Science & Education

, Volume 24, Issue 7–8, pp 1043–1046 | Cite as

Teaching Evolution While Aiming at the Cautious Middle

K. Kampourakis: Understanding Evolution. Cambridge University Press, 2014, ISBN: 9781107610200, 270 pp, $34.99 (Paperback)
  • Massimo Pigliucci
Book Review

As astounding as it sounds, especially to people outside of the USA (and the Middle East, and much of Africa), 13 % of US high school teachers actively advocate creationism and so-called intelligent design theory in their classrooms; another 28 % does the right thing and teaches evolution, but a whopping 60 % falls in the middle: These teachers accept evolutionary theory (though they may be fuzzy on the details), and yet do not teach it in their classrooms, in order to avoid “the controversy” (Berkman and Plutzer 2010). It is largely at this 60 %, and to interested undergraduate and graduate students, that Kampourakis’ new book is aimed.

As the author quickly acknowledges, there are plenty of good books on evolution out there: from introductions aimed at the general public (Coyne 2009) to sophisticated textbooks (Futuyma 2013), from philosophical analyses (Ruse 2003) to discussions of the so-called evolution–creation controversy (Pigliucci 2002), and many, many more. So why another...


  1. Berkman, M., & Plutzer, E. (2010). Evolutionism, creationism, and the battle to control America’s schools. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Coyne, J. A. (2009). Why evolution is true. New York: Viking Adult.Google Scholar
  3. Futuyma, D. J. (2013). Evolution. Sunderland: Sinauer.Google Scholar
  4. Pigliucci, M. (2002). Denying evolution: Creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland: Sinauer.Google Scholar
  5. Ruse, M. (2003). Darwin and design: Does evolution have a purpose? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe City College of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations