Icons, flightless Ubx flies, irreducible flagella, even that irritating homology-is-circular thing. There are no new arguments, no improved understanding of evolution, just a remastered scrapbook of the old ideas patched together in a high-gloss package pre-adapted to survive the post-Dover legal environment. The whole effort would be merely pathetic if it did not actually represent a serious and insidious threat to education.”

Of course, most schoolboards will completely disregard the informed assessment of experts in the field to rely instead on the petrified dogma of their local preacher.

Comments

  1. #1 cervantes
    January 28, 2009

    Now Dr. Myers, don’t you think you are exaggerating a wee bit by saying that “most schoolboards” will disregard expertise? A few may do so, mostly in the Confederate states, but I sincerely doubt we’ll see this textbook in many classrooms, if any. It’s outrageous that it has so many defenders, but they scarcely run the public school systems in most jurisdictions of this country. We do need to get a grip.

  2. #2 Richard Hubbard
    January 28, 2009

    The law/regulations they want passed is to allow “Academic Freedom” in the high schools so that “alternative textbooks” could be introduced.

    Should we get behind a motion to have “God, the Failed Hypothesis” as a supplemental text for high school physics, and “The God Delusion” as a supplemental text for high school biology?

  3. #3 Ouchimoo
    January 28, 2009

    Maybe we should have a scathing book about Christianity. Complete with archeological evidence that the bible is nothing more than a collection of stories and has no significant value what so ever and then try and push them into xtain churches. They’d be screaming bloody murder then.

    Stupid double standards.

  4. #4 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2009

    Poor Stephen Meyer.

    “anyone using this as a source of information about science in the classroom will leave their students with a picture of modern biology that is essentially unrelated to the way that science is actually practiced within the biological science community.” …..”Together with new state education bills allowing local groups to push this stuff into classrooms, it will help dilute and weaken the already thin preparation students receive for dealing with a world full of information they need to be able to think about.”

    Shorter, Meyer’s is bad for your kids.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2009

    Shorter, Meyer’s is bad for your kids.

    Meyer’s book that is. Though and argument could be made about him.

  6. #6 Jay
    January 28, 2009

    After reading this blog for a couple of years & doing some research on recurring themes, a couple of thoughts come to mind:

    FIRST – Many, perhaps most (essentially all based on my first-hand, but statistically insignificant & thus anecdotal sampling), of those espousing the young-Earth creationist viewpoint have some psychological need to maintain the given faith (and Christianity has many variants that are incompatible with each other). Common to this ‘need’ (based on my observation) is that these people pursue creationism so doggedly because that underlying psychological ‘need’ requires proof. So they fabricate it. To oversimplify, this is basically the same sort of rationalization people typically do when they buy a stock and it declines in price, the fundamentals for its outlook change and they don’t want to take the loss & sell but rather ignore the new information and presume its a buying opportunity. So in dealing with these types on the creationism theme I’ve found that pointing out with extreme sensitivity & concern that this advocacy of creationism:

    a) is totally unsupported by any bibilical requirement
    b) is irrelevant to their practice of the faith (whatever variant it is)
    c) and thus reflects a waste of effort, but
    d) shows that they themselves are lacking in true faith — just like “doubting Thomas” at Christ’s appearance after the crucifiction.

    That last point almost always hits’m hard–you can see the flicker of realization in their eyes. At that point a brief, gentle re-emphasis on the pointlessness of reviewing creationism as their focal point and simply getting on with their lives seems to get them to move on & open their minds a little. If not that, it almost always shuts them up.

    SECOND – Has anyone reviewed cult recruitment tactics & strategies here? That doesn’t seem to be a topic of interest…but…after reviewing a lot of the on-line material from so-called “deprogrammers” & the like its clear that creationism is a religious lever used by numerous, perhaps thousands, of cults afflicting several hundred thousand people in the US alone (of course the estimates are crude). There might be some good tactics to pursue for “planting seeds” in the minds of these people to help them disengage/breakaway from such cults. Easy for me to suggest, but I’m not sure what the answer is/what the tactics are.

    But browbeating such people, in cults or those that are just misguided, that they are wrong & so forth is a surefire tactic to induce them to hold onto those wrong views/beliefs even more vigorously (recall Aesop’s fable about the bet between the sun & the wind to get a man to remove his coat). That’s human nature.

    Its not clear to me from the responses if people commenting here want to improve things, or just vent to make themselves feel better.

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2009

    anD

    Ok I give up. Typos taking over.

