|Critical Thinking, and Pseudoscience
Science is under attack from many quarters these days. These books give some excellent introductions and explanations of some of the more common misconceptions and misguided attempts. Any of them would make great discussion for a book group interested in exploring modern ideas and research.
[2/12/2006] One of the more absurd and inane ideas, however, is that of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. ID has no scientific backing - there's no actual research supporting it, there's no peer reviewed articles [as Michael Behe one of its chief proponents admitted under oath in the 2005 trial in Dover PA. So it was sad to see the Northwest Great Books Institute include Behe's Darwin's Black Box as one of its selections for their annual meeting in Bellingham WA. Under Great Books discussion rules of shared inquiry no outside sources can be used in discussing the book, So no one would be able to challenge any of the claims Behe makes. This results in precisely the result that the IDers want -- teaching the alleged 'controversy' rather than examining the intellectually barren plains of the ID proposal itself. I'd think the parent organization of Great Books, based in Chicago would be embarrassed by being associated with this intellectual mess.
Many of us who used to participate in this group raised questions as to why this book was selected, over in the gbooks discussion group on Yahoo, but the committee that chose the book [unanimously!] refused to give any reasons. Their flimsy argument, like ID itself, is that one needs to keep an open mind and look at all the alternatives. That's fine in perfect world where everyone can keep up on every topic. But today, there are too many good books appearing for us to spend time with right wing religious dogma masquerading as science. We might as well also select books from Holocaust deniers or astrology.
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