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University of Chicago Press
The following review appeared in the November 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email email@example.com.
Science & Technology
History of Science & Technology
Riskin (history, Stanford Univ.) has written a lengthy, detailed, impressive monograph based on her concern over a vital paradox of science. The author begins by discussing the argument that some scientific ideas commenced with a model of nature as a clock, which God designed and produced. This argument appeared to be supported by clever automata, which medieval mechanics had developed in Christian churches. Soon there were objections to that model, and skeptics seemed to triumph with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection in The Origin of Species (1859). However, there are philosophers of science who still argue that Darwin’s theory is an incomplete understanding of nature, and Riskin takes this claim very seriously. The importance of her monograph may depend upon the extent to which academic communities acknowledge her thesis as a significant issue. At times, the author’s complex argument lacks enough dates for readers to absorb an adequate chronology for maintaining clarity. Overall, Riskin offers provocative arguments.--F. N. Egerton, University of Wisconsin--Parkside