    KoT

  8. #8 Phelps
    January 28, 2009

    A funny side note: I looked for Explore Evolution on amazon.com. What comes up is a set of 77.5 mm skateboard wheels!

  9. #9 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    RevBDC:
    RedBull is fine in the morning as a pick-me-up, but you should wait until after 5pm to add the vodka (if gaffless typing is your aim).

  10. #10 Nichole
    January 28, 2009

    @ Jay,

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally find trying to talk to creationists or true believers of any sort really to be an exercise in frustration. Any seed of doubt you might plant is immediately eradicated by the persons preacher, or family, or someone else. Not to say I don’t try, but I sure do understand the venting. These memes or cults or whatever you want to call them are incredibly focused and strong-willed. That’s why they’ve survived for so long.

    Maybe like, how drugs like acid were demonized and now we don’t see any crazy hippie sex-drug cults anymore, maybe we need to figure out what the parallel is in the Abrahamic religions and we can make them socially unacceptable. The consequences (i.e. Crusades, Witch Trials, war against Muslim world, that chick who drowned her kids…) don’t seem to be making an impression. Consequences can be rationalized. We ought to rally the troops and attack the premise. If we can figure out what that is.

    Just a thought. -n

  11. #11 10ch.org
    January 28, 2009

    Trying to throw junk into education which has no value in it whatsoever is quite pathetic indeed.

  12. #12 DLC
    January 28, 2009

    I don’t object to teaching creationism in schools. In any class dealing with mythology or world religions.
    It isn’t science and trying to treat it as such does a disservice to students.

  13. #13 No One of Consequence
    January 28, 2009

    My $.03 -

    PZ should write a textbook on the strengths and weaknesses of evolution — one that includes the real controversies and what work is being done, but more importantly, one that shows the fabricated weaknesses and thoroughly destroys the arguments.

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2009

    RevBDC:
    RedBull is fine in the morning as a pick-me-up, but you should wait until after 5pm to add the vodka (if gaffless typing is your aim).

    If only that were my excuse…

  15. #15 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    NOOC@#13:
    Unfortunately that book (books) has already been written although not by PZ.
    You cannot argue with anyone who believes in magic/the supernatural and is convinced that dissenting points of view constitute the work of the devil.

  16. #16 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    @#13:
    Facilis, Silver Fox, and Heddle prove that some people will only grasp logic and reason to a point and then abandon it for a stance on personal faith from which they will not budge, although each one of these characters has a different tipping point.

    Never try to teach a pig to sing…

  17. #17 NewEnglandBob
    January 28, 2009

    No One of Consequence @13 and E.V. @ 15:

    Books:

    “God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory” By Niall Shanks

    “God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist” By Victor J. Stenger

    and to a lesser extent:

    “Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment” By Phil Zuckerman

    “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” By Carl Sagan

  18. #18 hje
    January 28, 2009

    The working title for the book was “Lying About Evolution.” Either that or “A Burning Sack of Dog Crap.”

  19. #19 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    And NewEnglandBob comes through! *yay*

    “There are none so blind as s/he who will not see… or read.”

  20. #20 Science Goddess
    January 28, 2009

    I think it’s called “cognitive dissonance”

    SG

  21. #21 Zifnab
    January 28, 2009

    Maybe we should have a scathing book about Christianity. Complete with archeological evidence that the bible is nothing more than a collection of stories and has no significant value what so ever and then try and push them into xtain churches. They’d be screaming bloody murder then.

    Stupid double standards.

    #3

    If you really want to drive the Xtians up a wall, you don’t have to threaten them with anti-Christian literature or banning prayer in schools.

    Threaten them with taxes.

    Push the 35% Corporate tax on the Catholic Church and you’ll have them so up in arms that they’ll forget all about evolution and gays and school prayer. Level payroll taxes and income taxes on the Crystal Cathedral and the wingnut army of preachers will be stopped in their tracks. It’ll be a wail of the Banshees like you wouldn’t believe.

    Scare them with money. That’ll put the fear of god in them.

  22. #22 JohnFrum
    January 28, 2009

    “Of course, most schoolboards will completely disregard the informed assessment of experts in the field to rely instead on the petrified dogma of their local preacher.”

    I have to take issue with that. I think it’s overly cynical to say *most* school boards will fall for this.

  23. #23 gingerbeard
    January 28, 2009

    another great book as a starting point is
    Abusing Science, the case against creationism.

