Thursday, July 22, 2004

Owen's Bicentenntial

Here's a short article from The Taipei Times about a forthcoming celebration of the 200th birthday of Robert Owen. Owen was one of the foremost biologists of the latter half of the nineteenth century, and one of the last credentialed holdouts against evolution.


Britain's leading evolutionary biologists are preparing to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of Charles Darwin's most ferocious opponents.

Richard Owen went to his grave believing Darwin was wrong to argue that life evolved by natural selection operating on random mutation -- but he also discovered the gorilla for science, identified the dodo, coined the word “dinosaur” and founded London's famous Natural History Museum in 1881. A special exhibition and a Richard Owen trail open at the museum today.


A nice, short description on Owen's importance in scientific history is available here. A more detailed description is available here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Fischer Update

According to this brief report from The New York Times, Bobby Fischer is seeking asylum from any country that will take him. Fischer was detained at a Japanese airport on Sunday. He was travelling with an invalid passport. The Japanese authorities decided to deport him, pending the outcome of various appeals.


Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer has appealed Japanese plans to deport him to the United States and hopes to find political asylum in a third country, a friends said Wednesday.

Fischer was detained by Japanese immigration officials last week after trying to leave the country for the Philippines. Officials say his passport was invalid, and on Tuesday confirmed that he was being processed for deportation.

Fischer is wanted in the United States for playing a rematch against Soviet world champion Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992. Yugoslavia was under international sanctions at the time, and U.S. citizens were banned from doing business there.


Please note: The articel incorrectly states that Fischer lost the title of world champion in 1978. The correct year is 1975.

Sisson, Part Two

In Sunday's post I discussed Edward Sisson's contribution to William Dembski's anthology Uncommon Dissent. I continue that discussion now.

Sisson opens his essay by describing himself as a lay person interested in the evolution/ID debate. So what is it that Sisson finds convincing about ID?


Still, I want to point to one aspect of the theory of intelligent design that I have found particularly persuasive. Design intelligence theorists, notably the editor of this volume, William Dembski, have developed techniques for intelligence detection, techniques useful in detecting intelligent design both in human-made artifacts as well as in biology. Having reviewed a variety of attempts to rebut their work on intelligence detection, I have found them all unpersuasive. They do not persuade, primarily, because as any parent, business manager, or detective knows, we often are confronted by events we are told are accidental but which we reasonably conclude were intentional. Moreover, those teachers and educational systems that administer standardized multiple-choice tests are also engaged in a form of “intelligence” detection that operates similarly to the intelligence detection “filter” developed by Dembski. Those who reject the intelligence theorists' work on intelligence detection also inadvertently reject our ability to make qualitatively similar judgments in a whole host of other situations having nothing to do with the origin and subsequent diversification of life. To use a phrase common in litigation, the rebuttals “prove too much” because the rebuttal arguments, if true, cannot be limited just to the origins debate; they necessarily deny our ability to reason and judge matters that all of us agree we can reason about and judge.


Wow. That's about one step up from “If humans evolved from apes, why do we still have apes?” in the hierarchy of brain-dead creationist silliness.

It is William Dembski's claim that there is a certain empirically detectable quality, he calls it complex, specified information or CSI, which, when present in an object or event, indicates that it was the product of intelligent design. He further claims that CSI has been found in biological organisms, and concludes that said organisms are the product of ID.

If you reject either of Dembski's claims (personally, I reject both), then you will also reject his conclusion that the ID of organisms has been established.

According to Sisson, as a matter of logic (note the word “necessarily” in the last line of his statement), I am now required to reject the idea that we can ever be certain an object resulted from intelligent design.

Do I really need to point out the obvious? Isn't it possible that we can detect design in various situations, but that Dembski's CSI is the wrong tool for the job? Isn't it possible that CSI has the properties Dembski says it has, but that he has not established that organisms actually possess it? Don't both of these possibilities show that Sisson's argument, as a simple matter of elementary logic, is not valid?

Actually, things are much worse than this. Sisson does not cite a single rebuttal of Dembski's work, though he assures us that he has read many. The reason he does not cite any is that if he had it would have been immediately obvious that none of Dembski's critics have ever denied that in many situations we can be certain that an object was designed without knowing specifically who desgined it or how. Instead, Dembski's critics point out that his use of probability calculations is slipshod, and that his notion of specificity is hopelessly vague, among many other problems. If Sisson believes that these rebuttals are mistaken; that, actually, Dembski's probability calculations are impeccable and that specificity is well-defined, then he should tell us why. But he definitely needs to explain where, in making these arguments, Dembski's critics are rejecting even the possibility of detecting design in objects.

