The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution,

The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA A compelling eyewitness account of the recent courtroom drama in Dover, Pennsylvania that put evolution on trial Journalist Gordy Slack offers a riveting, personal, and often amusing first hand account that details six weeks of some of the most widely ranging, fascinating, and just plain surreal testimony in US legal history a battle between hard science and religious conservatives wishing to promote a new version of creationism in schoolsDuring the Kitzmiller vs Dover Areas School Board trial, the members of the local school board defended their decision to require teachers to present intelligent design alongside evolution as an explanation for the origins and diversity of life on earth The trial revealed much than a disagreement about how to approach science education It showed two essentially different and conflicting views of the world and the lengths some people will go to promote their own The ruling by George W Bush appointed Judge John Jones III was unexpected in its stridency Not only did he conclude that intelligent design was religion and not science and therefore had no place in a science classroom, he scolded the school board for wasting public time and moneyA sophisticated examination of the deep cultural, religious, and political tensions that continue to divide America, The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything is also journalist Gordy Slack s personal and engaging story of the high drama and unforgettable characters on both sides of the courtroom controversy Gordy Slack Oakland, CA has been writing about science and evolutionary biology foryears He is a regular commentator on KQED, an affiliate of NPR, and his articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Salon, Wired, California Wild, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications Can t say this was very enlightening, or enjoyable It really kind of dragged and I had a lot of trouble really caring about the outcome Kind of a tempest in a teapot kind of a read to me Maybe I missed something I ll be interested to see what the rest of the book club thought of it I m glad I finished it and am on to the next book. I almost stopped reading this book because of a couple of early grammatical errors that just about put me off of the entire book Marshal law and low and behold Really But because this trial fascinates me, I forged ahead, and I m glad I did The trial chronicled here is the Kitzmiller v Dover trial, in which the local school board tried to sneak the teaching of intelligent design into its science curriculum Several concerned parents were not pleased with this, and it resulted in this epi I almost stopped reading this book because of a couple of early grammatical errors that just about put me off of the entire book Marshal law and low and behold Really But because this trial fascinates me, I forged ahead, and I m glad I did The trial chronicled here is the Kitzmiller v Dover trial, in which the local school board tried to sneak the teaching of intelligent design into its science curriculum Several concerned parents were not pleased with this, and it resulted in this epic trial pitting ID creationism against evolution and science The judge s ruling never fails to hearten me, especially because Judge John Jones III is a Republican and a George W Bush appointee He doesn t just rule in the plaintiffs favor he absolutely skewers the defense, the board members who tried to introduce ID to the curriculum, and ID itself It is not science, he states in his ruling My next order of business is to see if I can find his 139 page ruling online, because I think I would enjoy reading it in full True story a few years ago, when I first read about this trial, I found Judge Jones s address at the courthouse and send him a fan letter, thanking him for his decision I wasn t a fan of the author s writing style It was a little too casual and personal, which made sense when I read that he was covering the trial for Salon.com I stopped reading that website some time ago for that reason, along with the frequent grammatical errors I found I m a stickler that way However, he redeemed himself with his proper use of toe the line, and the book was worth it for reading about the jubilation in the law offices of Pepper Hamilton when the verdict was released and they realized they had won a resounding victory And this really was a victory that had profound implications all across the country It effectively put a stop to the encroaching intelligent design movement There are still efforts to push it, but Judge Jones s ruling will have a dampening effect for many years to come It wasn t just a victory for the plaintiffs in Pennsylvania it was a victory for science and those of us who love it Cheers to Judge Jones We all need to fight against the teaching of this non science in the science classroom For a much better book on the subject, I recommend Monkey Girl by Edward Humes It takes a muchscholarly, subjective approach to the events of the trial I also recommend the PBS special about it, Judgment Day Intelligent Design on Trial, available at PBS.org and on YouTube Although I was a bit disappointed in this book, the subject matter remains fascinating to me, and I enjoy reading about it This is the history of a 2005 court case in Pennsylvania involving the introduction of intelligent design ID to a local high school s science curriculum The author is a journalist and science writer who covered the case first hand I really liked this The prose is enjoyable and the pace is swift Best of all, the author s experience as a science writer enables him to explain the complicated biological evidence presented during the trial in an approachable and easily understood way.This book This is the history of a 2005 court case in Pennsylvania involving the introduction of intelligent design ID to a local high school s science curriculum The author is a journalist and science writer who covered the case first hand I really liked this The prose is enjoyable and the pace is swift Best of all, the author s experience as a science writer enables him to explain the complicated biological evidence presented during the trial in an approachable and easily understood way.This book is good for anyone who has heard about the recent challenges the new brand of creationism, labeled intelligent design , has made against evolutionary biology specifically and methodological materialism generally, but has not read much on the controversy ID claims to address the gaps in the evolutionary record by scientific means, but when put to the test, as it was during this trial, ID fails miserably As science, ID is poor at best It is essentially a negative hypothesis that is neither falsifiable or provides conclusions that can be independently tested Further, it points to a supernatural source as a primary cause of life The supernatural, obviously, is beyond the realm of science for the reasons stated above Upon closer examination, the proponents of ID really seem to be making arguments from incredulity and subjective conclusions e.g It looks like something designed this, therefore something did The book also illustrates how, over the course of the trial, the religious roots of ID and the religious motivation in bringing it to the school were laid bare This claim was denied by those who introduced the ID curriculum despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary However, several witnesses exposed how the founders of the ID movement have made it clear at the outset of the movement that their motivation was to introduce the Christian interpretation of the origin of life i.e creationism into schools to discredit the materialist world view promoted by Darwinism.This is a great book if you are interested about learning about this particular theater of the culture war Several times I found myself liking then hating the author, so he must have struck a chord with me First I have become interested in ID over the last 10 years so I am always interested in a fresh perspective I bought this book knowing I might not agree with the author but that was intentional To start with I was very pleased when Mr Slack admitted his prejudice in this affair, that he is an atheist and even if evolution was proved incorrect he would still have faith that there is a natural Several times I found myself liking then hating the author, so he must have struck a chord with me First I have become interested in ID over the last 10 years so I am always interested in a fresh perspective I bought this book knowing I might not agree with the author but that was intentional To start with I was very pleased when Mr Slack admitted his prejudice in this affair, that he is an atheist and even if evolution was proved incorrect he would still have faith that there is a naturalistic explanation for everything, we just haven t found it yet.The setting of the book is the Dover School Board trial in 2005, where members of the board were sued after introducing a one page statement to be read at the beginning of freshman biology to the effect that evolution does not answer all the questions about the origin of life and that students may findinformation in the reference section of the library, specifically in Of Pandas and People.We learn how badly the case was botched by the Board s defense team with a lot of help from board members who lied under oath and how the Judge then ruled beyond the fact that the Board was doing this to impose their religious view, which they were, but that Intelligent Design was not science I agree with the author and the judge on the first point but have trouble with the second, and there is where the authors pointed prejudice most bothered me.there is a real interesting part where we meet a fellow journalist from Italy covering the case His perspective was most illuminating in that while he did believe in natural selection but also thought that the evangelical movement in the US was doing so much good in protecting the country and even the world from the slide into humanism that he sees in his own country that you feel is routing for the IDersSlack, by the way believes Christians of all types are destroying the world and evangelicals are just the worst of the group.Oh well, it is a good book for conversation starters, but best be with friends who can debate without rancor

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