    Which oddly enough I found in the seminary library at UWO.
    Struck me as odd to have a book that distroyed all the creationist BS (of the time) regarding evolution in the library for people studying religion.

  24. #24 Les Lane
    January 28, 2009

    A useful indicator of the obscurity of Explore Evolution is that it can’t be found on Bookfinder.

  25. #25 TechSkeptic
    January 28, 2009

    No One of Cons…

    I once came here after a similar post like this one. I asked, becuase I am no biologist, “Well, what really are the contraversies?”. I knew full well that the made up creationist contraversies are easily dealt with all over the internet, talk origins is a good place for all that.

    But surely there were in fact some contraversies, right? Well it was a long thread, and I took a lot of bashng even though a quick look at my blog should have quelled that (but didn’t).

    What I realized after much talk and trying to get straight answers out, was that the contraversies really arent for the layman or the high school student. there may be one or two things, but in order to understand the real contraversies you actually have to already have a good biology background or at least be willing to trod deep into biology.

    It turns out this is the same for global warming. The people who yap about whether or not its real, use the same low level, easy to refute arguments that creationists use. The real contraversies require a good climatological understanding first.

    This is why when you look at the “scientists” who are against evolution or global warming rarely will you find a biologist or climatologist on that list.

  26. #26 Glen Davidson
    January 28, 2009

    Homeschoolers are the most likely victims of this.

    I would think that most school boards will be leery of something like Explore Evolution that could provoke a lawsuit.

    This is another argument against the vast majority of religious homeschooling, naturally.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  27. #27 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    I think it’s called “cognitive dissonance”

    It is, but many people can ignore that dissonance or rationalize it away no matter how stridently it reverberates.
    There is a huge number of people that are immune to cognitive dissonance because they really aren’t analytical enough to determine how most things actually work. Many people hide behind the “common sense” rubric and lack even the most basic critical thinking skills, in fact most tend to believe that too much education (their concept) makes you less prone to use common sense, so you can begin to see that vague knowledge and intuition is prized over logic, analysis and academia.
    I know many of these people and there is no conflict in their minds when it comes to belief versus empirical evidence because they believe they have all the answers they need to know. They don’t wonder why or how a television works, it’s enough to know that if it breaks they can call someone to repair it or buy a new one. The ones that understand how a tv works grow up to be Heddle or Randy The Intelligent Designer, convinced they can torture logic and evidence to match their a priori beliefs.

  28. #28 Glen Davidson
    January 28, 2009

    OT, but I saw this over at UD:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/mathematically-defining-functional-information-in-biology/

    It’s Kirk Durston (the slimeball who avoided biology while debating PZ) doing shit “science” of “design detection.” He ignores natural selection, figuring everything according to a blind search–he said he’d get to natural selection, but he doesn’t in any meaningful way whatsoever, only fobbing it off at the end.

    He makes a comically stupid error in saying that non-bacteria are “prokaryotes,” and he keeps pronouncing “Venter” as “Ventner.”

    His whole “design detection” idea is that intelligence can make life (he doesn’t put it that way, but that’s what it amounts to), hence, that the probability of intelligence producing what we see in life is “one.” Anyone who thinks will recognize that with only one example of intelligence (as we’d define it presently, that is) is that of humanity, existing as “intelligent life” for half a million years at the most generous estimate (200,000 years for H. sapiens is far more realistic). Apparently he’s telling us that humans produced life.

    Of course he’s not really, he’s saying that God has a probability of “one,” since humans are unlikely to have intelligently made themselves.

    It’s really worth watching, if you want to know what a dishonest piece of sewage he really is. Had he brought up this bullshit, PZ would have finished him off in three bites.

    Glen D
    tinyurl.com/6mb592

  29. #29 Glen Davidson
    January 28, 2009

    Oh yeah, here’s a quote that should be brought up any time Durston or any other IDiot speaks:

    Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory.

    Charles
    Darwin (1859)

    Durston, et al., explain nothing at all (all intelligence that we’ve seen fails to produce the sytems, organs, and patterns that we see in life, save when humans utilize GAs to explicitly replicate non-teleological evolution), and pointedly ignore all that evolution explains.

    Anyhow, you can see why PZ didn’t do especially well against such liars.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  30. #30 Pierce R. Butler
    January 28, 2009

    Jay @ # 6: … browbeating such people, in cults or those that are just misguided, that they are wrong & so forth is a surefire tactic to induce them to hold onto those wrong views/beliefs even more vigorously

    But it can be a very effective tactic to keep those “on the fence” or new to the issue from joining the side whose intellectual and moral flaws are being pilloried. Note also that, even in the posts and comments here, useful information and constructive critiques are routinely provided for those seeking positive, educational resources.

