Definitive book refuting creationism

I have a degree in evolutionary biology, and I enjoy the occasional debate against creationists. I am looking for the definitive book against creationist arguments – hopefully accurate, entertaining, and informative. Stephen Jay Gould, in his book An Urchin in the Storm, calls Philip Kitcher’s Abusing Science “the best book on creationism.” However, it’s been more than twenty years since Gould said this.

What is best, most entertaining book making the scientific argument against creationism? Is this Kitcher book any good, or is there something newer?

I found Dawkins’s

I found Dawkins’s “The Extended Phenotype” to be pretty straightforward and irrefutable: I remember wishing I could find a way to get a creationist to actually read it.

I have read Kitcher’s Abusing Science and it is excellent. I have seen most of the arguments refuted by Kitcher used by creationist visitors to these boards, so it may well be that creationism has not advanced very far in the intervening period. As a bonus, the book has a very interesting discussion of the philosophy of science.

Yeah, it may; wonder what creationism’s next “advance” will be?

irony adj containing iron

Also, Dawkin’s Climbing Mount Improbable

Yeah, I’ve read all of Dawkins’ stuff, and it’s absolutely excellent – I’d highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it. Sounds like I may need to check out this Kitcher book.

Finding the book isn’t the problem; it’s getting Creationists to read it.

One cannot ‘refute’ creationism because it’s a closed system of thought. It is not amenable to rational argument because it doesn’t proceed from rational argument. As GB Shaw put it, “You cannot rationally argue out what wasn’t rationally argued in.”

I know what you mean, and I don’t mean for my reply to be unduly picky. Yes, creationists put up lots of bogus pseudo-arguments, and it’s nice to have a handy summary of the flaws in each case, but it’s ultimately rather futile. They aren’t playing by the same rules as you, and rational argument isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Anyway, if you insist, the Skeptics Society in Pasadena sell a lot of great books, and can probably recommend the best one in terms of debating the creationists. Incidentally, may I offer the humble suggestion that if you are opposing the position of a creationist, this means you are a creationisn’tist. A title you may wear with pride!


I lent Extended Ph to a creationist friend of my mother’s, and he said he stopped reading it after the first couple pages because it was clear to him that the author was “biased” in favor of evolution.


I disagree. Sure, you’re never (or very, very rarely) going to convince the specific creationist you’re debating that he’s wrong, but that’s not the point. That’s not the guy you’re trying to sway: it’s the bystander, who’s never heard both sides of the argument, that you’re trying to reach. You debate your opponent, but you convince your audience.

Niles Eldredge has two books on the subject, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creation and the more recent (and in print) The Triumph of Evolution: And the Failure of Creationism.

Book, schmook.

Every counter-argument I’ve ever needed, I found on .