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The merits—or lack thereof—of “intelligent design” are today the grist of legislative debate, journalistic consideration, and family dinner conversation. But from the point of view of the scientific community, what truly warrants our attention is the science of evolution.
For the fifteen world-renowned practitioners represented in this volume, evolution is much more than a foundational concept of a scientist's work; it is an awesome contribution to our understanding of the human condition—a thing of beauty, grandeur, and significance that would be difficult to overstate.
Destined to become a definitive text of evolutionary science, Intelligent Thought presents a positive message about the critical importance of scientific enterprise in our culture and in our lives, while reminding us of the dangers of allowing politics to overshadow the pursuit of knowledge.
“Evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists, but intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything at all.” –Daniel C. Dennett, Philosopher
“Natural selection is not some desperate last resort of a theory. It is an idea whose plausibility and power hits you between the eyes with a stunning force, once you understand it in all its elegant simplicity.” –Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist
“An evolutionary understanding of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one.” –Steven Pinker, Psychologist
“Not only is ID markedly inferior to Darwinism at explaining and understanding nature but in many ways it does not even fulfill the requirements of a scientific theory.” —Jerry A. Coyne, evolutionary biologist
“The geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously declared, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” One might add that nothing in biology makes sense in the light of intelligent design.” —Jerry A. Coyne, evolutionary biologist
“A denial of evolution–however motivated–is a denial of evidence, a retreat from reason to ignorance.” —Tim D. White, paleontologist
“The supernatural explanation fails to explain because it ducks the responsibility to explain itself.” —Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist
“Nothing indicates that people who believe that life arose by chance also believe that morality is haphazard.” —Scott Atran, anthropologist and psychologist
“An evolutionary understanding of the human condition, far from being incompatible with a moral sense, can explain why we have one.” —Steven Pinker, a cognitive scientist
“To state that a given organ is so improbable that it requires design is just ill founded. The argument uses standard probability, which does not apply to the evolution of the biosphere.” —Stuart A. Kauffman, theoretical biologist
“We don’t have an intelligent designer (ID), we have a bungling consistent evolver (BCE). Or maybe an adaptive changer (AC). In fact, what we have in the most economical interpretation is, of course, evolution.” —Lisa Randall, physicist
“What counts as a controversy must be delineated with care, as we want students to distinguish between scientific challenges and sociopolitical ones.” —Marc D. Hauser, evolutionary psychologist
“Incredulity doesn’t count as an alternative position or critique.” —Marc D. Hauser, evolutionary psychologist
“Rather than removing meaning from life, an evolutionary perspective can and should fill us with a sense of wonder at the rich sequence of natural systems that gave us birth and continues to sustain us.” —Scott D. Sampson, paleontologist