  31. #31 raven
    January 28, 2009

    What I realized after much talk and trying to get straight answers out, was that the contraversies really arent for the layman or the high school student. there may be one or two things, but in order to understand the real contraversies you actually have to already have a good biology background or at least be willing to trod deep into biology.

    Well there are controversies in evolutionary biology but they aren’t for anyone but specialists and motivated amateurs.

    1. Punctuated evolution versus gradualism. I’ve yet to sort this one out as there is evidence for both.

    2. If one starts over, would life on earth look the same? Gould says no, Conway-Morris says yes. How important is convergent evolution?

    3. People still argue over what killed the dinosaurs.

    4. The nature, cause, and timeframe of mass extinctions. The cretaceous one is clearly tied up with the Chixulub asteroid impact. The other ones are more obscure. Peter Ward argues that most of these were relatively sudden events including the Permian one.

    5. Filling in the gaps in the fossil record. There are still a few and in some cases, fossil bearing sediments of the right age are just few and far between.

    6. The nature of the precambrian biosphere. There was a whole world of enigmatic life forms that we know little about.

    7. Abiogenesis. We are always going to have trouble with this one. There just isn’t a lot of fossil evidence from 4 billion years ago.

    8. Why did life on earth consist of unicellular organisms for much of its history?

    Signs of a healthy field. And the truth is far more complicated and interesting than a few pages of bronze age mythology.

  32. #32 TechSkeptic
    January 28, 2009

    Good god raven!

    That was the list I was asking for a year ago!

  33. #33 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 28, 2009

    I could use a good drubbing myself, but my girlfriend has a cold.

  34. #34 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    NBwaW:
    Then she could give you a good dwubbing instead.

  35. #35 Sastra
    January 28, 2009

    E.V. #27 wrote:

    It is, but many people can ignore that dissonance or rationalize it away no matter how stridently it reverberates. There is a huge number of people that are immune to cognitive dissonance because they really aren’t analytical enough to determine how most things actually work.

    True, but there are many people — including creationists — who can change their mind, particularly if they’re confronted with cognitive dissonance in an area that means something to them.

    One of the problems I have with the “creationists are immune to evidence” argument is that it turns ordinary people into an undifferentiated mob of Orcs, “Others” who are not-like-us and will-never-be like us. Yes, by definition, they are deeply committed to their faith. But people are not one-dimensional. They’re also usually committed to values like reason, truth, and honesty. They value science, and recognize its power. Not all of them are equally sure of themselves — for some of them, it’s bluster and habit.

    And those who can’t be persuaded to accept an opposing view for personal reasons can often be persuaded to accept a slightly-different view than the one they already hold.

    Only idealists insist on All or Nothing. Small victories and concessions matter — and eventually add up.

  36. #36 Ray in Seattle
    January 28, 2009

    EV – Right on. (#15)

    Just amplifying your point from my pov, the general principle is that reason is a weak force against emotional belief in human minds. Reason alone will always lose. The only work-around is when some (scientist-like persons) develop an emotional belief in objectivity. Objectivity is very difficult; it takes mental energy driven by that emotional commitment. But it is possible. The trick is for the scientist’s emotional attachment to objectivity to be greater than their attachment to the other emotional beliefs they hold. Yes, even scientists have those but the great scientists overcome them. Charles Darwin for example.

    Cognitive dissonance (and reason) is highly over-rated. It’s the emotional battle that must be won.

  37. #37 robotaholic
    January 28, 2009

    I love how they call it:

    a serious and insidious threat to education

    that sounds EVIL muahah

  38. #38 Chanda
    January 28, 2009

    The book I’d like to read is the influence of religion on our evolution. I wonder if you’d learn that we would have never made it as a species without religion. Now that would be irony.

    I doubt such a book can be written but I’d read it in a heart beat.

    Just remember those idiot people who used to believe god threw lightning from the sky. They were able to create a hell of a lot of stuff. We too can proceed while hidden in the murky waters of myth. Just keep swimming.

  39. #39 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    “Others” who are not-like-us and will-never-be like us. Yes, by definition, they are deeply committed to their faith. But people are not one-dimensional.

