Recommended Books

Recommended Books

“Finding Darwin’s God” – Kenneth L. Miller “The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe(s) Report” – Timothy Ferris
“Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism”
– Robert T. Pennock
“Charles Darwin and Evolution” – Steve Parker
“The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”
– Carl Sagan
“Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction” – Milford H. Wolpoff, with Rachel Caspari
“Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and
Other Confusions of Our Time” – Michael Shermer,
Foreword – Stephen J. Gould
“Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science”
– Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont

“Finding Darwin’s God” – Kenneth L. Miller

“Biologist, textbook author and practicing Catholic Kenneth Miller offers a thoughtful, cutting-edge analysis of the key issues that seem to divide science and religion. As his narrative shows, the difficulties that evolution presents for Western religions are more apparent than real. Properly understood, evolution adds depth and meaning not only to a strictly scientific view of the world, but also to a spiritual one. Miller’s resolution of the issues that seem to divide God from evolution will serve as a guide to anyone interested in the classic questions of ultimate meaning and human origins.”–BOOK JACKET.   

“Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism”- Robert T. Pennock

Review from Eugenie C. Scott in Scientific American: “…Neatly exposes the creationist roots of intelligent-design theory….Pennock systematically reveals the philosophical problems inherent in intelligent-design creationism….Certainly there are legal and scientific problems with the teaching of intelligent-design creationism. But perhaps of most concern, it misrepresents science as an inherently antireligious enterprise, and evolution as the first step down this slippery slope. This is no way to improve science literacy in America.”

“The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” – Carl Sagan

.Are we on the brink of a new Dark Age of irrationality and superstition? In this stirring, brilliantly argued book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Dragons of Eden” and “Cosmos” shows how scientific thinking can cut through prejudice and hysteria and uncover the truth, and how it is necessary to safeguard our democratic institutions and our technical civilization.

“Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Supersition, and Other Confusions of Our Time” – Michael Shermer, Foreword by Stephen J. Gould

In league with Carl Sagan, who touted the scientific method as baloney detector, and with foreword author Stephen Jay Gould (on “The Positive Power of Skepticism”), the Skeptics Society director draws on Skeptic magazine essays to deconstruct the pseudoscience of creationism, recovered memories, and UFOs as well as the pseudohistory spewed by Holocaust deniers. Cogita tute, think for yourself, despite a mind evolved to discern causal patterns lurking everywhere.

“The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe(s) Report” – Timothy Ferris

Review by Milo Miles: How can science nail down how the universe was created from nothing when no one can define exactly what “nothing” is? The Whole Shebang argues that living with paradox and obviously incomplete knowledge is the beginning of future wisdom, although the edginess of that conclusion leads to the loose God-talk that floats around cosmology today. A highlight of The Whole Shebang is Ferris’ “Contrarian Theological Afterward,” in which he discusses propositions for the existence of God. I won’t give away his own line of reasoning, but it’s sharp enough that I’ll remember it if anyone asks me.

Charles Darwin and Evolution – Steve Parker

From School Library Journal: Gr 5-9– A brief overview of the scientist’s work and ideas that were formed by his research, especially the painstaking observations made on his around-the-world voyage on the HMS Beagle, and by the writings of thinkers such as Thomas Malthus. Parker relates Darwin’s work to that of other naturalists in the main text and places it in the context of other scientific, political, and artistic events and explorations in his lifetime through the use of a time line. The last double-page chapter describes the work of Gregor Mendel in genetics and the development of neo-Darwinism, which adds the latest DNA research to the work of these two men to form the more complete theory of evolution in use today. The illustrations, mostly full-color photographs and a few drawings, help to explain some concepts, such as the formation of a coral atoll, and contribute to the book’s attractiveness.
–Margaret M. Hagel, Norfolk Public Library System, VA

“Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction” by Milford H. Wolpoff, with Rachel Caspari

Synopsis:  The authors present this “volume on the history and diversity of our species that . . . examines major interpretations of race in terms of fossils and genetics. . . . The authors maintain that our single species, with its worldwide variation and dynamic populations, has a long prehistory of genetic exchange and regional continuity. Special attention is given to the earlier theories of such anthropologists as Ernest A. Hooton, Ernest Haeckel, Gustav Schwable, Carleton S. Coon, and especially Franz Weidenreich. {In an aim} to demonstrate both early modernity and human diversity, Wolpoff and Caspari focus on the Krapina and Vindija Neandertal fossil collections from Croatia as well as specimens from Klasies in South Africa and the Levant sites in western Asia.” (Libr J) Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

“Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science” by Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont

In a witty and closely reasoned argument, the authors thoroughly document the misuse of scientific concepts in the writings of some of the most fashionable contemporary intellectual icons. From Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva to Luce Irigaray and Jean Baudrillard, the authors demonstrate the errors made by some postmodernists in their attempts to use science to illustrate and support their arguments. More generally, Sokal and Bricmont challenge the notion–held in some form by many thinkers in a range of academic fields–that scientific theories are mere “narratives” or social constructions.

At once provocative and measured, Fashionable Nonsense explores the crucial question of what science is and is not, and suggests both the abilities and the limits of science to describe the conditions of existence.