Re: [asa] Reviews of Francisco Ayala's new book

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 09:43:05 EDT

On Jul 14, 2008, at 10:30 AM, Ted Davis wrote:

> The latest issue of "Theology and Science" (May 2008) has several
> reviews of
> Francisco Ayala's new book, "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion,"
> by a
> wide range of reviewers (relative to point of view). I commend
> editors Ted
> Peters and Robert Russell for having such a range of opinions.
> Reviewers
> include ID advocates (Dembski, Behe), former ASA newsletter editor
> Walt
> Hearn, atheist (of the Dawkins type) Susan Blackmore, and others. I
> found
> the most helpful/thoughtful review to be that of Joshua Moritz, a grad
> student at CTNS.
>
> Overall, my sense from the reviews is that Ayala's book is very
> shallow
> theologically (for its facile bifurcation a la Stephen Gould and for
> his
> view that Darwin solved the theodicy problem), that it misrepresents
> ID on
> some key points, and that if Ayala has any religious faith himself
> it's
> pretty well hidden from view. That does not sound like a strong
> recommendation for his book, and it isn't.
>
> Ted

I'll respond with a full-throated recommendation of an alternative and
that's Miller's book Only a Theory. Miller takes on Gould's
ateleological idea concerning "replaying the tape" through discussing
convergent evolution. In my opinion, if ID really wants a fruitful
research program this would seem to be a good place to start.
According to science blogger, Greg Laden, a recent phylogenetic
analysis of birds also is a blow to Gould here. (The analysis was too
dense for me to follow, though.) Miller also gives ID a fair hearing
by using his words taking them seriously. Finally, he is not cryptic
about his faith. For every weakness Ayala apparently has, Miller has a
commensurate strength.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Jul 15 09:44:08 2008

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