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Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In Tower of Babel, philosopher Robert Pennock compares the views of the new creationists with those of the old and reveals the insubstantiality of their arguments. One of Pennock's major innovations is to turn from biological evolution to the less-charged subject of linguistic evolution, which has strong theoretical parallels with biological evolution both in content and i ...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published February 28th 2000 by Bradford Book (first published February 16th 1999)
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John
Jan 16, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, history
TOWER OF BABEL is both an elegant history of creationism in the United States and a splendid rebuttal of creationism in all of its varieties, especially, intelligent design. Much to Pennock's credit he takes the novel approach of drawing analogies between linguistic and biological evolution. Not surprisingly, he notes that creationist critics of evolution are also quite critical of linguistics viewed from an evolutiuonary perspective. He notes how languages can be viewed as linguistic ...more
Marc
I liked this book a lot...but after all I guess I am part of the choir. The book uses the evolution of culture and language in particular as a model to question the motives/logic of the Deniers. They readily embrace all of the tenants of evolution, just not organic evolution.

I am always dumbfounded by the convoluted logic/arguments put up by creationists. I have my own thesis on what they are up to, at least the brain trust and leadership of these groups. But the regular folks that repeat the re
...more
J.P.
Jan 03, 2013 J.P. rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. The author uses facts of linguistic evolution as opposed biological evolution to demonstrate flaws in creationism. It goes into the history of the creationist movement from the beginning up to the it's current form in the Intelligent Design movement. The book also brings up the topic of philosophy of science & the nature of scientific "revolutions". Even the little bit of information provided on the topic of the philosophy of science is eye-opening & ...more
Leigh
Oct 15, 2007 Leigh rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read all year. I highly recommend to anyone who wants a solid understanding of evolutionary theory. It includes a fascinating essay on linguistic evolution - I do wish this section had been a bit longer! My only other complaint is that Pennock often assumes that the reader has the same general knowledge of philosophy terms that he does. All in all, Tower of Babel was a challenging read, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was worth the effort.
Mark
Sep 02, 2016 Mark rated it liked it
The book makes some good points, and is very interesting in places, but it's so long-winded that I gave up halfway. The basic point about language evolution is a good one (and reflects conclusions I'd already come to), but it's a shame the chapter focuses on Chomskyan linguistics rather than variationist linguistics (which connects much better with evolution).
Dave Peticolas

An analysis of the philosophy, methods, and aims of the Creationism movement, contrasting it with those of science.

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  • Ontogeny and Phylogeny
  • Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution
  • The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design
  • Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem
  • Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond
  • The Counter-Creationism Handbook
  • The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
  • Evolution as a Religion: Strange Hopes and Stranger Fears
  • The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience
  • Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness
  • Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach
  • Science, Order and Creativity
  • The Devil in Dover: An Insider's Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America
  • Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line
  • Belief in God in an Age of Science
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  • Free Man's Worship

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“Intelligent design theorists have learned a few lessons from the failures of their predecessors and have devised a more sophisticated strategy to compete head on with evolution. One of the main things they [intelligent design creationists] have learned is what not to say.

A major element of their strategy is to advance a form of creation that not only omits any explicit mention of Genesis but is also usually vague, if not mute, about any of the specific claims about the nature of Creation, the separate ancestry of humans and apes, the explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophic global flood, or the age of the earth - items that readily identified young-earth creationism as a thinly disguised biblical literalism.”
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