Why Darwin Matters: The Case against Intelligent Design

By Sutton, Geoffrey W. | Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Why Darwin Matters: The Case against Intelligent Design


Sutton, Geoffrey W., Journal of Psychology and Christianity


WHY DARWIN MATTEES: THE CASE AGAINST INTELLIGENT DESIGN, Michael Shermer. New York: Henry Holt, 2006. Pp. 199. $13-00. Pb. Reviewed by Geoffrey W. Sutton (Evangel University/Springfield, MO).

"I became a creationist shortly after I became a born-again evangelical Christian in high school ..." (p. xx). Shermer reviews his educational journey from undergraduate psychology at Pep perdine to a master's degree in experimental psychology at California State University (Fullerton) as if to establish his scientific credentials before launching into a methodological review of the problems with the ideas presented by proponents of Intelligent, Design (ID). Those interested in the integration of Christian faith and science will find this a quick and useful review of the major points involved in the evolution-ID controversy that has primarily involved biologists perhaps because the evolutionary psychology sections of various textbooks within our discipline are beneath the radar screen of ID proponents. The book is organized into nine chapters (153 pages) followed by brief end sections for an epilogue, coda, and an Appendix, Shermer provides an extensive notes section (pp. 169-184) followed by a brief bibliography, acknowledgements, and an ample index.

The first chapter adumbrates the basic theory of the Origin of Species followed by five principles (e.g., descent with modification) discovered since Darwin, which the author attributed to Ernst Mayr. In chapter two, Shermer identifies and responds to five reasons people resist evolution (e.g., fear that evolution degrades our humanity). "Why do you believe in God?" is the question leading to a discussion of God qua designer. Shermer cites data front a recent study that identifies the seven strongest predictors of belief in God (e.g., parents' religiosity, lower levels of education). At this point I wondered if he were suggesting that intelligent people must reject various beliefs if they do not wish LO be considered uneducated.

In chapter four, Shermer presents the Evolution-ID debate as he has come to know the crucial points that either side makes in the public forum. This section is quite detailed with lists of various lengths, which the author employs to methodically address each thrust and parry. …

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