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SECTIONS

Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes

Counter-Apologetics

Serious Notions with a Smile

Miscellaneous

Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site

Faith vs Reason

Better late than never
 
In 1999 Mark Perakh posted on this website an essay critical of Professor Aviezerís book In the Beginning and of his article The Anthropic Principle. The essay was also posted on the Pandaís Thumb blog. The text of the essay was emailed to Aviezer soon afterwards. Professor Aviezer did not respond to critique at that time and continued his silence for 13 years. In February 2012, on a website catering to religious Jews, Aviezerís reply to Perakhís essay appeared. Here Professor Perakh responds to Aviezerís reply and shows that Aviezerís arguments are fallacious.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jul 25, 2012


Einstein letter dismissing 'childish' religion sells for 200,000 pounds
 
In the creationist literature of various kinds an assertion is often made that Einstein was a believer in God. Such statements are contrary to what can be found in various documents, for example in his letters to various people. The fate of one more such letter is revealed by Associated Press in the following message:

Einstein letter dismissing 'childish' religion sells for 200,000 pounds

By The Associated Press

The letter was written to philosopher Eric Gutkind in January 1954, a year before Einstein's death. In it, the Einstein said that "the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
Einstein also said he saw nothing "chosen" about the Jews, and that they were no better than other peoples "although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power."
Unfortunately for creationists, using the authority of Einstein as a supposed argument in favor of their beliefs is based on a distortion of the views of the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Of course, argument from authority is anyway of little value.

author(s):
The Associated, Press;
published: May 20, 2008


When quote mining becomes quote mania
 
The literary output by Rabbi Nathan Slifkin has been highly praised by a number of reviewers, including Professor Michael Ruse, several prominent rabbis, and university professors. Here is a review suggesting a very different opinion of Slifkin's literary production.
author(s):
de la Meyraque, Shmuel-Pairont;
published: Jul 15, 2007


Non Sequitur in five parts
 
This is a review of a book by professor of physics Stephen Barr, titled "Modern Physics and Ancient Faith." The main thrust of the book is an attempt to assert that advances of modern science lead to a "fall of materialism" and support Judeo-Christian faith. Barr's book was reviewed several times in religious periodicals (like First Thing) and online (on Metanexus) where it was acclaimed in superlative terms. This review is from the viewpoint of a scientist not adhering to any religious persuasion and thus estimating whether or not Barr's arguments sound convincing to skeptics.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: May 29, 2007


Theistic Evolution: more evolution and less supernatural than ID and creationism
 
Despite the title of Francis Collins' book The Language of God - A Scientist presents evidence for belief, Collins delivered a superb defence of evolution based on data from genomics and an unambiguous rejection of YEC and ID. He does not claim a supernatural origin of life. His Theistic Evolution is a more science-friendly form of religion then YEC and ID, because it reduces supernatural intervention to a minimum. However Collins still has strong disagreements with the Darwinian explanation of altruism. He needs to rethink his Moral Law argument, which is not a coherent argument and ignores animal behaviour research.
author(s):
Korthof, Gert ;
published: Sep 25, 2006
updated: Oct 15, 2006


To laugh or to cry? Make your choice
 
This is a review of an anti-science essay by Rabbi Dovid Kornreich, posted on a religious website. The reviewer shows the absurdity of Kornreich's anti-science arguments, all of which are borrowed wholesale from the Christian creationist literature and have been thoroughly debunked before.
author(s):
de la Meyraque, Shmuel-Pairont;
published: Jul 29, 2006


Sewell's thermodynamic failure
 
Young earth creationists used to fallaciously refer to the 2nd law of thermodynamics as an allegedly insurmountable obstacle to evolution. Since straightforward young earth creationism gradually retreated to such fringe outlets as Answers in Genesis, the Institute of Creation Research, and Hovind's entertainment shops (being replaced by intelligent design movement as the main anti-evolution force), reference to the 2nd law of thermodynamics has rarely been heard as an anti-evolution argument. However, this pseudo-scientific argument has not been completely abandoned by anti-evolution forces, both of YEC and ID varieties. From time to time it recrudesces in the writing of this or that advocate of creationism. One example of such a misuse of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is a recent article by professor of mathematics Granville Sewell, titled Evolution's Thermodynamic Failure.

In this post Mark Perakh, drawing on his expertise in thermodynamics, discusses Sewell's article, and demonstrates Sewell's misinterpretation of certain thermodynamic concepts which led Sewall to unsubstantiated conclusions, as in fact the 2nd law of thermodynamics in no way prohibits evolution.

author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jan 03, 2006


Confronted with critique, Schroeder lost voice
 
After almost seven years of silence, Gerald Schroeder has finally admitted the existence of the critique of his work by Mark Perakh. He did so in a very brief reply to a letter sent to him by Talk Reason reader Daniel. In this essay Perakh shows the inadequacy of Schroeder's "reply" to the critique.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Nov 21, 2005


Cooling of the universe
 
Mark Perakh's book Unintelligent Design contains a chapter critically discussing popular publications by Hugh Ross. In particular, Perakh points to Ross's erroneous pseudo-thermodynamic explanation of the universe's cooling in the course of its expansion. Similar critique of Ross's discourse is found in Perakh's paper published in the Skeptic magazine (Australia) as well as in a post on this site. This article, written in response to a letter sent to Perakh by a graduate student in astronomy, contains a simple discussion of the universe's cooling in the course of its expansion as it is construed in cosmology. It may serve as an additional clarification of Perakh's arguments rendered in the three above listed sources, regarding both Ross's errors and the modern view of the universe's history, for those readers who still need such a clarification.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: May 13, 2004


Verifying the Eternal via the Temporal?
 
This item is a brief introductory essay to the following set of reviews of books, discussing some features common of the books in question.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: May 10, 1999


A Broom that sweeps litter in
 
This is a review of a book by Neil Broom titled How Blind is a Watchmaker. This book is highly acclaimed by the heavyweights of the Intelligent Design gang. It is written in an arrogant style, disdainfully dismissing the views of those scientists who do not support the common thesis of the ID advocates which asserts that science is in the "shackles of materialism," and that introducing the supernatural into science would free it from its limitations. Broom does not, though, offer any arguments in favor of his position indulging instead in unsubstantiated affirmations.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Apr 18, 2003


B'Tsel HaTorah
 
The title of this article is a Hebrew phrase translated as "In the Shadow of the Torah." It is a review of issue 13 of the journal B'Ohr Ha'Torah (which in Hebrew means "In the Light of the Torah") In Rossow's opinion, the authors and editors of this lavishly published journal, most of them possessing advanced scientific degrees and impressive credentials, are benighted by their blind faith in the Torah's inerrancy which compels them to commit acts of mental acrobatics in vain efforts to reconcile the data of science with the Torah's story.
author(s):
Rossow, Amiel;
published: Nov 10, 2002


Yin and Yang of Kenneth Miller
 
This article contains a review of the popular book by the prominent cell biologist Professor Kenneth Miller titled Finding Darwin's God. The opinion of the reviewer Amiel Rossow is that Miller's book consists of two parts, with greatly differing quality of arguments. The larger part offers a well-substantiated and elegantly presented defense of Darwinism and critique of its opponents, while the smaller part is a much less convincing argument, mostly in a way of declarations, in favor of Miller's religious faith, which, contrary to Miller's assertion, does not appear to be supported by scientific evidence.
author(s):
Rossow, Amiel;
published: Oct 23, 2002


Explaining the Unclear by the Incomprehensible
 
This essay reviews a book by Lawrence Kelemen, Permission to Believe, which purports to provide rational arguments for the existence of God as envisioned by Judaism. It is shown that the essence of Kelemen's argument is presenting certain natural and social phenomena still poorly understood - in fact or in Kelemen's claims - by modern research, and positing God or God's will as something necessary to explain these phenomena. However, since God, in the view of classical Judaism, is incomprehensible in principle, Kelemen's approach boils down to explaining the unclear by the incomprehensible - which is hardly a rational approach. In addition, as this essay shows, Kelemen's statements in his book are often in plain error - due either to faulty reasoning, poor knowledge of facts, or intentional deception. This review was written independently of the review below.
author(s):
Rubin, Ephraim;
published: Jul 07, 2002


