A new theoretical and exegetical angle on the Bible and animal studies
According to Genesis, humans are made in God's image but animals are not. Hannah M. Strømmen challenges this view by critiquing the boundary between humans and animals in the Bible through the work of philosopher Jacques Derrida. Building on Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am, Strømmen brings to light significant moments where the lines between the divine, human, and animal are ambiguous in a rich range of biblical texts, from Noah as the first carnivorous man in Genesis 9 to Revelation's beasts.
A contribution to research on Jacques Derrida and deconstruction
An examination of Derrida's work on the human/animal boundary
Critical engagement with the way the Bible is frequently held up as a point of blame for anthropocentrism
UFOs and aliens, unexplained mysteries, religious cults, diffusion, creationism. We are all familiar with beliefs about human life that lie outside traditional scientific boundaries. Notions such as these are considered reasonable by vast numbers of us in the Western world, in our modern “technological” and “educated” cultures.
Understanding why this should be so and how we as a society might deal with these widespread pseudoscientific beliefs are the subjects at the heart of this study. The authors—specialists in anthropology, archaeology, sociology, psychology, and history—explore creationism, which claims that there is evidence to support a literal interpretation of the origins of the world and of humanity as narrated in the Book of Genesis, and cult archaeology, which encompasses a wide range of fantastic beliefs about our past.
Cult Archaeology and Creationism contains several essays on the history of pseudoscientific beliefs and their current manifestations as well as the results of a unique research project in which students at five campuses across the country were asked about their beliefs and about such background factors as their school experience and religious faith. This expanded edition also includes two new essays, one on Afrocentrism and another that views cult archaeology and creationism in the 1990s and beyond.
The Evidence for Evolution
Alan R. Rogers University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress QH361.R64 2011 | Dewey Decimal 576.8
According to polling data, most Americans doubt that evolution is a real phenomenon. And it’s no wonder that so many are skeptical: many of today’s biology courses and textbooks dwell on the mechanisms of evolution—natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow—but say little about the evidence that evolution happens at all. How do we know that species change? Has there really been enough time for evolution to operate?
With The Evidence for Evolution, Alan R. Rogers provides an elegant, straightforward text that details the evidence for evolution. Rogers covers different levels of evolution, from within-species changes, which are much less challenging to see and believe, to much larger ones, say, from fish to amphibian, or from land mammal to whale. For each case, he supplies numerous lines of evidence to illustrate the changes, including fossils, DNA, and radioactive isotopes. His comprehensive treatment stresses recent advances in knowledge but also recounts the give and take between skeptical scientists who first asked “how can we be sure” and then marshaled scientific evidence to attain certainty. The Evidence for Evolution is a valuable addition to the literature on evolution and will be essential to introductory courses in the life sciences.
Toumey focuses the tools of his discipline on a group whose distance from the twentieth-century American mainstream is measured not in decades or miles but rather in existential understandings about reality. Toumey studies both the national scientific creationism movement and the operation of a local creationist study group in his state's Research Triangle in the mid-1980s, seeking to understand the underlying beliefs--about morality, the Bible, science itself--that modern scientific creationism embodies, as well as the reasons this "system of cultural meanings" helps many conservative Christians "make sense of the realities, anxieties, changes, and uncertainties of life in the United States in the late twentieth century." A perceptive and respectful analysis by a nonbeliever
Tracing the growth of creationism in America as a political movement, this book explains why the particularly American phenomenon of anti-evolution has succeeded as a popular belief. Conceptualizing the history of creationism as a strategic public relations campaign, Edward Caudill examines why this movement has captured the imagination of the American public, from the explosive Scopes trial of 1925 to today's heated battles over public school curricula. Caudill shows how creationists have appealed to cultural values such as individual rights and admiration of the rebel spirit, thus spinning creationism as a viable, even preferable, alternative to evolution.
In particular, Caudill argues that the current anti-evolution campaign follows a template created by Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, the Scopes trial's primary combatants. Their celebrity status and dexterity with the press prefigured the Moral Majority's 1980s media blitz, more recent staunchly creationist politicians such as Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, and creationists' savvy use of the Internet and museums to publicize their cause. Drawing from trial transcripts, media sources, films, and archival documents, Intelligently Designed highlights the importance of historical myth in popular culture, religion, and politics and situates this nearly century-old debate in American cultural history.
Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.
Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky’s major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovsky’s book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writer’s career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and more—all of which have surprising connections to Velikovsky’s theories.
Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label “pseudoscientists”—as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.
No fight over what gets taught in American classrooms is more heated than the battle over humanity’s origins. For more than a century we have argued about evolutionary theory and creationism (and its successor theory, intelligent design), yet we seem no closer to a resolution than we were in Darwin’s day. In this thoughtful examination of how we teach origins, historian Adam Laats and philosopher Harvey Siegel offer crucial new ways to think not just about the evolution debate but how science and religion can make peace in the classroom.
Laats and Siegel agree with most scientists: creationism is flawed, as science. But, they argue, students who believe it nevertheless need to be accommodated in public school science classes. Scientific or not, creationism maintains an important role in American history and culture as a point of religious dissent, a sustained form of protest that has weathered a century of broad—and often dramatic—social changes. At the same time, evolutionary theory has become a critical building block of modern knowledge. The key to accommodating both viewpoints, they show, is to disentangle belief from knowledge. A student does not need to believe in evolution in order to understand its tenets and evidence, and in this way can be fully literate in modern scientific thought and still maintain contrary religious or cultural views. Altogether, Laats and Siegel offer the kind of level-headed analysis that is crucial to finding a way out of our culture-war deadlock.
Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) is an impassioned argument in favor of science—primarily the theory of evolution—and against creationism. Why impassioned? Should not scientists be dispassionate in their work? “Perhaps,” write the authors, “but it is impossible to remain neutral when our most successful scientific theories are under attack, for religious and other reasons, by laypeople and even some scientists who willfully distort scientific findings and use them for their own purposes.”
Focusing on what other books omit, how science works and how pseudoscience works, Matt Young and Paul K. Strode demonstrate the futility of “scientific” creationism. They debunk the notion of intelligent design and other arguments that show evolution could not have produced life in its present form.
Concluding with a frank discussion of science and religion, Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) argues that science by no means excludes religion, though it ought tocast doubt on certain religious claims that are contrary to known scientific fact.
Is Darwinian evolution established fact, or a dogma ready to be overtaken by "intelligent design"? This is the debate raging in courtrooms and classrooms across the country.
Why Intelligent Design Fails assembles a team of physicists, biologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, and archaeologists to examine intelligent design from a scientific perspective. They consistently find grandiose claims without merit.
Contributors take intelligent design's two most famous claims--irreducible complexity and information-based arguments--and show that neither challenges Darwinian evolution. They also discuss thermodynamics and self-organization; the ways human design is actually identified in fields such as forensic archaeology; how research in machine intelligence indicates that intelligence itself is the product of chance and necessity; and cosmological fine-tuning arguments.
Intelligent design turns out to be a scientific mistake, but a mistake whose details highlight the amazing power of Darwinian thinking and the wonders of a complex world without design.