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Recommending Larry Moran’s textbook without reading it

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Larry Moran wrote:

If Salvador Cordova can put together an audience of biology students at a reputable university (George Mason?) and get an Intelligent Design Creationist to ask these questions, I’ll be happy to come and answer them.

Some of them are easy to answer. The best answer is “I don’t know.”

That is very kind of you Larry. I will even do one better, I will suggest biology students take your classes. Really I don’t think I have to even make that plug, because I’m sure they probably have to take your classes anyway.

Many of my professors were openly anti ID and have campaigned against ID, such as James Trefil and Robert Ehrlich. Their anti-ID views did not stop me from taking their classes nor would their anti-ID biases hinder me from recommending them as professors for IDist or creationist students. In fact, it was Dr. Ehrlich’s encouragement that eventually inspired me to study physics.

I sense you are a good chem teacher, so I’d have no problem recommending students learn from you because I’m delighted when anyone learns more science. I’d even be delighted that creationist biology students score in the 99th percentile in evolutionary biology.

I will even plug your book here at Uncommon Descent, even though I haven’t read it, because it is a bio chem book written by a Princeton PhD like you teaching at a respectable university in Canada. I figure there will be something to learn by reading your book.

I’m willing to do this to help improve your books Amazon sales ranking at #54 in textbook biochemistry. Currently your book has:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

#54 in Books > Textbooks > Medicine & Health Sciences > Medicine > Basic Sciences > Biochemistry

Principles of Biochemistry

I’m willing to do this because as of right now there is no threat your book will out pace the #10 book in biochemistry on the list of Amazon Best Sellers in Biochemistry. And which book is in the #10 spot?

dbb cover


Just as a caution, because I didn’t read Dr. Moran’s book, as a matter of conscience, I must point out some of the 1-star reviews at Amazon:

For a beginning biochemistry text they make simple concepts overly complicated and wordy. Important concepts are not easily taken out of the text and they often refer to information in chapters that are much later in the text. The problems are the end of each chapter are extremely confusing and require you to do a search and find to figure out what tables you should refer to since the problem often does not tell you where you will find the information. Sometimes when a problem does refer to a table you go to look for the table and realize that they were all renumbered in the revised edition (though they forgot to change the table references in the problems). There are also numerous spelling and grammatical errors. Nothing about this text is straight forward or easy to understand.

In all my science courses this is probably the worst book I have ever encountered and have resorted to using other sources for learning most concepts as this book does not explain things clearly.


I really, really hated this book and it doesn’t help that my professor used it like a crutch. I could read and write notes about a chapter, get to the end of the chapter questions, and not have a clue on how to answer the questions. There also aren’t any examples throughout the chapter on how to solve the problems. All the answers are at the end of the book, but it really didn’t help because there isn’t anyway to find out where they got that answer.

but there was one 3 star review

It is EXTREMELY frustrating to think that a textbook, the supposed pinnacle of education, could contain such a vast number of errors. It really makes it difficult to get through a page knowing that the authors overlooked all of these flaws.