But it's even worse than that. For Sisson, skilled rhetorician that he is, moves solidly into crank territory by suggesting that facts that are obvious to any lay person have somehow eluded scientists. Why, any backwater rube knows that we infer intelligent design all the time, he implies. Do those arrogant scientists really think they can fool us, the infinitely wise public? They don't even realize that their arguments against Dembski actually prove too much! In arguing that the specific, technical apparatus Dembski has consturcted can not be applied properly to biology, they are actually arguing that it is never possible to infer intelligent design. How ridiculous! Ha ha ha ha ha!

I find it ironic that elsewhere in his essay Sisson accuses evolutionists of attributing to ID folks views they do not hold. He is doing precisely the same thing here.

Now, you might think that stupidity of that magnitude would be hard to top. Actually, though, Sisson is just getting warmed up. He also has some thoughts to offer on the low standard of evidence scientists are willing to accept in embracing evolution:


The scientific establishment, casting its eye over the diversity of life on earth (the observed data), sees that data - the diversity itself - as “overwhelming” and “enormous” evidence proving the “fact” that all those species evolved from common ancestors. Descent with modifications resulting from unintelligent, natural processes caused the diversity. The most remarkable thing one learns by reading the works of the contributors to this volume is the discovery that the claim of “overwhelming” evidence does not stand. The scientific establishment is looking at the tangible facts on the ground - the data, the diversity of life forms on earth - and it sees in that data evidence of facts that it passionately wants to be true and that it feels need to be true. But the message they have, since Darwin, convinced themselves is there in the observed data is simply not in the data. (P.80)


What on Earth is this idiot talking about? At the risk of sounding repetitive, Sisson does not cite a single example of an evolutionist claiming that the mere fact of life's diversity constitutes evidence for evolution. I defy him to produce even a single example of any scientist making such a claim. Frankly, I don't even know what it would mean to say “the diversity itself” constitutes evidence for evolution.

Once again note how Sisson is willing to attribute to his adversaries a position so obviously stupid that any sentient person should be able to see through it. Do you think that gives him a moment's pause? Do you think he ever says to himself, “Gee, it doesn't really make sense to argue that the brute fact of life's diversity is evidence for evolution. Maybe I should read a little more carefully to try to understand what scientists really think is evidence for evolution.”

Now, the two parts of Sisson's essay that I have considered here are both obviously and trivially wrong. His arguments in defense of Dembski rest on an obvious logical fallacy, and his assertion that “the diversity itself” is used as evidence for evolution is completely silly.

Yet Sisson thought they were good enough arguments to put them into print. And Dembski, who I have no doubt knows precisely how stupid these arguments are, let them go into a book that bears his name. What am I to conclude from this? Am I really expected to engage in polite conversation with people this stupid and mendacious?

Of course, Sission doesn't stop there. He also gives brief consideration to a few lines of evidence scientists actually do cite. We will examine those considerations in our next post.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Fischer Saga

Bobby Fischer won the world chess championship in 1972. He defeated (destroyed, actually) the then reigning world champion Boris Spassky. In so doing he became the only official world chess champion from the United States (there was no world championship in the mid-nineteenth century, when the Louisiana native Paul Morphy was commonly regarded as the best player in the world). Fischer's convincing win was all the more significant since he defeated not only Spassky, but also the mighty Soviet chess machine. And he scored this victory essentially single-handed. Unlike Spassky, who had the aid of several top Soviet grandmasters, themselves among the strongest players in the world, Fischer earned his victory alone. Fischer, largely due to paranoia, did not trust anyone else to advise him.

Fischer's dominance of the chess world was total. At one point he won nineteen straight games against grandmasters, miles ahead of the second-longest such streak. He once won the U.S. Championship with a score of eleven wins, no losses, no draws. To earn the right to challenge Spassky, Fischer had to go through a grueling series of three elimination matches. The first, against Soviet grandmaster (and concert pianist) Mark Taimanov, he won 6-0. That effectively finished Taimonov as a chess player. The second was against Danish grandmaster Bent Larsen. Fischer defeated him by a 6-0 margin. Larsen, still active today, never again challenged for the world championship. Then Fischer defeated former world champion Tigran Petrosian by a score of 6.5-2.5 (remember that draws count half a point). After a rocky start to that match, Fischer rattled off four straight wins.

Sadly, away from the chess board Fischer was totally disfunctional. His paranoia was legendary. When a prominent Russian chess magazine sent former world champion Mikhail Tal (one of the few grandmasters with whom Fischer had cordial relations, (Spassky was another)) Tal had to report back that there was no way he could publish the interview. The things Fischer was saying were so insane that no reader would have believed them.

Fischer seemed to lose interest in chess after winning the crown. He was supposed to defend his title in 1975 against Anatoly Karpov, in a match everyone expected Fischer to win. Karpov himself has said that he was not optimistic about his chances. But Fischer made so many unreasonable demands that in the end the world chess federation stripped him of his title and awarded it to Karpov.

