March 23, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

New Book:  Traipsing Into Evolution

The Discovery Institute has published a new book, Traipsing Into Evolution, analyzing the Dover decision.  (Traipsing is defined as walking or traveling about without apparent plan but with or without a purpose.)  An article on Evolution News introduces the contents, and describes the authors: “The book was written by David K. DeWolf, professor of law at Gonzaga University, Dr. John G. West associate professor and chair of the political science department at Seattle Pacific University, Casey Luskin, attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute, and Dr. Jonathan Witt a senior fellow and writer in residence at Discovery Institute.”  A lengthy response by Michael Behe, lead expert witness for the Dover school board, is also included.
    They felt the book is necessary because news media, scientists and some school boards are assuming that the Dover decision settled the matter.  For instance, in Current Biology this week,1 Paul Katz claimed, “as was recently pointed out by a Federal Judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, the supposed alternatives are based on religious beliefs, not science, and so may not be taught in public school science classes.”  The book argues against that claim, but acknowledges the repercussions of the Dover decision.  “There’s already been a negative chilling effect on open inquiry in places such as Ohio and South Carolina,” Casey Luskin said.  “Judge Jones’ message is clear: give Darwin only praise, or else face the wrath of the judiciary.”  Professor of Law Steven D. Smith (UC San Diego) does not consider Judge Jones the last word.  “The mainstream science establishment and the courts tell us, in censorious tones that sometimes sound a bit desperate, that intelligent design is just a lot of fundamentalist cant.  It’s not,” he said.  “We’ve heard the Darwinist story, and we owe it to ourselves to hear the other side.  Traipsing Into Evolution is that other side.”  See also our 03/10/2006 entry.  The book is available on

1Paul Katz, “Q&A,” Current Biology, Volume 16, Issue 6, 21 March 2006, Pages R190-R191, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.02.033.

Quotable quote from the blurb: “Despite Jones’s protestations to the contrary, his attempts to use the federal bench to declare evolution a sacred cow—unquestionable in schools and fundamentally compatible with all ‘true’ religion—are exposed by these critical authors as a textbook case of good-old-American judicial activism.”  Jones was only one district judge, and his opinion has no bearing outside that district.  But his lengthy diatribe deserves debate and battle.  Judges do not decide what is science and what is not.  How strange that scientists like Paul Katz are leaning on decisions of lawyers and judges.  Science needs to be judged on the evidence.
    The Amazon listing is already attracting highly polarized reviews.  The toilet talk of some pro-Darwinist reviewers can be considered a success for the book, if that’s the best level of scholarship attainable by critics.

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