Jason Rosenhouse’s Whoppers: More Guidance on Reading Rosenhouse
Jason Rosenhouse wrote a book of over 90,000 word for Cambridge University Press, which was released in May 2022 and titled The Failures of Mathematical Anti-Evolutionism. I wrote an 18,000-word review here on this blog that appeared in June 2022. It was simultaneously posted, in a serialized form, on Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views blog. I thought it was a pretty good review. A bit long, to be sure, but Rosenhouse got so many things wrong that it seemed worth spending the space to set things right.
I’ve reviewed my share of books over the years, in scholarly as well as more popular forums. I used to have an open door at First Things when Fr. Richard John Neuhaus ran it. I also had ready access to Books & Culture when John Wilson ran it. The very first review Wilson asked me to write, on Mark Steiner’s The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem, received the Evangelical Press Association first place award for 1999 in the category “Critical Reviews.” You can see several such reviews listed here. Go to Amazon, and you’ll find my review of Erik Larson’s The Myth of Artificial Intelligence, which to date remains the review voted most helpful to readers.
So when I saw that in early July of 2022 Rosenhouse had written a reply to my review, I decided to hold off reading or responding to it. I knew what to expect, and I knew if I read it, I would be spending more time responding to him. I was largely satisfied with what I had written. I had spent enough time reviewing the book. And I had other work that I needed to get back to. Moreover, Brian Miller responded to Rosenhouse’s reply at EvolutionNews.org, convincingly refuting it, at least from what I could tell…
So much in Rosenhouse’s book is careless, sloppy, giving no indication that he has carefully studied and adequately comprehended my work or that of my colleagues. No matter. Darwinism can do no wrong and intelligent design can do no right. Thus, in predictable Darwinian fashion, Rosenhouse turns the tables, insisting that my review is 100 percent in error: “It is a person [= yours truly] of rare talent who can write at such length without getting anything right.” Concede nothing is the Darwinist policy. I’ve seen it with Ken Miller. I’ve seen it with Eugenie Scott. I’ve seen it with many other Darwinists. And it’s on robust display in Rosenhouse’s book as well as in his reply to my review.
Enjoy the rest. Why on Earth would a mathematician be a Darwinian anyway? It’s the sort of thing one expects of incurious biology profs who wouldn’t want to be members of any club that would admit them.