Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Narquizian, Paul
Pub Date: 11/01/2009
Publication: Name: The American Biology Teacher Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 National Association of Biology Teachers ISSN: 0002-7685
Issue: Date: Nov-Dec, 2009 Source Volume: 71 Source Issue: 9
Topic: NamedWork: Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Foster, John Bellamy; Clark, Brett; York, Richard
Accession Number: 246348920
Full Text: Critique of Intelligent Design: Materialism versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present. By John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York. 2008. Monthly Review Press. (ISBN 9781583671733). 240 pp. Paperback. $15.95.


With so much focus on Charles Darwin's 200th birthday this year, the topic of evolution and intelligent design has taken on a greater meaning in both science classrooms and school districts across the nation. Critique of Intelligent Design provides educators and policy makers alike with a historical background of "the intelligent design movement, which arose in the United States in the 1990s and quickly obtained headlines through its challenge to the teaching of evolution in public schools, as the outgrowth of a 2,500-year critique of materialism dating back to the ancient Greeks." John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York provide the reader with a "brief account of the 2,500-year materialist critique of intelligent design (creationism) out of which the modern scientific worldview emerged." Of special importance are the recent court decisions "viewing the intelligent design claims to science as little more than traditional creationist 'God of the gaps' arguments which violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution."

In Critique of Intelligent Design, the reader is led on a path of discovery on the "evolution" of the materialist critique--the explanation of the world in terms of itself--from antiquity to the present through engaging in the works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Lucretius, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, David Hume, William Paley, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Stephen Jay Gould, and numerous others (including modern-day advocates of intelligent design). The central thesis of the book deals with the "tension" between nature, science, history, morality, and knowledge. Along with addressing issues like the design debate in antiquity, the Enlightenment and natural theology, and current scientific debates over evolution and design, Foster, Clark, and York offer key components to understanding and defending critical and scientific reasoning in both the natural and social sciences. While other specialized books of this type exist for those in the fields of science, philosophy/theology, and law, this book clearly explains to the expert and layperson alike, the past and current debates on evolution and intelligent design and their importance to society as a whole.

This is a fascinating and very well organized book which provides the reader with a contextual understanding and historical appreciation of the nature of science and its importance to past, current, and future debates on scientific pursuits such as evolution and those which are considered to be pseudoscientific; namely intelligent design (creationism). Critique of Intelligent Design is a wonderful resource which provides students and teachers of science alike the opportunity to appreciate the history and philosophy of scientific discourse. It would be an extremely welcome addition to a classroom or library bookshelf.

Dr. Paul Narguizian

Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

College of Natural & Social Sciences

California State University, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA 90032-8201
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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