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Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate
by Tim M. Berra 
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful: This book is written for the non-scientist, and its brief length and heavy illustrations (fascinating ones) make it at times feel like a long article from a nature magazine. I read it in one sitting, and thought it ably covered the facts of evolution. The author makes no excuse for the fact that the fossil record is incomplete, and that much still needs to be learned about evolution. This book, for instance, was written before the recent discovery of a hominid skull in central Africa, which has lead paleontologists to believe that human life may not have originated along the Rift Valley, as previously believed. But, such additional discoveries hardly add credence to creationist claims; there is no significant discovery that has negated evolutionary theory. The facts have shifted, but never the theory. It is important to note, as the author does, that the majority of Christians don't deny evolution-- the Pope, for instance, says it's fine for Catholics to believe in evolution, as long as they believe that God inserted the immortal soul into humans at some point. Such adaptablility is refreshing -- and it would seem necessary. 39 of 57 people found the following review helpful: BEST INTRODUCTION FOR JUNIOR HIGH KIDS!, July 13, 2000
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful:A good, brief intro to the facts..., August 20, 2002
This book is written for the non-scientist, and its brief length and heavy illustrations (fascinating ones) make it at times feel like a long article from a nature magazine. I read it in one sitting, and thought it ably covered the facts of evolution. The author makes no excuse for the fact that the fossil record is incomplete, and that much still needs to be learned about evolution. This book, for instance, was written before the recent discovery of a hominid skull in central Africa, which has lead paleontologists to believe that human life may not have originated along the Rift Valley, as previously believed. But, such additional discoveries hardly add credence to creationist claims; there is no significant discovery that has negated evolutionary theory. The facts have shifted, but never the theory.
It is important to note, as the author does, that the majority of Christians don't deny evolution-- the Pope, for instance, says it's fine for Catholics to believe in evolution, as long as they believe that God inserted the immortal soul into humans at some point. Such adaptablility is refreshing -- and it would seem necessary.
39 of 57 people found the following review helpful:
BEST INTRODUCTION FOR JUNIOR HIGH KIDS!, July 13, 2000
Evolution and The Myth of Creationism explains its three related purposes: 1. To explain evolution to people who are genuinely confused by the claims of creationists, who try to pass fundamentalist christian beliefs as science. 2. Provide useful ammunition to the high school biology teacher or school board member who finds him or herself under attack by creationists. 3. To be a useful supplemental text for introductory college-level classes in biology, zoology, botany, or anthropology.
Tim Berra further explains that his book is blunt and to the point because "...scientists have, for too long, treated too lightly on the creationists, and have thereby fostered the impression that the creationists have a legitimate scientific voice. It is time for candor and clarity."
I would like to point out that in many instances, the fundamentalists pull quotes and distort them for their own purposes. To familiarize yourself with such tactics turn to the last section in the book - "Science, religion, politics, law and education." Here you'll read about a number of landmark cases and trials that show you that REASON does triumph. When you finish the book you'll understand that we may be living in the 21 st Century, but what we are going through is no different than what Christopher Columbus went through when the earth was thought to be flat.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste, March 20, 2006
Reviewer: Viewer in Mesa "Mesa ,AZ" (USA) - See all my reviews
I purchased this book two weeks ago. This is a very interesting book which outlines the scientific method step by step. The book also discounts the arguments presented by creationists. Dr. Berra's book is very insightful and shows the logical progression/evolution of all life on the planet earth. I am trained in the sciences and can not understand the illogical arguments put forth by the religious that everything was created by some supreme being in a short amount of time. Creationists also indicate that the earth is only 10,000 years old. Geological evidence indicates otherwise. The earth is actually around 4.5 billion years old. Scientific evidence (which is often ridiculed at by the many misguided creationist) and scientific methodology searches for the truth based on facts and not is not based on made up beliefs from a few hundred years ago that were written by people who were not scientists but religious priests who believed the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. The same type of logic is being promoted today by the religious and the creationist who base their argument on unfounded logic. The creationist only cloud and distort the truth and what is factual.
Many again may ridicule and say "evolution is a theory". It is theory, but it is based on scientific facts. Theory in science is always put forth as a "theory" because evidence is always coming in and theories are continually evolving, changing and becoming more precise. Scientist may disagree with the theory of evolution in terms of "fine points of contention" but not the general overall idea of the theory. (The supposed scientists who counter evolution are made up of engineers and such as indicated by Dr. Berra in his book). Is the bible and creationism a theory? No. Creationism is not based on testable scientific data (Evolution is based on physical evidence such as fossils, skeletal artifacts etc...). Creationism is based on a far fetched story that has no scientific creditability. The bible and creationism is not based on any scientific data. The bible and creationism is based purely on a far fetched story that was written down by a group of priests. People only believe in what is said in the bible because they were told it is true by their parents. It is a form of brainwashing really. People want to believe because it is a simplified answer to a complex concept. As an example in history....Galileo (b. 1564 and d. 1642) who was a astronomer/scientist proposed that the earth was not flat and that the earth orbited the sun (whereas it was promoted by the church that the earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around the earth...and of course the church supported the untruth that the earth was flat). The church persecuted, declared Galileo a heretic, ridiculed and imprisoned him for his "theory" that the earth wasn't flat and the earth revolved around the sun. It was in 1978 (not 1678, nor 1778, or 1878) about 350 years after Galileo proposed his "theories" before the Catholic Church finally admitted they were wrong for persecuting Galileo and apologized for their actions against him.
