Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review - Science, Evolution, and Creationism by The National Academy of Sciences and The Institute of Medicine

Short review: Evolution is science. Creationism is not.

Evolution's true
Creationism is bunk
Laid out quite clearly

Full review: Although it is only seventy pages long, Science, Evolution, and Creationism packs a substantial intellectual punch in its handful of pages. Published by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, the committee responsible for writing and revising this volume is replete with experts in almost every field of science (including Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of my personal favorite public advocates for science education) and the academic weight they give to the project shows through in the finished project. Intended as a basic guide to what science is, why the theory of evolution by natural selection is well-grounded and thus far uncontested science, and why creationism is decidedly not science and has no place in a science classroom, this book delivers on these promises quite handily.

The book is divided into three main chapters plus a brief conclusion. In the first, the basic elements of science are described and theory of evolution by natural selection is explained. In the second chapter, the compelling evidence in favor of the theory of evolution by natural selection is presented. In the third, the creationist "explanations", including the theory of intelligent design, are reviewed, and the fundamental flaws in them are detailed. The chapter also explains why creationism is simply not science, has no place in the science classroom, and includes a very brief overview of some of the legal decisions supporting this view. Finally, in the conclusion, the authors reiterate that science should be taught in science classes, and religious based views should not.

Science, Evolution, and Creationism is an excellent primer on the difference between actual science and creationism. Presented in a straightforward and easy to read way, the book presents the basic facts of what, inside the scientific community is a non controversy (despite what lunatic creationists would claim), and skewers the wild and inaccurate claims of those who advocate teaching superstitious nonsense to children in the form of creationist myths. For anyone who is interested in a clear, concise, and quite accessible account of what science is, why evolution is science and why creationism is not, this is the perfect place to start.

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