Fischer disappeared from public view. He got involved in various religious cults and squandered all his money. In the late seventies he emerged briefly to play a handful of games with a chess plaing computer program at MIT. He won easily. He did not reemerge until 1992, when he played a return match with Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia. Despite the fact that Fischer had not played top-level chess for twenty years, while Spassky was an active player right through the 1980's, Fischer won the match easily. The play was uneven. Fischer showed occasional flashes of his old self, but was also clearly rusty.

The Fischer saga took another distressing turn after 9/11. Fischer had always been virulently anti-semitic, despite the fact that his mother was Jewish. He made a series of radio broadcasts in the Phillipines in which he said, among other things, that America deserved the 9/11 attacks, and that he was overjoyed about them.

His 1992 match violated U.S. trade restrictions against Yugoslavia, and he has been a fugitive ever since that match. He was recently detained in a Japanese airport for holding an invalid passport.

Today's New York Times has this article reporting that Fischer will indeed be deported. Apparently, Fischer will appeal this decision.


The Japanese government is preparing to deport American chess legend Bobby Fischer for staying in this country on an invalid passport, immigration officials said Tuesday.

Fischer was detained at the international airport in this city just outside of Tokyo last Tuesday after trying to board a flight for Manila, Philippines.

Immigration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Fischer, 61, has been held in their custody since, and said he was being processed for deportation. They refused to give further details, but said he could appeal their decision.


You might also have a look at this article from July 16, which includes a picture of Fischer.

In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, former world champion Garry Kasparov weighs in on the matter. Kasparov defeated Anatoly Karpov in 1985 and held the title until 2001, when he lost it to Vladimir Kramnik. Kasparov is generally considered the only person who can challenge Fischer for the title of greatest player ever. You can find his article here.


The stunning news of Bobby Fischer's detention in Japan came at a moment in which the American former world chess champion was already very much on my mind. I am currently finishing the fourth of my six-volume series on the game's great players and it is precisely this volume of which Robert James Fischer, forever known as Bobby, is the star.

This project has involved going over hundreds of Fischer's chess games in minute detail. It also means trying to understand the man behind the moves and the era in which he made them.

Despite his short stay at the top there is little to debate about the chess of Bobby Fischer. He changed the game in a way that hadn't been seen since the late 19th century. The gap between Mr. Fischer and his contemporaries was the largest ever. He singlehandedly revitalized a game that had been stagnating under the control of the Communists of the Soviet sports hierarchy.


As disgusting as Fischer's conduct away from the board has frequently been, the fact remains that he leaves a legacy of some of the most brilliant games of chess ever played. His book My Sixty Memorable Games is an absolute classic in the chess world; my own copy is falling apart for having been read so many times. Now sixty-one, there is no chance that Fischer will ever return to competitive chess. Hopefully he can find a little peace in his remaining years.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Sisson, Part One

Having been burned by Robert Koons' contribution to William Dembski's anthology Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (see here, here and here), I thought carefully about which essay to read next. I figured I already knew what Behe and Denton were going to tell me, and since there were several contributors I had never heard of I figured I'd have better luck with one of them. I eventually decided upon the essay “Teaching the Flaws in Neo-Darwinism” by Edward Sisson.

According to the short bio in the back of the book, Sisson “ is a partner at a large Washington D.C.-based international law firm, specializing in litigation arising out of multi-million dollar corporate acquisitions.” Early in his essay he tells us, a la Phillip Johnson, that he is “accustomed to the techniques of rhetoric, spin, ad hominem arguments, and other methods of verbal persuasion and intimidation.” He also assures us that he has some training in the evaluation of scientific theories, said training having been obtained from some undergraduate science courses he took at MIT. Interesting credentials. The fact that scientific theories can not be evaluated without considerable knowledge of the relevant subject area seems to have escaped him.

I had never heard of Sisson prior to reading this essay, so I looked forward to reading his contribution.

Alas, it wasn't long before I was waxing nostalgic for the logic and clear-thinking of Robert Koons. Sisson's essay is breathtakingly silly. Breathtakingly. I'm talking about a level of silliness to make the Young-Earthers weep with envy. If I live to be a hundred and fifty years old I might never again behold anything quite this silly.

I describe his essay as silly because it is almost completely devoid of any substantive argument at all. It is mostly a rehash of standard ID talking points, mostly presented with far less elan than I have come to expect from the ID's. Most of the essay is taken up with pathetic, high-pitched, goat-bleats about dastardly evolutionists being mean and snide to clear-thinking, endlessly patient, infinitely wise ID's.

