By Tom Bethell on 9.18.13 @ 6:09AM
The American Spectator
Recently the Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyer published Darwin’s Doubt, a book that raises many questions about the theory of evolution. As his title tells us, Darwin himself shared one of these doubts. The book has sold well, reaching #7 on the New York Times bestseller list, #4 on the Los Angeles Times list, and #10 on Publishers Weekly.
Organisms are intelligently designed, says Meyer, who has a PhD from Cambridge University in the philosophy of science. His book is an education, demanding attentive reading but no specialized knowledge. To a large extent it uses the facts and arguments of professional biologists, some bordering on open dissent from the orthodoxy.
Darwin’s Doubt has also been subjected to a barrage of what can only be called hate. “Mendacious intellectual pornography” is among the more inventive descriptions. Hundreds of negative comments appeared on Amazon review page within hours of the 498-page book’s publication.
Donald Prothero, a geologist and research associate at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, typified many when he said that Meyer is a “fool,” “incompetent,” guilty of “ignorance,” in “way over his head,” with a “completely false understanding of the subject.” Further, Meyer argues “dishonestly,” promotes a “fundamental lie,” promotes a “fairy tale,” and so on.
Would a scientist make his case that way if he had real arguments? Prothero did attempt a few substantive criticisms, but inadvertently demonstrated that he had not read Meyer’s chapters that had already addressed them. Prothero, in truth, hankers after creationism as his preferred target. But Meyer’s book is devoid of creationism or biblical references. It’s all science.
Along with the attacks, we find more and more biologists recognizing that intelligent design (ID) is a serious endeavor. Meyer’s book has been praised by George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; Scott Turner, a professor of biology at SUNY; Russell Carlson, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Georgia and a dozen others. George Gilder, most recently the author of Knowledge and Power, calls Darwin’s Doubt “the best science book ever written.”