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For the Rock Record

Geologists on Intelligent Design

Jill S. Schneiderman Ph.D

Publication Year: 2009

According to the idea of intelligent design, nature's complexity is the result of deliberate planning by a supernatural creative force. To date, most scientific arguments against this form of creationism have been made by evolutionary biologists. In this volume, a team of earth scientists reveals that the flaws of intelligent design are not limited to the biological sciences. Indeed, the geological sciences offer some of the best refutations of intelligent design arguements. For the Rock Record is dedicated to the proposition that the idea of intelligent design should be of serious concern to everyone. Editors Jill S. Schneiderman and Warren D. Allmon have gathered leading figures from the geological community with a wide range of viewpoints that go to the heart of the debate over what is and is not science. The purveyors of intelligent design theories and its kindred philosophies threaten the scientific literacy that our society needs by confusing faith and the practice of science. This collection offers a much-needed response.

Published by: University of California Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-8

...judge William R. Overton offered a detailed definition of science as distinct from religion. His argument seemed to us so clear and convincing we assigned it to the undergraduates in the lab sections we both taught in a course called The History of the Earth and of Life. The decision seemed destined to remove from the purview of science classrooms all discussion of the role of a divine creator in historical...

Part One: Rocks and Bones

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one · Charles Darwin Was a Geologist

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pp. 11-20

...The Earth’s fossil record registers the changes in life on this planet over time; similarly, the Earth’s rock record preserves complex structures that record the changes in rocks and minerals over time. Consequently, all the aspects of living things that trouble intelligent design (ID) creationists—their complexity and what seem to be the abundant traces of long and contingent evolutionary change—also...

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two · Creationist Perspectiveson Geology

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pp. 21-38

...an old Earth with a complex history had been widely accepted among Christians. The threat that this alternate theory of origins posed to theism did not spill over quickly into geology, and even many antievolution preachers supported a harmony between the book of Genesis and long geological ages. Two prominent, competing...

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three · Missing Links Found

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pp. 39-58

...The books of the intelligent design (ID) creationists are fi lled with examples and critiques of evolution from a biological or philosophical perspective, but they pointedly avoid discussing the fossil record or its implications. The longest and most widely read ID book (Behe 1996, p. 27) mentions paleontology only in a few paragraphs (focusing mostly on a common misinterpretation of the Cambrian...

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four · Pigeonholing the “Dino-birds”

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pp. 59-74

...One of the central claims of the intelligent design movement is that certain features of biological organisms are “irreducibly complex,” with such tightly integrated components that removal of any one part renders the system incapable of functioning (Behe 1996). The existence of irreducibly complex structures has been repeatedly put forth as evidence against evolution via natural selection, on...

Part Two: Education, Politics, and Philosophy

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five · Pangloss, Paley, and the Privileged Planet

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pp. 77-92

...When our ’85 Vanagon broke down not far from our house during the summer of 2006, I didn’t expect it to lead to a discussion about intelligent design (ID). Believing the problem to be the fuel pump and hoping for a quick fix, I called for a tow to the only nearby VW shop open on Saturdays. Not five minutes after picking me up, the tow-truck driver brought up the topic of intelligent design. He had...

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six · It’s Not about the Evidence

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pp. 93-116

...Scientific and religious accounts of human origins are founded on very different philosophical approaches to knowledge. In particular, the apparent conflicts between science and religion with respect to human evolution owe their origin to the different roles that metaphysics plays in the two approaches to knowledge and to understanding what it means to be human. At their most divergent, these perspectives...

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seven · The Misguided Attack on Methodological Naturalism

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pp. 117-140

...Recent efforts by antievolutionary advocates have focused not so much on science content but on changing the defi nition of science itself. These efforts are expressions of widely held misunderstandings of the nature and limitations of science. Science is a methodology that provides a limited, but very fruitful, way of knowing about the natural world. This method works only if science confi nes itself to the...

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eight · On the Origin of Species andthe Limits of Science

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pp. 141-160

...Currently the United States is home to a small but mobilized grassroots effort to have the model of intelligent design (ID) integrated into public school science curricula. What might seem strange is that many of the leading advocates for ID are well aware that by most current definitions, ID does not qualify as science (CSC Top Questions). Many ID advocates admit that their methods and conclusions go beyond what are conventionally accepted as the...

Part Three: On Religion

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nine · Teaching Evolution during the Week and Bible Study on Sunday

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pp. 163-179

...I am a geologist who has spent her thirty-year career studying the evolution of fossil molluscs (clams and snails) preserved in sediments up to 80 million years old from the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts. My knowledge of the fossil record in general, and my own paleontological research in particular, has convinced me that life has evolved through time. For instance, I discovered gradual increases in shell thickness over several million years within a number of mollusc fossil species preserved in sediments along the west shore of the Chesapeake...

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ten · The “God Spectrum” and theUneven Search for a ConsistentView of the Natural World

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pp. 180-240

...There was a time not so long ago when scientists did not take creationism seriously. As copiously demonstrated, however, in the flood of recent scientific critiques of intelligent design (ID), including in the other chapters of this volume, this is no longer the case. These responses have exhaustively demonstrated that creationism, including ID, isn’t science; it’s religion. And for most scientists, the task stops there. Yet for the great majority of the nonscientific public, this is just the beginning. For most people whose lives are primarily occupied...

Selected Resources Relevant to Intelligent Design

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pp. 241-246

About the Contributors

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pp. 247-250


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pp. 251-262

E-ISBN-13: 9780520943711
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520257580

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2009

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Evolutionary paleobiology.
  • Historical geology.
  • Earth -- Origin.
  • Intelligent design (Teleology).
  • Creation.
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