Study Guide for Midterm Exam, PHILO 4583

Monday, October 22, 2007, 7:00-8:00pm

note: page/chapter numbers, when included, appear in parentheses



In addition to these study questions, please read carefully your class notes, attending to themes and concepts that I highlighted in class.





Why is the Big Bang important to the discussion of design? Why might a world without a beginning be less open to design? (2; see also ch. 1).


How does Darwinism differ from evolution? (8-9)


What is intelligent design? How does it differ from creationism?


What is the difference between methodological and metaphysical naturalism? (38)


Know basic biographical information about Darwin and his thought. (ch. 5)


What is natural selection and how does it work?


What is eugenics and how is it related to Darwinism? (ch. 6)


How does the actual Scopes Trial differ from its movie portrayal in Inherit the Wind? (ch. 7)


Who are Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould? How did they clash? (ch. 9)


Be able to summarize the Roger DeHart episode. (ch. 13)


What is Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity? Give an example of an irreducibly complex system. Why do irreducibly complex systems pose an obstacle to Darwinian processes? (44-45, 175)


Is design detectible? How? (171-174)


What is science? Is ID science? Why or why not? Is Darwinian evolution science? Why or why not? (ch. 14)


What do you think about the claim that “bad design means no design”? (ch. 15)


What is panspermia? (ch. 15)



Phillip Johnson’s DARWIN ON TRIAL


Why are the fossils a problem for evolutionary theory? What is the Cambrian explosion? What is a phylum? What is the plural form of “phylum”? Explain why the Cambrian explosion is incompatible with common descent. What is common descent? (ch. 4)


How do evolutionists try to justify that evolution is both a fact and a theory? What is the difference between a fact and a theory? (ch. 5)


What is the difference between prebiological and biological evolution? How well do scientists understand prebiological evolution? (ch. 8)


Are there “rules” to science? If so, what are they? Who makes the rules of science? Can they change? Should they change? (ch. 9)


What is the difference between science and pseudoscience? Why do critics regard ID as pseudoscience? Is there a case to be made that Darwinism is itself a pseudoscience? How so? (ch. 12)





What is the Wedge? What is the Wedge Document (see (ch. 2)


What is the National Center for Science Education (see


What is the Santorum amendment? What happened to the amendment? Is it still influential? (240-252)


Be able to name at least five prominent ID proponents and summarize what they are known for in the ID debate and why their work is controversial. (passim)



Because this book is so scattershot and because it is the basis for your critical review, I won’t be asking much about it on the exam. You will need to have read it carefully, though, to write a good review.