Sunday, July 12, 2009

Review: Why Darwin Matters:The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer

book 3 out of 5 for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge
genre: science/non-fiction
rating: 4/5

I have come to the conclusion that the subtitle should actually be the title of this book. Sometimes I felt like I was in court and Intelligent Design was the defendant - Shermer's purpose was to lay down the facts regarding evolution is such a way as to explain why Intelligent Design is a scientific impossibility. Or, the fact that, in his opinion, Intelligent Design is not scientific at all.

I rarely read books that are so thoroughly scientific. I'm not going to lie: sometimes I had to skim over the most in-depth parts about RNA and mitochondria and the more nitty gritty aspects of evolutionary theory. But there was much that was interesting about studies that have been done and anecdotal stories about evolutionary science - these were very accessibly written. I feel like I now have a sense for what both sides of the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate assert and that I'm more able to have an informed discussion about the topic.

I liked how the book was set-up, the chapter headings and sub-headings really guided my reading and often answered questions that came up as I read, especially this: is it possible to reconcile a faith in God as a supreme being/creator and knowledge of evolutionary theory? He goes into this in depth, obviously, as he separates the theory of evolution from theological discourse. I appreciated that he acknowledged that yes, it is totally possible to be reconciled to both - but I also felt, and this bothered me, that he tended to be condescending regarding those who DID believe in Intelligent Design. Actually, the whole tone of the book felt a bit condescending to me - and even though he presents an excellent case and I don't even disagree with his point - I just wish he'd been less patronizing.

This book got me thinking, that's for sure. I can't pretend this is the perfect summer beach read or that everyone will want to pick it up, but it helped me use my brain for a while, got me to sort through how I feel about a multitude of issues and for the most part, it did entertain me. So, take from that what you will.


bermudaonion said...

I don't think this is the book for me.

Anna said...

I agree with Kathy, but I'm glad that you were able to take something from it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Kari said...

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you about this book and why you found his tone condescending.

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