Anderson: To my surprise, Dawkins responded rather glibly that we have a pretty good idea how life started. Yes, there are some challenges, he acknowledged, but…
There is no escape via pure naturalist atheism from the conundrums science sets before us.
(Wallace, Darwin-s co-theorist, was a working-class stiff whom Darwin’s set elbowed out. He was not a materialist (naturalist) and he thought evolution could be consistent with meaning and spirituality. Darwin abhorred such ideas. This review was originally published at New Oxford Review.)
In sharp contrast with the classic slobbering review at Time of string theorist Brian Greene’s new book, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Penguin 2020), , which resurrects mid-twentieth century attempts to undermine traditional religions via schlock science religion, the Nature reviewer is not impressed. (Kiddos, that was back when Time Magazine mattered, as did newsprint in general.) By contrast, Philip Ball at nature appears appropriately skeptical.
Some reviewers almost make us forget that string theory was supposed to be science, not religion. Get a load of this review of string theorist Brian Greene’s new book, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Penguin 2020)
It’s encouraging that the reformers are allowed to disagree on some matters. That makes biology seem more like a discipline and less like a fanatical religion. Which brings us to the “more traditionalist camp in evolutionary biology” (the heirs of Darwin). It would be remarkable indeed if, as reviewer Svensson hopes, they could acknowledge disagreements candidly. Wouldn’t they end up having to try to get each others’ publishers to reject journal articles and cancel book contracts?
Sheldon: What is really evident in this essay, is not the “truth decay” of today’s scientists (a separate issue) but the political weaponization of what should be neutral scientific models.
We checked; it’s Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed (Harper One, 2016). But these sales don’t last.
The book is Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide. Hart thinks Dawkins has finally found his authorial voice but you had better read the rest.
Contrary to the reviewer’s complaint, the author is quite right to portray Darwin’s human evolution theme this way. The underlying assumption that evolution proved the right people to be superior has created a key difficulty in getting any serious criticism of Darwinism accepted. It made a thesis that seemed highly plausible to many Europeans irresistible. Put another way, the highly evolved human never seemed to look like Evander Holyfield, fitness notwithstanding.
A reviewer attacking Michael Flannery, author of a book on Darwin’s co-theorist Wallace re his Discovery Institute ties, actually wrote a book with a serious racist in 2003. Of course, rules Darwinists dream up never apply to themselves.
Pearcey: Shortly after Johnson finished his book, his forewarnings were confirmed by the appearance of a book titled The Natural History of Rape, which argued that, biologically speaking, rape is not a pathology; instead, it is an evolutionary strategy for maximizing reproductive success.
Pinker thinks that things are getting better all the time but Berlinski says, nah!, no real change.
Hot tip from a sometime talent scout: They seldom look like they should. That’s a sign of authenticity. Experience looks different from packaging.
It will be interesting to see whether Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt has as much influence in years to come as Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial.