Here’s a hearty, full-throated recommendation for Philip Kitcher’s latest book, Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith. If you’re looking for a short, very readable but substantive book on creationism, intelligent design, and the very real challenge Darwinian evolution poses for any supernaturalistic faith, this is the one. Go out and buy one. Buy a stack and distribute to your friends. (OK, best wait for the paperback edition for that one.)
Normally, I might temper my enthusiasm when reviewing a book so close to my own interests. After all, there’s my ego involved. And I have to admit my reaction is mixed with some nitpicking and envy.
First, the nitpicking. There are a few areas where I’d choose a different emphasis. Kitcher makes much of the “imperfect design” objection to intelligent design, when ID proponents have erected quite a few rhetorical defenses in this area. I wish Kitcher had cited some of the work that shows that ID’ers cannot bypass such questions, as their supposed design-detection tools are all bogus. I especially wish this because some of this work is mine. I like to see my work cited, and this doesn’t do it. (Harrumph.) Then there is how Kitcher explains the Darwinian challenge to supernaturalism almost entirely in terms of the traditional Problem of Evil. I approach this with a different emphasis, and I think my way is better. (Hmph.)
Again, get hold of a copy. It’s the best short book on ID out there. It’s also perfect to give any smart, educated sister-in-law who you might have who might be tempted to think there is something to the ID business but who is not sure.