The book was supposed to be read first. Anyways, I have to admit that I am not into all those bio things, I am more of humanist person (composing narrative college essays is more of my thing). Still I have to agree with some of comments above, people. Thank you for giving some food for thoughts! I am reconsidering a few things now CandiceC
Thanks Sal. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not a chemist. I've bought Larry's book because I wanted to stay up to date. Larry definitely knows his stuff on chem, he's just not very good on conveying it, I think. Larry is probably the only high profile professor who is willing to discuss publicly the possibility of "considering" both sides of the spectrum; evolution vs ID at major universities, like U of T. However, he would rather become a Jehovah's Witness than admit that ID proponents are right :). He just loves calling them "IDiots" kevnick
Btw Welcome to Uncommon Descent.
BTW: I’ve bought Larry’s book Principles of Biochemistry second hand last year for $5 and $20 shipping and handling
I know nothing of chemistry (2 college semesters). If you know chemistry, then a SPECIAL welcome to uncommon descent. You can help us out as the local chemistry expert, and we won't have to rely on Larry as much to vet some of the chem stuff. :-) scordova
BTW: I've bought Larry's book Principles of Biochemistry second hand last year for $5 and $20 shipping and handling. It is really terribly written just like Larry's blog. Most of the times I felt that some pages were actually missing, as some subjects were not adequately explained. On the other hand, some chapters were too long and unnecessary detailed. I feel that the his book reviews are really legitimate and have not been written by Larry's former students who were just pissed off at him for forcing them to use his textbook. kevnick
Scordova, I fully understand what you are saying. I agree somewhat. Moran has already fired back at you. He thinks that you assaulted him. I'm going to stand back and watch just to see what is going to come out of this. I hope that in the end you will agree with me at least to a degree. kevnick
Kevnick, I appreciate your thoughts, but Dr. Moran isn't a typical internet voice, he is a university professor of science. The ID community will benefit by staying engaged and involved with opposing viewpoints from qualified scientists. In fact many ID proponents were students of people like Moran. Learning from them is a necessary process, and if there were nothing to learn from Dr. Moran, this would be a different story. Dr. Moran has (if you strip away all the rhetoric) given some nice public peer review that's actually favorable to ID. But he can't actually be forthright and say it when there was closet agreement. He has to always say, "those IDiots." Bill Dembski started a tradition of leaking parts of his book on the internet in order to get critics to clean up some mistakes before the books went to print. They have done that and provided lots of free editorial service. Dr. Moran and Dr. Matzke have been doing that for a while now. scordova
Scordova, I know very well what you are trying to do, but that is what Moran wants. He wants to get under your skin. Don't let him! He is a typical narcissist who thrives on stuff like that. Don't give him this pleasure! If UD ignores him, that is the greatest revenge you can give him. He loves attention and a lot of you, not all, give him what he wants. He thrives on it. If he can't bully you, his boring blog will go to the dogs. I guarantee you. kevnick
JoeCoder, I second that. As I said, I sense Larry is a good teacher. scordova
No sarcasm intended: I haven't read the textbook but I'm actually surprised that it has negative reviewers saying it's hard to understand and follow. When Dr. Moran is talking biology on his blog I find it well-explained and easy to follow. Maybe it's one or more of the co-authors who are poor at explaining? JoeCoder
FWIW, The reason we discontinued official meetings was biology professors started attending and I feared Big Brother was identifying dissenting students. The meetings have been moved off campus. And even then, at one off campus conference, ICC 2013, the PhD's, grads, and undergrad bio students had pseudonames on their name tags lest evolutionary biologists or other infiltrators arrived at the meeting. Lo and behold, at ICC 2008, there was Jason Rosenhouse at the conference. Not that I think Dr. Rosenhouse would be involved in such tactics as he was there to write a book for Oxford University Press about those pesky creationists. But still do you want to risk being mentioned in books that talk about the threat of ID and creation? There could have been the chance sensitive identifying information could have been accidentally leaked. At ICC 2013, there was an evolutionary biologist there, and I hope he didn't remember the names of the guilty parties in attendance. Thankfully lots of the bio students walked around with pseudo name tags. Can you blame the fear? Just read the internet blogs written by science professors, and tell me whether you think an ID science student could be a little worried. They should. I thank God I survived the ordeal as I thought the axe would come down any time myself as I matriculated through the institutions. Thankfully for me, I wasn't a bio student. I've encouraged dissenters to keep their opinions to themselves until after they've gotten their diplomas. scordova
If Salvador Cordova can put together an audience of biology students at a reputable university (George Mason?)
Well, I did just that in 2005 at George Mason, and not only biology students but a biology professor, Caroline Crocker. A reporter from Nature was present to report on the meeting. About 3 weeks after the report was published on April 28, 2005 in Nature, Caroline Crocker was dismissed from GMU. Biology students who dissented from evolutionism have been occasionally harassed by professors at GMU. Not that the professors had any more answers than PZ Myers. scordova
Many of my professors were openly anti ID and have campaigned against ID, such as James Trefil and Robert Ehrlich. Their anti-ID views did not stop me from taking their classes nor would their anti-ID biases hinder me from recommending them as professors for IDist or creationist students.
When I was trying to learn about evolution, I watched the evolutionary biology course from Berkeley. These courses are all still available on video on the web. In total I watched four different professors/lecturers. All would have been anti-ID. None of them presented any information that refuted ID. Essentially all they presented was micro-evolution with some description of the changes that took place over time but with no evidence for a mechanism for these changes. Made me believe that ID was on a firm footing since no one really disputed it with evidence. jerry
It seems like Darwin's Black Box is the better seller of Behe's books, however I always thought the Edge of Evolution was the really devastating one for Darwinism. Jehu
It's called website drift scordova - occasionally you get random changes in ranking that appear neutral but then they get fixed and end up looking very different to another website. Common belief that, don't you know. JD Dr JDD
I did the following google: "most wished for books biochemistry" Here is the first hit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/most-wished-for/books/13511 As of this writing Behe's is the 2nd most wished for book on biochemistry. Is Amazon just optimizing its results for me? Do Darwinists get the same or similar ranking? scordova
Considering what they do call you (and me), that would be a step up. :) Also, considering the source, one realizes that their desperation drives them to such things. :cool: Joe
I sort of would prefer the label ID Cretanist, myself. scordova
See what mutations do? :) What's an "Intelligent Design Creationist"? Joe
What's an "Intelligent Design Cretioist"? Is that an IDist who also accepts Biblical Creation? Or is Larry saying that there is only two alternatives- unguided evolution and Special Creation? Methinks Larry is just obtuse. Contrived dualism at its best... Joe

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