    True Sastra, but this involves forcing people out of their comfort zone, which also involves their social sphere.
    I’m not saying the problem is intractable, since younger people can adapt to different ideas much easier than the over 35 crowd, but you still have a problem with the religious mindset of authoritarianism. They indoctrinate the children against the slippery slope of science to godlessness as soon as the kids can toddle.
    I keep bringing up the Rhodes Scholar candidate from here who is going to study theology at Cambridge. These religiously entrenched anti-evolution families are middle and upper-middle class people who are very multi-dimensional until it comes to their God being threatened by evolution. Their kids sound like Heddle and Facilis.

    A client of mine, who was enormously successful and college educated – a really bright guy- automatically flipped into the “I’m not going to accept that line of reasoning/not going to look at you/it isn’t true” mode when we got into a discussion regarding science, to the effect that I maintained science was not a collection of subjective facts and figures.

    For him, his belief that theology trumped science was paramount, so much that he cut off all information before it could cause cognitive dissonance.
    His paradigm did not depend on whether evolution was true or not so long as he was left with the illusion that a deity controlled all the things he had not found necessary to analyze and sort through. The God of the Gaps includes all that gray area that normal everyday non-science types don’t even consider.
    I won’t go into detail about my family’s beliefs, but I know so many believers who would rather excommunicate any family member who was defiantly apostate (recognized evolution and denied ID) than consider changing any part of their religious beliefs.
    These are not self-examining, introspective people usually. They take technology for granted. They’re concerned with the making money, with family, with being fed and entertained. If it’s not a Jeopardy trivia question, science is not even on their radar. Some are remarkably bright, but they have too much at stake to trade a planned ordered universe with a godless reality that promises no hereafter and what essentially reveals their beloved authority figures to liars or misguided fools. They simply don’t address until they’re threatened by it. A few may read Dawkins or Gould on the sly, but if they do alter their ideology, they’ll be like Nisbett – too ready to accommodate the believers out of a misplaced sense of deference and respect.

  40. #40 bunnycatch3r
    January 28, 2009

    Science is becoming a populist movement.
    Let’s vote on how we feel about the speed of light.

  41. #41 Walton
    January 28, 2009

    I keep bringing up the Rhodes Scholar candidate from here who is going to study theology at Cambridge.

    Erm, Rhodes Scholars study at Oxford, not Cambridge.

  42. #42 Chasm
    January 28, 2009

    It seems to me that science teachers should conspire to spend the first week of every term teaching logic and fallacies. Spend 2 days on basic logic, then 3 days on identifying argument fallacies, and post a chart of fallacies on the wall of the classroom. After the students are good and primed, then teach whatever they say you have to about the “controversy” over Evolution. As long as there are at least a couple of bright students in the class, I’d bet the unsupported crap jumps out pretty quickly.

  43. #43 TechSkeptic
    January 28, 2009

    Raven,

    What timing!!!

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126932.600-evolution-the-next-200-years.html?full=true

    Chasm,

    Couldn’t agree more. I wish Sagans “demon haunted world” was required reading for science.

  44. #44 Rey Fox
    January 28, 2009

    “159 glossy pages”

    Ah, that reminds me of when Lewis Black had the book (when it was still called “Of Pandas and People”) on his Back in Black segment and turned it sideways to punctuate one of his jokes. It really is a sad slim tome.

  45. #45 Feshy
    January 28, 2009

    Homeschoolers are the most likely victims of this.

    I would think that most school boards will be leery of something like Explore Evolution that could provoke a lawsuit.

    If I homeschool, we will absolutely be using this book or one like it…

    In a segment on logic and evidence. With assignments like “Find three logical fallacies in chapter 2.”

  46. #46 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    You’re right Walton, – my IIRC faux pas.

  47. #47 Qwerty
    January 28, 2009

    The Discovery Institute has a link to a positive review of “Explore Evolution” at Kirkus Reviews.

    http://www.kirkusreviews.com/kirkusreviews/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003646777

    Oddly enough, if you go to their submission guildelines, there is a lenghty list of what they don’t review. One of the things they don’t review is textbooks!

    Hmmmmmm…. Something fishy going on here.

  48. #48 Sastra
    January 28, 2009

    E.V. #39 wrote:

    I’m not saying the problem is intractable, since younger people can adapt to different ideas much easier than the over 35 crowd, but you still have a problem with the religious mindset of authoritarianism.

    Oh, I think we both agree that it’s damned hard to break through a religious mindset and get people to think outside the box. It’s hard in any sphere — but there’s so much emotion and personal sense of identity wrapped up with religion.

