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Robert T. Pennock

Robert T. Pennock is Professor in the Lyman Briggs College and the Departments of Philosophy and Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University.  He is a Co-PI of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.

Titles by This Author

The Evidence against the New Creationism

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 in the sort of evidence scientists use to draw conclusions about origins.

Several chapters deal with the work of Phillip Johnson, a highly influential leader of the new creationists. Pennock explains how science uses naturalism and discusses the relationship between factual and moral issues in the creationism-evolution controversy. The book also includes a discussion of Darwin's own shift from creationist to evolutionist and an extended argument for keeping private religious beliefs separate from public scientific knowledge.

Titles by This Editor

These are the Proceedings of Artificial Life 13, the Thirteenth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (http://alife13.org/), hosted by the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (http://beacon-center.org/) at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, on July 19-22, 2012.

This year's conference was organized into five submission tracks: Evolution in Action, Behavior and Intelligence, Collective Dynamics, Synthetic Biology, and the Humanities and ALife.

Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives

The last decade saw the arrival of a new player in the creation/evolution debate—the intelligent design creationism (IDC) movement, whose strategy is to act as "the wedge" to overturn Darwinism and scientific naturalism. This anthology of writings by prominent creationists and their critics focuses on what is novel about the new movement. It serves as a companion to Robert Pennock's Tower of Babel, in which he criticizes the wedge movement, as well as other new varieties of creationism.

The book contains articles previously published in specialized, hard-to-find journals, as well as new contributions. Each section contains introductory background information, articles by influential creationists and their critics, and in some cases responses by the creationists. The discussions cover IDC as a political movement, IDC's philosophical attack on evolution, the theological debate over the apparent conflict between evolution and the Bible, IDC's scientific claims, and philosopher Alvin Plantinga's critique of naturalism and evolution. The book concludes with Pennock's "Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught in the Public Schools."