Review of Dean L. overman (1997) a case against accident and self-organisation new York: Rowman & Littlefield [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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To judge from the dust-jacket, this book has received a considerable amount of praise--and not just from the usual suspects. In particular, the publishers seem keen to promulgate the view that there is widespread support for the claim that Overman makes a clear, compelling, and well-argued case for the conclusions which he wishes to defend. However, it seems to me that those cited on the dust-jacket--Pannenberg ("lucid and sobering arguments"), Polkinghorne ("scrupulously argued"), Nicholi ("compelling logic and carefully reasoned argument"), Kaita ("cogent and lucid"), Gingerich ("interesting and convincing"), Behe ("compelling case"), and McGrath ("clear and informed arguments")--cannot have been commenting on the book which I am currently in the process of reviewing. True enough, the book is well-organised and mostly easy to read; moreover, the book clearly demonstrates that Overman is thoroughly acquainted with popular presentations of recent work in a variety of scientific fields. But the crucial question is whether it makes a clear, compelling, and well-argued case for the conclusions which Overman wishes to defend. I shall claim in this review that the book fails on all three counts.
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