Book Review: Traipsing Into Evolution

Traipsing Into Evolution is a succinct summarization and critique of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover court case on the teaching of intelligent design in the schools in Dover. This case is summarized and analyzed by multiple sources of incredible qualifications. Leading the charge is David Dewolf, Professor of Law at the Gonzaga Laws School in Washington. He is an accomplished author, focusing on law and legal practice, with one book on the topic of origins and free speech called Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, or Religion, or Speech.

Dewolf is joined by the associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, Dr. John West. Dr. West is also well versed in the legal system, with a Ph.D. in government. He is the chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, and an author or editor of many books, many focusing on Darwinian biology’s impact on public policy.

Casey Luskin also joins the author team for this manuscript. He has a strong combination of science and law under his belt with a B.S. and M.S. in Earth Sciences as well as a law degree From University of San Diego. He has published many articles in various scientific journals, including some focusing on intelligent design.

Last but not least is Dr. Jonathan Witt, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He holds his Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas. Besides his significant written contribution to the design movement, he was present at the Dover trial, covering the proceedings for

Even an amateur can see the legal and scientific qualifications this team brought into this manuscript. Their expertise on both law and the underlying concepts of science are crystal clear, and their obvious goal was to set the record straight on the multitude of erroneous and superfluous conclusions drawn by Judge Jones in this case.

  In the Kitzmiller vs Dover court case on the forced entry (even though minor in scope) of Intelligent Design into school curriculum, the presiding judge, John E. Jones III went beyond the necessary jurisdiction of his position. His decision did not simply stop the school from mandating Intelligent Design theory (ID), but went beyond his role as a judge to label ID as unscientific. This ruling legally defined ID as a religious belief and attempted to remove it from ever possibly being taught in a public school classroom.

         Traipsing Into Evolution is a succinct analysis of the legal overreaches, scientific flaws, and blatant biases found in Judge Jones’ rulings. Jones is shown to have had clearly preconceived notions on how he would conclude against ID. Traipsing Into Evolution also corrects definitions, reinforces the scientific legitimacy of ID, and cites clear examples that were presented in testimony that counter the judge’s bold claims. From the straw man arguments against ID that labels it “creationism,” to the false claims that no qualified scientists support the theory, this book sets the record straight. Judge Jones has very clearly stretched into territory he is nowhere near qualified to make verdicts on.

Traipsing into Evolution plays its part well. While short in length, the authors have poured in an incredible amount of concise data into the book. It takes accurate shots at Judge Jones’ conclusion on the Dover case, hitting some of the vital points and exposing the great weaknesses in the legal precedent set up by Jones. The authors are unmistakably specialists in law and science, making this text a juggernaut of power to knock down Judge Jones’ prejudiced judicial overreach into science.

While definitely on the short side, this book accomplishes its goal clearly. To the reader, it is clear where Judge Jones succeeded and where he went out of the boundaries of his position. Activist judges like him cannot be left alone with this power to define what is and isn’t science; instead, they must be restricted to the role they were designed to have, which is to make rulings on what the law says, not make laws based upon his biased opinions.

Often critics of Intelligent Design will claim that the rulings in cases like this one in Dover were proof of the less than scientific nature of ID. The authors of Traipsing into Evolution make it clear that scientific concepts cannot be decided in the courtroom, but rather must be decided by evidence. I would most definitely recommend this to such critics (as well as those needing an answer to such criticisms), since the legal prominence and scientific expertise poured into the book leave little room for doubt that science cannot be demarcated by the unqualified judicial system.

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