I will be accused of having “reviewed” Wells’s book here without having read it, but this isn’t a review: it’s a notice that a scientifically rejected charlatan has published another book, and has even issued a “teaser trailer” for it. Here it is below. There’s no intellectual content there, but of course the buyers of the book aren’t looking for truth and reason; they’re looking to confirm their own religiously-based biases.
Reading a book signals that one intends to address the information therein. When people are sufficiently well established, they do not need to know information in order to dismiss it. Indeed, that may be a bad idea.
In this case, it would definitely be a bad idea. Wells’s information that icons discredited two decades ago are still around should be embarrassing. Given that it isn’t embarrassing in the present state of things, an increasingly popular intellectual fashion is not to address the information. That prevents one’s readers from experiencing any discomfort with denouncing it unread themselves.
As Dr. Wells argues in Zombie Science, however, if his case rested on “incorrect or misleading” examples, the solution would have been for publishers to correct or get rid of them in subsequent editions. But they’re all still with us, like zombies.
Why? Coyne doesn’t venture an answer to this telling question. Come on, Jerry, why do the zombies persist?
Meanwhile, copious reader comments following Coyne’s post reveal just how much time his followers have on their hands. It’s interesting how much space they devote to whether Jonathan should have been allowed into the biology PhD program at Berkeley.
See what we mean? Coyne is giving his followers permission to make the issue how to fix Wells, not how to fix the textbooks.
They assume he ignored what he learned there, when actually it was his Berkeley education that convinced him that the icons (starting with Haeckel’s embryos) were false. More.
In fact, many such icons were sneer-lauded as “the most famous fakes in biology.”
Question: Has anyone researched the evolution of the zombie, based on natural selection acting on random mutation?
Note: sneer-laud Allow one’s inferiors to know that one has passed beyond the need for one’s information to be correct, and only admiring assent is now tolerated.
See also: Are polls scientific? Well, what happens when human complexity foils electoral predictions? (The pollsters did not need to understand the voters right?)
Breaking: Texas science standards survive the mother of all gravy bombs
What do we call people who refuse to read books the are attacking?
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