    As for creationism, I’ve found that their value for faith can actually work against it, if you point out that they’re making evolution into a “test for God.” If evolution happened, then God does not exist. Are they prepared to stand on that statement? Push them to the wall on this, and the answer is usually ‘no’; people “of faith” are supposed to be able to spin it so that God always gets confirmed — and their faith increases — no matter what. They should prefer to go for “theistic evolution,” over “rejecting God.”

    Of course, if they don’t care about being able to falsify God, at least you can get them to admit that we all agree that faith is over-rated, and God a testable hypothesis. Win-win for us either way ;)

    Walton #41 wrote:

    “I keep bringing up the Rhodes Scholar candidate from here who is going to study theology at Cambridge.”
    Erm, Rhodes Scholars study at Oxford, not Cambridge.

    Which only further supports E.V.’s point, I guess. Heh.

    Actually, the best way to lose a fundamentalist mindset is to go study theology at Oxford, or Harvard, or some other major university. You’re more likely to come out with God being some vague “Ground of Being” which inspires humanity towards humanism, or something.

  49. #49 Blake Stacey
    January 28, 2009

    You’re more likely to come out with God being some vague “Ground of Being” which inspires humanity towards humanism, or something.

    Ah, yes, the Existence of Possibility — or was it the Possibility of Existence? I forget. . . .

  50. #50 Qwerty
    January 28, 2009

    Mystery solved: “Kirkus Discoveries, unlike Kirkus Reviews, is a paid-review service that allows authors and publishers of overlooked titles to receive authoritative, careful assessment of their books.”

    The “Explore Evolution” website sends you to Kirkus Discoveries which is a service for which you pay $400 to $500 to have your book reviewed.

    I guess if someone pays for a review, you don’t want to disappoint them by saying your book is crap. And how convenient that Kirkus Reviews (which reviews books gratis) and Kirkus Discoveries share the same website.

  51. #51 E.V.
    January 28, 2009

    Actually, the best way to lose a fundamentalist mindset is to go study theology at Oxford, or Harvard, or some other major university. You’re more likely to come out with God being some vague “Ground of Being” which inspires humanity towards humanism, or something.

    Perhaps you’re right. I’ve become very jaded since many of my friends, who were theological fence sitters, have re-drunk the kool-aid recently. (This post brought to you by Block Those Metaphors!)

  52. #52 Sastra
    January 28, 2009

    Blake Stacey #49 wrote:

    Ah, yes, the Existence of Possibility ? or was it the Possibility of Existence? I forget. . . .

    Well, Aquinas called God “pure actuality.”

    I recall reading a definition of God somewhere that described it as the “actuality of the potential.” I wondered then if all hell would break loose — and theology turned on its head — if, instead, it turned out that God was “the potentiality of the actual.” And they discovered this. Somehow.

    If nothing else, they’d have to rewrite and revise all those Sunday School lessons for the kids. It would be a bother.

  53. #53 Qwerty
    January 28, 2009

    Oh…oh… I made a mistake. “Explore Evolution” was reviewed by Kirkus Discoveries which is a service of Kirkus whereby you pay either $400 or $550 to have a book reviewed. (The higher price is for a quicker turnaround time.) So, the authors of “Explore” bought a review as they couldn’t get a positive review from a reputable source.

  54. #54 Lowell
    January 28, 2009

    Qwerty,

    How could you tell that it was reviewed by Kirkus Discoveries rather than Kirkus Reviews?

    I didn’t see any clear indication, and the whole Kirkus Reviews/Kirkus Discoveries thing doesn’t smell right to me.

  55. #55 Lowell
    January 28, 2009

    Qwerty,

    If you could also tell me where the DI linked to the Kirkus review, I’d greatly appreciate it. I couldn’t find it. Thanks!

  56. #56 kamaka
    January 28, 2009

    Struck me as odd to have a book that distroyed all the creationist BS (of the time) regarding evolution in the library for people studying religion.

    Good librarian.

    It seems to me that science teachers should conspire to spend the first week of every term teaching logic and fallacies.

    That cabal is already in place. I’d be suprised to find a science teacher that wasn’t teaching logic, analysis, deduction, fallacy, etc.

    (and even after getting through that material, I still wouldn’t touch I.D., even if legally compelled, except maybe to say “all made up, next subject”.

  57. #57 CV
    January 28, 2009

    Wierd…Creationists come up with a book that dodges facts and uses old arguements…how unlike them.