Another blow against creationists and that recent coinage, ""creation science."" Futuyma, an evolutionary biologist and...

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SCIENCE ON TRIAL: The Case for Evolution

Another blow against creationists and that recent coinage, ""creation science."" Futuyma, an evolutionary biologist and editor of the professional journal, Evolution, presents lucid, multi-faceted arguments to counter Fundamentalist belief in special creation, the youthfulness of Earth, and the post-Flood creation of all the world's languages. From geology, Futuyma cites the radioactive evidence for the absolute antiquity of the planet and uses continental drift to explain why, for example, there are marsupials on Australia or species common to South America and Africa. From biochemistry, he borrows the amino-acid sequencing argument to demonstrate protein similarities between species that have separated recently, as opposed to more ancestral forms. And of course from Darwin, from Mayr, Simpson, Dozhansky, and younger contemporaries, he presents details drawn from the fossil record, from embryology, genetics, cell biology, and population studies that validate evolutionary theory. Design and purpose are clearly not demonstrated by our vestigial wisdom teeth, he observes, or such nonadaptive features as the peacock's tail. The book's second half deals with chance and mutation, scientific knowledge (the current status of neo-Darwinian theory), and creationist arguments (iterating what has been treated in passing). Futuyma concludes with summations in defense of evolutionary theory and attacks on its perversion--in Social Darwinism or creationism. Philip Kitcher's no less commendable Abusing Science (p. 845) attends to the tactics and rhetoric of the antievolutionists, and generally approaches the issue on a more philosophical level. Both books are emphatic and effective--and will well serve students or the lay public.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 1982

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1982