40 Days and 40 Nights

40 Days and 40 Nights Cover

40 Days and 40 Nights

Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania

By Matthew Chapman

Harper, Hardcover, 9780061179457, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2007


In this fascinating story of evolution, religion, politics, and personalities, Matthew Chapman captures the story behind the headlines in the debate over God and science in America

In Kitzmiller v. Dover Board of Education, decided in late 2005, a Republican judge rendered a surprising verdict in a case that pitted the teaching of intelligent design (sometimes known as "creationism in a lab coat") against the teaching of evolution. Taking place in a small Pennsylvania school district, the case had national repercussions, all the way up to President Bush, who said he believed intelligent design should be taught as "an alternative theory" to evolution.

Matthew Chapman, the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, spent several months covering the trial from beginning to end. Through his in-depth encounters with the participants--creationists, preachers, teachers, scientists on both sides of the issue, lawyers, theologians, the judge, and the eleven parents who resisted the fundamentalist proponents of intelligent design--Chapman tells a sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, and above all moving story of ordinary people doing battle in America over the place of religion and science in modern life.

Written with a filmaker's eye for character and detail, and including insights only a descendent of Darwin could bring forth, Chapman paints an entertaining, yet disturbing picture of America today.