Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Astonishing innovation: Bethell’s review of Darwin’s Doubt defies tradition, tells you what is in the book

arroba Email

Evolution News and Views

Tells you what is in it?

Darwin's Doubt Darwinian reviewers of Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt do not do so, many media types are too dim-witted to do so, and the faith-and-science types are likely to be the worst of the lot*.

As David Klinghoffer notes at Evolution News & Views, Bethell

does something I have not seen in any of the hostile reviews that I’ve read so far: he tells you exactly what’s in the book, in detail. Revolutionary! Isn’t that revealing?

Here’s Bethell’s review.

Klinghoffer’s description reminded me of something I couldn’t at first place, and then after a while I remembered: The “books,” decades ago, listing prices for used cars in Canada.

One book, the “blue book,” was cheap or free to car customers and listed conventional claims about prices.

Another, the “red book,” you had to pay for, but it wasn’t just a sales tool. It was closer to what you might expect to find, whether you bought or sold.

Ah, but everyone really wanted a peek at the “black book,” a jealously guarded secret of dealers. It told you what dealers thought cars were worth, depending on their make, model year, and condition. The book, in other words, that they used in squabbles with each other. You might have been well advised to pay $50 for a peek at the black book if you could get one because the sales agent you would be negotiating with had it in the back office. It was his big advantage over you.

Anyway, if Tom Bethell is actually telling you what is in Meyer’s book and why it is a problem for Darwinism, read that review by all means. You will also want to test drive the car (oops, book), if you are interested, of course.

(*Because that last, usually nominally Christian, group waves a halo over the tax-supported public promotion of atheism in the Western world in the guise of “science” and suggests that we all raise our eyes upward while Darwin’s followers manage the microphone and the till … Uh no, here at UD, we keep our eyes dead level, thanks.)

Building on Sigaba's point: I don't think there's any indication Bethell actually read the book. He summarizes the sections which he could have done by merely skimming it. I'm not saying he didn't; he implies he read it and I have no reason to doubt him. The thing is, the people who've criticized the book very often give more detail- specific pages numbers and passages- in their reviews and yet everyone here claims they must not have read it. It seems to me that this is related to a general claim made by IDers: those that criticize ID don't understand it...to understand it is to accept it. RodW
I’m slowly becoming convinced that ID is primarily a theory of how the scientific community is cryptically corrupt and addled, working grand designs in back rooms for centuries like some Freemason cabal. All the design arguments seem to take a backseat to the Most Important Job of rationalizing of why no one accepts them.
I've actually come to view the ID movement as bearing a very evidence-based criticism the Darwinian evolution model. I have noticed though a recent dearth of material worth critiquing thus the round of rationalizing which I personally find rather tedious. I think the ID community should endeavor upon a point-by-point critique of the major tenets of phyletic gradualism. I personally don't care if every scientist that ever has or ever shall live holds to a certain view if that view is fundamentally unsubstantiated. kippie
Sigaba @6
Sure, but this particular reviewer is a shill.
Sigaba, why is he a shill? Because he agrees with the author's position before he read the book? Then aren't all the other guys who disagreed with the author's position before they read the book and reviewed it accordingly, aren't they also shills? You seem to insinuate that simply because you agree with the author's position, you are not fit to review the book because of your inherent bias. But then, how could anyone be fit to review the book given their inherent bias? Just wondering. Anyway, the point was that the reviewer actually dealt with the meat of the book, something most of the other negative reviewers seem to have avoided. tjguy
I just counted and of the 19 odd articles on the front page, 15 of them relate to ID rejectionsim in the mainstream sciences. sigaba
By the way, I think I'm being pretty fair in calling him a dilettante, every biologist and paleontologist that's reviewed the book finds its understanding of the material very faulty and superficial. If you have qualified people who disagree, you should linky. Or is this yet more evidence of the conspiracy? I'm slowly becoming convinced that ID is primarily a theory of how the scientific community is cryptically corrupt and addled, working grand designs in back rooms for centuries like some Freemason cabal. All the design arguments seem to take a backseat to the Most Important Job of rationalizing of why no one accepts them. sigaba
I think I’ll wait until I read David Berlinski’s opinion on it
Is there really any question in your mind as to how he'd review it? sigaba
How curious that so many professors have lauded the book. I think I'll wait until I read David Berlinski's opinion on it before deferring to our friend's megalomaniacal ranting and raving. Axel
sigaba @ 6: More boring ad hominem arguments. Yawn. Got anything better? Barb
Sure, but this particular reviewer is a shill. I think serious science reviewers gave up on Meyer's books after Signature in the Cell, when he outed himself as a dilettante whose misstatements and distortions seem to do little more than mislead readers and troll people who actually know something about biology. sigaba
It's innovation in that the reviewer actually read the book he's reviewing, unlike some others (Nick Matzke, PhD, comes to mind) who simply write bad reviews of books because they don't like the subject matter. That's intellectually dishonest. Barb
I didn’t see any expression of ‘concern’.
I guess the issue is I don't understand how a positive review in this case would be "astonishing innovation." This story is functionally "Pravda Regards Lysenko's Theory with Favor." sigaba
I didn't see any expression of 'concern'. Odd that you should have accused someone else of a poor choice of words, earlier in the day. It was you, wasn't it? Axel
Were you seriously concerned you'd get a bad review in the American Spectator, of all things? The Spectator is owned by Regnery, publisher of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Intelligent Design. Bethell himself is an committed critic of the scientific consensus, pronouncing vast conspiracies on subjects as wide ranging as the existence of HIV to the validity of General Relativity. sigaba
I really like this part of the review on the 3rd page; Darwinism and Materialism: They Sink or Swim Together By Tom Bethell on 9.18.13 (Excellent Review Of Darwin's Doubt) Excerpt: Meyer also reviews the “Rules of Science” decreeing what is permitted if an investigation is to be called scientific. “Methodological naturalism” is the main one today: Only material causes are permitted. That rule is the basis for Darwinian accusations that ID is creationism. ID does admit non-material causes, thereby flouting the (recently imposed) rule obliging scientists to adhere to naturalism all the way. Yet science itself abounds with non-material entities. Information is non-material and if it is essential for building organisms, how is it transmitted to the three-dimensional world of matter? There’s an obvious parallel, Meyer points out. How are the decisions we make in our own conscious minds transmitted to the world of physical matter? We know every day that we can transform our mental decisions into physical acts. We choose to lift our arm, and it lifts. Neuroscience hopes to explain this materially — to show how the brain’s nerve endings translate into consciousness, thence into acts. But one may predict that they will keep looking for a long time, because the gulf separating matter and consciousness is greater than that separating us from the remotest galaxy. That doesn’t mean that mind is too remote, unreal, or can be excluded from science. Mind is within us and nothing can be closer. Without it, the very ideas, theories, and arguments of science wouldn’t exist. If our own minds can disturb matter in ways that cannot be explained by materialists, is it not possible that some larger or more encompassing Mind can impact the world of nature? No, say the materialists. Why not? Because, in their philosophy, matter is all that exists. That’s why they call themselves materialists. And that is why Thomas Nagel’s book is so significant. His book is subtitled “Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.” Incidentally, Nagel has also gone out of his way to praise Stephen Meyer. http://spectator.org/archives/2013/09/18/darwinism-and-materialism-they/2 bornagain77

Leave a Reply