Intelligent Design

Uncommon Descent contest: List the ten most significant ID books of the last 25 years

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Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution
World's most evil book says Darwin was wrong about some things

[Contest closed for judging.] Contest judged here.

Recently, a list was posted to Listverse identifying Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box as “#1 in a list of 10 books that screwed up the world” because “Despite much refutation from the Scientific community, many fundamentalists still use this as a “source” for proof that evolution is not true.”

At the time, we noted,

Also rans include Mein Kampf (7) and the The Manifesto of the Communist Party (3)

[ … ]

And this beats der Fuehrer? So World War II was for nothing? Wow.

The list’s author tried to cover his base by asserting that his 10 through to 1 list order isn’t supposed to mean anything. Just an accident with numbers, like the universe itself?

Lists can be fun. So here’s the contest: List the ten most significant ID books of the last 25 years, and for the first three, give a brief explanation of what you think makes the book significant.

The prize is a copy of The Nature of Nature , he must-have collection of the best on both sides of the ID controversy

Contest judged Saturday July 9.

A student essay contest with a money prize will be announced shortly. Watch for details.

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6 Replies to “Uncommon Descent contest: List the ten most significant ID books of the last 25 years

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    But there aren’t 10 significant ID books. 🙂

    Can we include books by authors who would deny that they endorse ID?

  2. 2
    Bantay says:

    Individually and cumulatively, the following are extremely significant. They are significant because within two decades, they have called into question 150 years of supposed Darwinian predilections and and have reintroduced profound, accurate truth claims about what intelligent design is and is not, and the theological implications of such truth claims.

    The accurate definition of intelligent design, and the principles and information these ID books convey is what will be passed on in future generations of scientists, philosophers, theologians and the general public.

    History will record what is contained in these books to a much greater degree than Darwinism’s (or even naturalism’s) insignificant blip on the timeline of modern science.

    1. The Design Inference
    2. Signature In The Cell
    3. The Privileged Planet
    4. Darwin’s Black Box
    5. Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists
    6. Signs Of Intelligence
    7. Creator And The Cosmos
    8. Beyond The Cosmos
    9. Seeking God In Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design
    10. Reason In The Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education

  3. 3
    arkady967 says:

    The first book on my list is probably older than 25 years – it is, however, a significant first work that may have escaped notice, one attempting to bring to the fore the implications of an having discoverd the cell is loaded with code. The Wilder book is one of the first to critically examine the issue of chirality in biologically significant molecules.
    (the Thaxton book does so too – and with more technical analysis, so may be a better candidate for the #2 spot.) The #3 spot, Dembksi’s book is significant as it makes are case for dicovering design on largely abstract mathmatical premises, it asserts a method to filter for design and so yields a potentional working tool. But it’s really hard to rank
    these. Darwin’s Black Box introduces the concept of irreducible complexity – and the second demonstrates by hard evidence what you can be truly said about the scope of Darwinian processes in nature when you drop the speculation. Darwin On Trial examines, and exposes well, the weaknesses in much of the logic used by the Darwin lobby to advance it’s case. Denton’s book opened up the discussion that the public might not otherwise hear, Simmon’s shows what’s staring the medical profession in the face every day and is done on a popular level. Of Pandas and People attempts to introduce critical thinking to an audience that’s not likely to be asked to do so otherwise, at least regarding Darwinism.

    And – there are more books to mention (the Wistar Institute press, for instance, did a work called in 1967 called “Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution” -maybe that should be #1.)

    But, there’s my list -the first two were my entrance in. I think the rest are more commonly known.

    1:Darwin Was Wrong: A Study in Proababilities by I.L Cohen
    2. The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution by A. E. Wilder-Smith
    3. The Design Inference by William Dembsky
    4. Darwin On Trial by Phillip Johnson
    5. Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe
    6. The Edge of Evolution
    7. Of Pandas and People -Percival Davis & Dean Kenyon Kenyon
    8. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton
    9. The Mystery of Life’s Origin (Thaxton, Bradly, and Olson
    10. What Darwin Didn’t Know by Geoffery Simmons M.D.

  4. 4
    noam_ghish says:

    1. Darwin’s Black Box
    2. The Design Inference
    3. Signature in the Cell
    4. Icons of Evolution
    5. Edge of Evolution
    6. Darwinism a Theory in Crisis
    7. The Privileged Planet
    8. Darwin on Trial
    9. The Spiritual Brain
    10. A Billion Missing Links

    I have to put Darwin’s Black Box as number 1. There were certainly ID books before that but Michael Behe’s book gave ID the real scientific rigor that Johnson’s book could not provide.

