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Intelligent Thought

John Brockman, ed. (Random House, Inc.: 2006), 272 pages.

Writer and editor Brockman (What We Believe but Cannot Prove), who publishes the online magazine Edge, has assembled sixteen short essays by prominent scientists on current thinking about evolution. A few of the contributors, such as Jerry A. Coyne and Daniel C. Dennett, use close readings of Intelligent Design (ID) advocates’ claims to argue that ID is a political or ideological movement without scientific legitimacy. These arguments are concise and persuasive, if sometimes familiar; strong evidence and wide acceptance in the scientific community have made evolution central to biology and related branches. The most fresh and interesting essays essentially ignore ID to explore aspects of evolutionary biology, including paleontologist Tim D. White considering evidence for Homo sapiens’ evolution, psychologist Steven Pinker on the compatibility of evolution and ethics, and geologist Scott D. Sampson proposing primary science education that links evolution and ecology. As a whole, this sampler makes a powerful cross-discipline case for teaching evolution as an accepted biological consensus-as opposed to "teaching the debate"-and offers glimpses into how the science behind the theory continues to evolve in a range of fields. ~ Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

    • Intelligent design: the faith that dare not speak its name    3
    • The good fight    24
    • The hoax of intelligent design and how it was perpetrated    33
    • Consciousness: the Achilles heel of Darwinism? : thank God, not quite    50
    • Human evolution: the evidence    65
    • The "great" transition    82
    • Intelligent aliens    92
    • Why Darwin rejected intelligent design    107
    • Unintelligent design    126
    • Evolution and ethics    142
    • Darwinism all the way down    153
    • Intelligent design, science or not?    169
    • How smart is the universe?    179
    • Designing words    192
    • Parental guidance required    205
    • Evoliteracy    216
    • Appendix: Excerpt from the memorandum opinion of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, December 20, 2005    233