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The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA [Hardcover]

By Gordy Slack (Author)
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Item Number 147577  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.14" Width: 6.42" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2007
Publisher   Jossey-Bass
ISBN  0787987867  
EAN  9780787987862  
UPC  723812898497  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A compelling eyewitness account of the recent courtroom drama in Dover, Pennsylvania that put evolution on trial. Journalist Gordy Slack offers a riveting, personal, and often amusing first-hand account that details six weeks of some of the most widely ranging, fascinating, and just plain surreal testimony in U.S. legal history-a battle between hard science and religious conservatives wishing to promote a new version of creationism in schools. During the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Areas School Board trial, the members of the local school board defended their decision to require teachers to present intelligent design alongside evolution as an explanation for the origins and diversity of life on earth. The trial revealed much more than a disagreement about how to approach science education. It showed two essentially different and conflicting views of the world and the lengths some people will go to promote their own. The ruling by George W. Bush-appointed Judge John Jones III was unexpected in its stridency: Not only did he conclude that intelligent design was religion and not science and therefore had no place in a science classroom, he scolded the school board for wasting public time and money. A sophisticated examination of the deep cultural, religious, and political tensions that continue to divide America, The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything is also journalist Gordy Slack's personal and engaging story of the high drama and unforgettable characters on both sides of the courtroom controversy. Gordy Slack (Oakland, CA) has been writing about science and evolutionary biology for 15 years. He is a regular commentator on KQED, an affiliate of NPR, and his articles have appeared in Mother Jones,, Wired, California Wild, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications.

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More About Gordy Slack

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gordy Slack is a science writer whose articles have appeared in Mother Jones, Wired, The Scientist, and He is a former senior editor of California Wild, the science and natural history magazine published by the California Academy of Sciences, and a frequent contributor to San Francisco's KQED radio. His writing often focuses on evolutionary biology and the relationship between science and religion.

Gordy Slack currently resides in Oakland, in the state of California.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Odd mix of venom and sympathy  Apr 4, 2008
The author covered the trial for, which is known for having a politcally liberal outlook. The author occasionally expresses his frustration with religious conservatives. He also takes some unnecessary shots at conservatives and Republicans in general.

On the other hand, he made a mostly successful effort to try and understand the mind of his enemy, as it were. As an intellectual exercise, he wants to see if he can fairly represent the view of the other side, although it's a view which he personally sees as intellectually backward.

The book is a reasonable length, and doesn't quote much of the trial testimony. He generally gives summaries of the main witnesses. A lot of the book consists of his own thoughts on evolution, religion, and science. I found his ideas interesting to read, although like most writers to cannot resist the temptation to make broad philosphical conclusions.

The real problem is that school boards see themselves as expressing the desires of the community. They don't see themselves as "the state". I somewhat sympathize with people who don't want their tax money used for teaching ideas which they see as competition for their religious beliefs. That's the problem with public schools, and why freedom of education should mean supporting private schools, with vouchers if needed.

It it clear from the book that ID proponents just don't like idea of purposelessness that is inhert in any natural mechanism for evolution. They start with the presumption of ID, and the burden of proof, as they see it, is on those suggesting a natural mechanism. The book relates how Michael Behe testified that in essense, he doesn't think evolutionary biolgists could ever come up with evolutionary explanations for complex cellular level adapations that would ever satifsy him. I think Mr. Behe is right about this. The ID crowd is so stubborn that they will accept nothing less than a complete historical explanation of every adaptation before conceding that an explanation using natural selection is at least possible.

ID is Creationism, Pseudoscience, and ILLEGAL in schools....  Dec 10, 2007
...but that will not stop these half-wits from continuing their religio-cultural war (mythos vs logos)in every nook and cranny of American public and private life.
If you missed the Frontline special covering the trial, you'll not want to miss Slack's book. His obsession with covering the detail is nearly as great as that of the attorneys who relished in this important legal victory. There will be more.
What's critical to understand and made apparent by Slack and this decision is that behind every ID true-believer--as much as they'll deny (or lie)--there's a christian god who is pulling the strings of the universe. That was true for Behe, Dembski and other ID faithful covered in this title.
Slack failed to mention that the judge in this case received death threats (from the 'taliban' wing of the fundis)after his decision and was forced to relocate his family.
Religious liars  Oct 1, 2007
This was simply stunning. I had known how devious creation scientists are but the details of their mendacity described in this book on so-called intelligent design was astonishing. Great.
A highly compelling and intelligent book  Sep 8, 2007
In The Battle over the Meaning of Everything, Gordy Slack skillfully illuminates the complexities of the Intelligent Design/ Evolution debate, bringing to light the many social, political, scientific, and moral ramifications. As well, Slack personalizes the debate through frank examination of his own belief system, in contrast to that of his father, a born-again Christian. The result of these many strands of inquiry is a multi-layered, probing, and engaging book. Slack guides us through each step of the Dover trial, deftly describing and providing insight into many of the participants. He elucidates the debate from a variety of angles, from the legal to the historical, the biological to the religious, and never loses sight of the underlying issues at stake. Slack's intelligence, curiosity, and compassion pervade these pages. It is a captivating book - either an excellent introduction to those who may have hesitated to enter the seeming morass of the ID debate, or a means of deepening one's already existing knowledge. I heartily recommend this book as a thought-provoking exploration into one of the most important trials, and issues, of our times.
Easy Access to Deep Stuff  Aug 23, 2007
Gordy Slack, a science writer with a gift for narrative flow, clarity, and a nifty mix of the personal and the general, observed and thoroughly grasped the subject matter, the issues, and the implications of the Dover, PA trial on evolution vs. intelligent design. He announces his bias (evolution) right away and does a fine job of being as objective as he can in laying out the opposing arguments, the views and commitments of the people on both sides, the nature of the evidence, and what the parties believed was at stake in this trial. This is one of those books one can wish there were more of, where a smart guy and fine writer takes on an issue that concerns us all and the principles that, no pun intended, have evolved from the Enlightenment forward.

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