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Top Ten books to read on the intelligent design controversy, 2009 #4

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(Note: These are the key books, not science or media news. The Top Ten Darwin and Design Science News Stories for 2009 are here, and my comments are here, the Top Ten Darwin and Design Media News Stories for 2009 are here, and my comments on the latter are here. Also, to get the links, you must go here.)

My comments follow.

4. Nature’s IQ by Balazs Hornyanszky and Istvan Tasi. Hungarian scientists Balazs Hornyanszky and Istvan Tasi offer a novel contribution to the intelligent design literature by extending Michael Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity from biological form to biological behavior. Where did the mysterious instincts of animals originate? Nature’s IQ. The authors document more than 100 astonishing, unexplained phenomena from the animal kingdom, with 200 amazing color pictures. The authors point out how Darwinian “just so” stories fail to explain these irreducibly complex instincts and behaviors. This book is a valuable addition to any library for its amazing photos of animal life and it’s catalog of fascinating animal behavior regardless of whether you believe they were a product of random mutations and natural selection or a product of artful, purposeful design.

[From Denyse: In my opinion, this book could have rated higher, but I would hate to displace any above. I have read it, and cannot rate it too highly – and think it is the right one to give to friends, relatives, and colleagues, if they wonder why design is an issue – with one caveat. Anyone who has lived and worked with animals will know that many animals have instincts that are likely too complex to have been acquired by “natural selection.” See, for example, the work of Rupert Sheldrake, who threw Dawkins out of his lab, in this matter. For fun, by the way, consider Oscar the deathcat. Also here.

One huge loss to human knowledge that Darwinism created is that – in the frantic attempt to prove that animals think like people (they don’t) – we miss the things they can do and we can’t, that Darwinism cannot coherently explain.]

One caveat: The book is based in the Hindu tradition. I don’t consider that a problem, particularly, and welcome Hindus’ involvement. But it could become an issue in some school systems, a situation I regret. (Because I think that judgements in such matters should generally be left to teachers, who are professionals. Or if they are not, let’s train better teachers.)

More on the book here and here.

Pick 5 is here.

I've only had a chance to glance through it a bit, but this is a beautiful book which any nature lover should enjoy. Our universe is just amazing, full of wonder, dare I say, miraculous. Unfortunately the book also pits ID against evolution as if it's one or the other, as if an evolving design or designed to evolve are not even possible options. My other complaint, and this is a common one I have with "Intelligent Design" books is the "gee whiz, how could this have ever possibly evolved, therefore..." type of argument. I find this uncompelling. Here's a quote from the book:
It is much more logical to conclude that these moths initially entered this world fully equipped with the means of self-protection and knowledge necessary for their survival. (p. 55)
I'd categorize this book as flat-out creationism, not an intelligent design book, and it certainly would not make #4 on my list. Mung

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