Unfortunately I feel that the people who could benefit the most from this book, the ID proponents, are the least likely to actually read it. If anyone were to read this with an open mind I think they could see that Shermer successfully defuses the false dichotomy that an acceptance of evolution necessitates an atheist theology. I've never quite able to see how observations in the natural world could have any implications at all about things that are, by definition, outside the natural world. Personally I've always felt that trusting a theologian over a scientist to answer scientific questions is roughly akin to taking your social studies teacher's advice over you Science teacher when it comes to physics questions. Why do so many people have such a hard time making this distinction?
One minor frustration with the book is that Shermer seems to have written it as if this was the first time his target reader had even picked up any book on the issue. As such it is very well detailed and he does a good job of detailing evolution v intelligent design 101. As someone who has read all of Shermer's previous books and follows this debate pretty thoroughly, much of the material came across as a little bit remedial. However, if you are interested in getting a handle on this issue I think this book is very well done.
The most damning quote from the entire book came not from Dr. Shermer but from the judge in the
"Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.
To be sure,
The citizens of the
John E. Jones III
Now before you try to dismiss this guy as another "activist judge", keep in mind that he is a self-confessed evangelical Christian, a Republican and was appointed to the bench in 2002 by George W. Bush.
If you have any doubt at all as to the illegitimacy of intelligent design as science please read this book.