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Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins

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Item Number 73373  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   170
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 7.5" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Release Date   Sep 1, 1993
Publisher   Foundation For Though & Ethics
ISBN  0914513400  
EAN  9780914513407  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Of Pandas and People gives evidence for intelligent design from origin-of-life studies, biochemistry, genetics, homology, and paleontology. In a unique manner, Of Pandas and People gives the pros and cons of both the biological-evolution theory and the intelligent-design concept. Pandas promotes a widely recognized goal of science education by fostering a questioning, skeptical and scrutinizing mindset. This supplemental biology textbook provides an extensive index, glossary, references, and suggested reading and resources to help familarize the reader with the material. Pandas is enhanched by the use of numerous diagrams, charts, illustrations and full-color pictures.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A reasonable presentation  Jul 7, 2007
In "A Note to Teachers" at the back of this book we read "The purpose of this text is to

expose your students to the captivating and the controversial in the origins debate-to take

them beyond the pat scenarios offered in most basal texts and encourage them to grapple with

ideas in a scientific manner". Later we read "Throughout, the text evaluates how well

different views can accomodate anomalous data within their respective interpretative

frameworks". Finally, "[The book's] presentation of a non-Darwinian perspective, in addition

to the standard view, is intended to stimulate discussion and encourage students to evaluate

the explanatory power of different theories-which, after all, is what science is all about".

Using current biological data, Kenyon and Davis' book admirably fulfills these objectives.

For those concerned that the book tries to bootleg some sort of religion under a scientific

jacket, this also from the "Note": "Advocates of design have included not only Christians

and other religous theists, but pantheists, Greek and Enlightenment philosophers and now

include many modern scientists who describe themselves as religiously agnostic." The writers

stick to biological data and discuss intelligent design versus undirected evolution in light

of those data; they recognize that their subject begins and ends with empirical science, and

they do not venture into theological discussion. I am puzzled by the numerous hyperbolic and

polemic reviews of this book here on this site. I suggest that you give this book a chance

yourself, and make up your own mind. Other titles you might enjoy include "Evolution: A

Theory in Crisis" by Michael Denton; "Icons of Evolution" by Jonathan Wells; "The Creation

Hypothesis", ed. JP Moreland; "Darwin on Trial", by Philip Johnson; "Darwin's Black Box" by

Michael Behe; "What is Creation Science?" by Henry Morris and Gary Parker; "Uncommon

Dissent", ed. William Dembski; "Darwin's Enigma" by Luther Sunderland.
Baloney.  Jul 6, 2007
I used to teach biology, so I was interested in how these authors would argue their case against evolution. If this is all they've got, the Intelligent Design side is in pretty bad shape. I was expecting cogent arguments for their cause. Instead, their arguments were vague, unscientific, and outdated. I even laughed on page 125 when to refute the concept of homologous structures they stated, "for it is an ancient and valid principle of logic that one cannot assume, for argument's sake, the truth of a proposition as a means of proving it," when that is ALL ID and Creationism do.
required reading  May 11, 2007
The most prized Creationist writings are required reading for Evolutionists. Otherwise, we cannot refute all the latest falsehoods with which our Creationist brethren are being fed. Here are a few morsels from their latest hit--Of Pandas and People:

<<<<< Stanley Miller's experiment >>>>>
The authors discuss an experiment which sought to simulate the conditions under which life began. There is a chapter on this topic in Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells, from which this discussion is lifted. Wells' chapter is adequately refuted on the talkorigins Website.

Incidentally, the book also borrows Wells' discussion on peppered moths.

<<<< Cambrian explosion >>>>>
As usual, we hear the old refrain about the Cambrian explosion. Like many Creationist authors, the present authors underplay the pre-Cambrian fossils, overplay the Cambrian fossils, and exaggerate the rapidity with which it occurred.

Anyway, what if there WAS a Cambrian explosion? It would have to have happened millions of years ago, and I thought all life began only 6000 years ago!

<<<<< giraffe evolution >>>>>
The authors contend that the giraffe would have to be created in its present state. Otherwise, the unequal body parts would not balance. This argument has been refuted in a dissertation which claims that the giraffe neck grew as a result of male combat. The accessibility to tree leaves only came as a by-product.

<<<< transitional fossils >>>>>
No Creationist tract is complete without a request for more transitional fossils. The Tiktaalik-Acanthostega-Ichthyostega-Eryops progression is mentioned but not given a fair hearing.

Then there is the story that Steven Jay Gould coined the term "punctuated equilibrium" to apologize for not answering this request. It so happens, though, that Gould arrived at his theory after studying a branch in which the intermediate forms were also present.

The authors contend that there are no fossil forms indicating that the whale was at one time a land animal. Either they don't know about the Pakicetus inachus-Ambulocetus natans-Rodhocetus kasrani progression or they hope that you don't.

<<<< DNA count >>>>>
Throughout the last chapter, the authors assume that Evolutionsits assume a progression which runs fish-amphibian-reptile-mammal. They cite statistics which show that these orders are approximately equally distant from unicellular species. What the authors don't know, or hope that you don't know, is that scientists have long ago abandoned such a progression, and now see the land animals as diverging from the first tetrapods.

Again we see that Creationists tend to remember Genesis 1:21, in which God creates all the living creatures "after their kind," but forget Exodus 20:16, which says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Despite all these falsehoods, I wish to say one word to those who fear for our nation's children: What are you worried about? The hawkers of this book are afraid to push it in the classroom, so they try the next best place, which is the school library. As I recall, our generous benefactors donated 60 copies to the school library in Dover, Pennsylvania. Yet the scientific terminology in this book is difficult for most adult readers, let alone high school students.

You think all 60 copies will get checked out at the same time? Not as long as Catcher in the Rye is available!
Old creationist arguments in new garb  May 7, 2007
This is the creationist (excuse me, intelligent design) textbook that was so much at issue in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. I noticed a copy in the library and figured I'd look through it. (If nothing else, I figured that it kept someone else from possibly getting corrupted by it.)

For someone like me who doesn't know much biology, the arguments come off as reasonably plausible. However, once I read critiques of the book, I realize just how misleading it is. For example, it gives the impression that the mammalian wolf and the (marsupial) Tasmanian wolf could easily be classified together. It's only obdurate Darwinists (that term occurs over and over again) who insist that they must be in completely separate categories due just to the different ways they reproduce. In fact, there are many differences between the two types of wolves, more than enough to justify their wide separation despite some superficial similarities. Similar arguments occur over and over again, all superficially plausible to the biologically ignorant but ludicrous if you know the truth.

The overall effect did not enamor me of creationists: they are still using the same old arguments the same old misleading way. They never seem to give up.
Unbelievable  Mar 8, 2007
This book is not even worth perusing for laughs. Why not embrace the mysteries of science as opportunities to expand our knowledge? Intelligent design is a hopelessly inadequate intellectual endeavor, and this book has no place in academia. Perhaps many decades from now, we'll judge this ideas like we have for the flat earth theory.

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