The Case Against Creationism
224 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: July 23, 1982
- Published: June 23, 1983
Abusing Science is a manual for intellectual self-defense, the most complete available for presenting the case against Creationist pseudo-science. It is also a lucid exposition of the nature and methods of genuine science. The book begins with a concise introduction to evolutionary theory for non-scientists and closes with a rebuttal of the charge that this theory undermines religious and moral values. It will astonish many readers that this case must still be made in the 1980s, but since it must, Philip Kitcher makes it irresistibly and forcefully.
Not long ago, a federal court struck down an Arkansas law requiring that "scientific" Creationism be taught in high school science classes. Contemporary Creationists may have lost one legal battle, but their cause continues to thrive. Their efforts are directed not only at state legislatures but at local school boards and textbook publishers. As Kitcher argues in this rigorous but highly readable book, the integrity of science is under attack. The methods of inquiry used in evolutionary biology are those which are used throughout the sciences. Moreover, modern biology is intertwined with other fields of science—physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology. Creationists hope to persuade the public that education in science should be torn apart to make room for a literal reading of Genesis.
Abusing Science refutes the popular complaint that the scientific establishment is dogmatic and intolerant, denying "academic freedom" to the unorthodox. It examines Creationist claims seriously and systematically, one by one, showing clearly just why they are at best misguided, at worst ludicrous.
A marvelously lucid summary of the evidence for evolution and the overwhelming case against its enemies.... As a philosopher concerned with the way science operates, Kitcher is good at showing how creationists distort Karl Popper's views on scientific method, and how they misuse such books as Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He is equally skillful at showing how creationists persist in quoting out of context Stephen Jay Gould and other 'punctuationists'...
Such outfits as the Moral Majority and the Institute for Creation Research seem to have inherited the hot air waves, if not the wind. And this has alarmed Philip Kitcher, a philosopher of science at the University of Vermont, enough to give us this thoughtful and witty attack on 'scientific creationism'...Dr. Kitcher has mixed a great deal of cold logic and history into his case, thereby creating a book that is as valuable as it is fun to read for scientists and nonscientists alike.
James P. Sterba
The New York Times
With his book, Abusing Science, Kitcher...takes his place beside such eloquent champions of Darwin's theory as Thomas Huxley and Clarence Darrow.
Jill Sapinsley Mooney
San Francisco Chronicle