Not a Very Big Bang about Genesis
 
In this item a critical review is offered of three popular books by G. L. Schroeder, showing that the books in question contain a multitude of wrong statements and direct errors, invalidating their author's claim about the compatibility of the Bible and science.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Apr 11, 1999


The End of the Beginning
 
This item is a critical review of a popular book by N. Aviezer, titled In the Beginning, as well as of his article The Anthropic Principle, revealing weaknesses in their author's discourse.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jun 14, 1999
updated: Nov 30, 2001


A Crusade of Arrogance
 
In this item, several books by an evangelical pastor and a former astronomer, H. Ross, are subjected to a critical autopsy, showing the complete lack of substantiation of that writer's contentions.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Dec 12, 1999
updated: May 09, 2002


A Lost Chance
 
In this item, a book by a physicist L. Spetner Not by Chance is analyzed showing serious deficiencies in its author's arguments against the modern version of the Darwinian theory of evolution. (A critique of Spetner's book from another standpoint is found in Spetner and Biological Information.)
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Jan 14, 2000
updated: Jan 30, 2002


The Signature of an Ignoramus
 
In this item, a best-selling book by a Canadian Christian preacher G. Jeffrey The Signature of God is reviewed. This book contains a multitude of errors, exaggerations, distortions and displays of its author's ignorance and arrogance.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Aug 02, 2000


Not a Very New Look
 
In this item, a book by Don Stoner titled A New Look at an Old Earth which has been reprinted eight times, is reviewed, pointing at the feebleness of Stoner's argument aimed at "leading atheistic scientists to Christ".
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Aug 22, 2000


Prohibition to Think
 
In this item, two books by L. Kelemen, one titled Permission To Believe and the other Permission to Receive are critically reviewed revealing a frequent lack of logic and selective treatment of facts by their author, so the main thesis of that writer remains unsubstantiated.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Mar 23, 2000


Challenging the Challenge
 
In this item a collection of papers edited by Arieh Carmell and Cyril Domb, titled Challenge: Torah View on Science and its Problems is reviewed. This collection published more than twenty years ago offered many of the arguments that have been repeated time and time again since its publication as allegedly proving that there can be in principle no contradiction between the Torah and science. Some of the articles in that collection contradict though that premise by denying some scientific facts because they are contrary to the religious dogma. Despite the impressive credentials of the authors in that collection, their effort failed to be convincing from a skeptic's viewpoint.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Apr 17, 2000


Show Me Proof
 
In this item Fred Heeren's book titled Show Me God is reviewed. Strangely, while Heeren is a full-blooded old-earth creationist and a believer in "intelligent design," there are almost no references in his lengthy book to other "intelligent design" proponents. He widely quotes prominent scientists many of whom are agnostics or atheists, but always tries to interpret their words as allegedly supporting his belief in the Bible's inerrancy. His book is a hodge-podge of heterogeneous elements, often unrelated to each other, including a fictional short story, conversations with a fictional editor, and explanations of modern cosmological theories. Interesting to note that other representatives of "intelligent design" concept pay back to Heeren with the same coin, usually avoiding references to his thick volume, which anyway utterly fails to prove his point.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Feb 20, 2000
updated: Jun 25, 2002


Dreaming Up...
 
In this item, a book by Rabbi D. Gottlieb is reviewed, demonstrating the arbitrariness of its author's choice of alleged proofs of the Torah's veracity and the lack of substantiation of his claims.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Nov 04, 2000


Chocolate Philosophy
 
In this item, authored by Mr. Ephraim Rubin, one more review of D. Gottlieb's book (see "Dreaming Up" above) is offered. This review has been written independently from the item above, without any consulting between the authors of these two reviews.
author(s):
Rubin, Ephraim;
published: Oct 30, 2000


Conclusion
 
This article partially summarizes the above reviews of books.
author(s):
Perakh, Mark;
published: Oct 12, 2000