    Dembski’s book definitely number two as it gave ID the real philosophical respectability that it needed. After Dembski people like Dennet couldn’t easily brush ID aside as an amateur phenomenon

    Signature in the Cell as number 3 since it sold so many copies and received so many positive reviews on amazon. Ironically, it may be due to the atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel, editor of the NY Times book review that placed Signature in the Cell as one of the top science books of the year, that largely contributed to signature’s success.

  5. 5
    FreshVoice says:

    10: Antony Flew – There Is A God (2008)
    09: Jonathan Wells – Icons of Evolution (2000)
    08: Michael Denton – Evolution, a theory in Crisis (1986)
    07: Jonathan Wells – The Myth of Junk DNA (2011)
    06: Michael J. Behe – Edge of Evolution (2007)
    05: William Dembski – The Design Inference (2006)
    04: Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards – The Privileged Planet (2004)

    03: James Le Fanu – Why Us? How Science Has Rediscovered The Mystery of Ourselves
    “It cannot be long before a proper appreciation of the true significance of the findings of the recent past begins to sow doubts in inquisitive minds.”
    The paradigm shift that James Le Fanu alludes to in this book may just be around the corner. Le Fanu describes the fascinating findings of the New Genetics and Neuroscience, new evidence that calls for a new paradigm to be revealed. One can only hope this will come about soon. Science has indeed “rediscovered the mystery of ourselves” and will usher in a new period of discovery– a period where wonder, and not doubt, will lead to an explosion of discoveries that have remained hidden under the existing paradigm.
    This is an excellent book for all to read. Give it to anyone… Le Fanu writes with eloquence and grace, driving his ideas home and allowing all to comprehend, scientist or not. Those that read it will be inspired to stay aware of the findings in the New Genetics and Neurosciences, or as in my case, this inquisitive mind will be directly involved in the research.

    02: Michael J. Behe – Darwin’s Black Box (1996)
    This is a well reasoned, coherent investigation of the logical limits of natural selection. It served as the entry point into ID for myself, shortly after it was published, when I happened upon it in between heavy metal shows at a music festival. This iconic text was the first to lay out the case for irreducible complexity, which has yet to be refuted today, almost 15 years later despite repeated attempts.
    Why someone would include this book with the likes for Margaret Sanger’s Pivot of Civilization and Hitler’s Mein Kampf is absurd.

    01: Stephen C. Meyer – Signature in the Cell (2009)
    Meyer’s book is phenomenal! He lays out an extremely well-formulated argument for the design of the first life, that is the origin of life, based on the information coded within the chemistry of the DNA molecules. He has a mastery of all the proposed theories for the origin of this information, such as chance, necessity, chance and necessity, and ultimately design, that he, in turn, presents his readers in a simple manner without depriving the reader of many of the details and nuances of each theory. Particularly interesting was that Meyer dissected Darwin’s reasoning regarding historical science that he used to develop the Origin of Species, and used that very reasoning to construct an argument for design based on the findings on molecular biology in the last several decades.
    It is no wonder that Thomas Nagel, prominent atheist philosophy at NYU, named this book to his Times Literary Supplement’s top science books of 2009— Meyer’s argument was just too compelling to ignore and too innovative to forget.

    Honorable Mention: Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen – The Mystery of Life’s Origins (1984). The first book to suggest intelligent causation. The authors described several deficiencies in origin of life scenarios. Due to the lack of plausible explanations, the authors suggested a new hypothesis, that of design. This hypothesis sparked the work of several scientists and philosophers to develop theories based on this principle— many of these seminal works are above.

    There are many more that definitely deserve mention as pioneering works in the development of the theory of intelligent design, but these 10+1 works are among the best— innovative and influential each one.
    Additionally, a common theme for each of these books that I once again discovered while searching for the publication dates on Amazon, was that each of their reviews and ratings exhibits an inverse bell curve, evidence of a controversial disagreement. Ironically, upon closer inspection of the reviews, many of the 1-star reviews display the signs and symptoms of noviews (non-reviews, where the comments show no relevance to the actual substance of the book and that the “reader” did in fact not read the book). Conceivably, when a noviewer finally reads these significant works with an open mind, their impact (individual and combined) will have the same effect as the evidence did for Antony Flew.

  6. 6
    Bantay says:

    I hope I won! I hope I won!

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