The church and religion along with Creationism has never been at the forefront of exploration to find the truth. They just want to keep everything kept a mystery and cloud the issue with stories that are unbelievable and ridiculous at best. That is why many people of religious thought get so angry and even hostile (hoping hostility will stop you from questioning the illogical)when someone of a sound scientific mind logically questions the hundreds of inconsistencies in the creationist view. They tell you "Well you just have to believe". Or "I know that I know that "HE" our supreme being is out there." This type of circular nonsense illogical thought seems to be the rule.
Science is all around you. Everything you touch and use has evolved. If you are gravely ill, do you take yourself or a loved one to the church to have them pray over you in a hope to cure your illness or do you go to the hospital to have professionals trained in medical science operate on you to try and cure your illness.
Science and Darwin's theory of evolution is based on logical, progressive thought that is a logical step by step progression. Creationism is all over the place with made up theories based on nothing. Much of the population wants an easy (easy button) answer and their theory of creationism is the easy answer that does not require too much thinking. The human species as a rule are very egotistical in such statements as "Man descended from apes and monkeys. This is hogwash. It can't be. It isn't and I won't accept it." Well, DNA evidence indicates that apes and chimpanzees have a genetic makeup that is 97.8% identical to humans. In terms of egos, people of the religious persuasion also exhibit their egos by saying such things as "God saved me from that disaster. My neighbor John Doe and his wife were killed along with their children, but god saved me. It's a miracle." Does this kind of thinking that god saved you while others perished a stroking of one's ego. What someone is saying is that god saw fit to save them because they are special, but everyone else (including John Doe )who died or were maimed must not be worthy to be saved, but "I" was saved and have been because God saw fit to save me. "God works in mysterious ways." There's some egotistical thought processing going on here. Big stroke of the ego. Creationists always fault science with not having all the answers, it is true, but it has some of the answers. Creationism has none of the answers. Having only some of the answers do not prove science is wrong. It takes time and effort to discover the truth (just like investigating a murder or crime--evidence needs to be gathered).
Creationism is medieval thinking and will be viewed as such in the future just as those who believed that the earth was flat (creationist and religious view back in Galileo's time) and that the sun and all other planets in our tiny miniscule solar system revolved around the earth (creationist and religious view again). Science will prevail and people will look back a hundred years from now and not understand how the majority of the population was so ignorant and obviously duped by such inconsistent and illogical thinking.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
The Case Against "Scientific " Creationism , June 6, 2005
As applied to Scientific Creationism, "Scientific" is a misnomer. In order to qualify as science, first , data is gathered. A "Hypothesis" based on the data is formulated. The hypothesis is tested and results are published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The hypothesis, if it passes muster so far, is subjected to retesting by other scientists with verification of the results. The hypothesis describes "how" a process works, but says nothing about "why." A "Theory" may eventually be developed which explains "why", and has a stronger meaning in science than the usual dictionary definition. To become a theory indicates general acceptance by the scientific community, may be the end result of decades or even centuries of groundwork, and is always susceptible to modification or even rejection if new data demands it. This is the scientific method that helped to bring us out of the Dark Ages. Any theory that is not subjected to these procedures does not belong in science class.
Research for Scientific Creationism consists of careful perusal of the scientific literature, hoping to isolate quotes, ideas, or disagreements amongst scientists which can then be misinterpreted to support Creationist arguments. This is not hypothesis testing. There is no testing in Creationism, but then religion is supposed to be about faith, whereas science is about evidence.
Berra gives us several chapters outlining the very basics of evolution. Starting on page 126, he lists 16 assertions that Creationists hang their hat on, which are contradictory to basic sciences in geology, physics, biology, or chemistry. These are given in only a sentence or two, and Berra's rebuttals are almost as brief. He has a chapter about the politics of this sad situation, all in very blunt prose, not mincing words.
Fortunately, Scientific Creationism's assertions are easily dealt with and you don't have to be a serious scholar to be convinced. Unfortunately, about the time Berra wrote this great little book, a new tactic arose called Intelligent Design. Briefly, the most liberal brand of the ID movement accepts a 4.5 billion year old earth and most of evolution, as the way God created man...however, at some unspecified crossroads in evolution, an unidentified "designer" intervened. This "had to be" because certain aspects of biochemistry/the eye/the flagellum are "irreducibly complex."
The spectrum of ID belief runs the gamut of belief from close to Scientific Creationism to close to complete belief in all of evolution, beginnings of life from primordial sludge and the Big Bang. For the more liberal versions, there are perhaps 5 times as many who would vote for the concept to be taught alongside evolution in high school as there were for Scientific Creationism. This is sort of OK with a lot of the more conservative IDers because it gives them a "wedge" of entry. Later on, the agenda can be broadened to exclude "materialistic and sinful" theories such as evolution from the curriculum altogether. Willingness to obtain by legislation, judicial decree, or the sword that which cannot be obtained by evangelism has a long history within our species.
Back to the book, it is excellent. It is without peer for its day, due to its brevity & clarity, but it needs an update. I urge Dr. Berra to write an up to date version, edited to satisfy some of the complaints in these reviews, and to give the major portion of the book over to rebuttal of Intelligent Design. The chameleon has undergone a transformation and needs to be slapped back down again.
Tim M. Berra (Biography)
Tim Berra is the author of the 1990 book, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism. Dr. Tim M. Berra is Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University. He is a two-time Fulbright Fellow, and after retirement has pursued his special interests in the zoology of Australia, often on grant from the National Geographic Society.
Berra's book was the result of his having been asked to help local curriculum writers create a mandated curriculum to include all the science that demonstrated creationism. The writers had been unable to find science journal articles explaining the evidence for creationism. Berra pointed out that such articles do not exist. The book describes, for policy makers, why politics cannot mandate science that cannot be done. It is notable for a point-by-point rebuttal to chief claims of creationism.