Then again, perhaps I should be more careful with my rhetoric. After all, Sisson takes the view that the nastiness of evolutionists, and the civility of ID folks, tells us something about where the truth lies:


Finally, in judging the nature of the debate over the origin and subsequent diversity of life, there is another aspect of litigation that sheds light on why the debate is conducted as it is. A psychology that commonly operates in litigation is that opposing lawyers are primed to reject every statement by the other side-for there is no advantage in considering that the statements might be true. Lawyers are not engaged in a mutual search for truth. In comparing the writings of the science-trained advocates of intelligent design with the writings of their opponents, I see that psychology occurring again and again on just one side of the debate: the side of the science establishment. That psychology is not evident in the work of intelligent design proponents that I have read. The fact that it is missing from their work is one reason why I have come to trust them more than their opponents in this debate. I think that the intelligent design advocates want to talk with me about looking for the truth. In sharp contrast, the science establishment is primarily engaged in using intimidation, ridicule, and innuendo against its critics. (P.88-89) (Emphasis in original).


Sisson is so concerned with issues of tone and style that he comes back to this point later:


There is another characteristic element in litigation that also appears repeatedly in the evolution debates: the ad hominem denigration of the representatives of the other side, and the assertion that the opponent said things he or she didn't say. In litigation, lawyers regularly seize upon any action by the other side's lawyers that can be characterized as evidence that the lawyer is deceitful, incompetent, confused, or acting in bad faith. ...Anyone who delves into the books, and articles, and internet postings in the evolution debate will see instantly who employs these kinds of tactics and who does not. For example, the authors aligned with the scientific establishment always label skeptics of unintelligent evolution “creationists” in an attempt to box all doubters in with young-earth Christian fundamentalists, while adding sneering comments that denigrate their intellectual integrity. But if you read the advocates of intelligent design, you will find that these accusations are false. (P.91) (Emphasis in original).


Of course, evolutionists do not simply charge the ID folks with deceit, incompetence, confusion, and bad faith, they back it up with copious, some would say tedious, demonstrations of the validity of those charges. If Sisson finds those demonstrations unconvincing then he should tell us why. But using the fact that evolutionists often refer to ID's as “creationists” (an entirely fair attribution, in my view) as an excuse to avoid considering anti-ID arguments is intellectually lazy, to put it kindly.

Sadly, Sisson does not provide a single example of “the science establishment” primarily engaging in intimidation, ridicule, and innuendo. Not one example of an evolutionist attributing to an ID a view he does not hold. Not a single quotation from a piece of anti-ID writing to back up his charges. Not one. In fact, while he assures us early in the essay that he is well-read on this subject, he does not cite any piece of anti-ID writing at all.

Leaving this aside, let's consider the extent to which ID folks want to talk with us about looking for the truth.

Here's William Dembski, from his introduction to the present volume:


We now face a Darwinian thought police that, save for employing physical violence, is as insidious as any secret police at ensuring conformity and rooting out dissent. To question Darwinism is dangerous for all professional scholars but especially biologists.


And here's Jonathan Wells, from Icons of Evolution:


...dogmatic Darwinists begin by imposing a narrow interpretation on the evidence and declaring it to be the only way to do science. Critics are then labeled unscientific; their articles are rejected by mainstream journals, whose editorial boards are dominated by the dogmatists; the critics are denied funding by government agencies, who send grant proposals to the dogmatists for “peer review” and eventually the critics are hounded out of the scientific community altogether.

In the process, evidence against the Darwinian view simply disappears, like witnesses against the Mob. Or the evidence is buried in specialized publications, where only a dedicated researcher can find it. Once critics have been silenced and counter-evidence has been buried, the dogmatists announce that there is no scientific debate about their theory, and no evidence against it. Using such tactics, defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy have managed to establish a near-monopoly over research grants, faculty appointments, and peer-reviewed journals in the United States


And, what the heck, here's Sisson himself:


It seems that it is in order to promote deference to scientists that the scientific establishment makes and distributes in our schools “Darwin's acid”, corroding the allegiance of students to any other class of truth-pronouncers except scientists. That is the reason, I believe, that we are told high school students must learn this theory without being exposed to any of its weaknesses and inadequacies-so that deference to scientists becomes a foundational assumption of their mental make-up before they are old enough to question either the theory or the authority of the scientific establishment that is built on it, as they might if they were not exposed to the theory until college. (P. 93) (Emphasis in original).


So much for fretting about charges of deceit and bad faith.

Sisson does make a handful of substantive claims in his essay, and I will consider them in subsequent installments in this series.

But let me close this essay with a few words about tone. I am among those who pepper his anti-creationist writing with snide remarks and attacks on the honesty of my proponents. I do this for two reasons.

The first is that it makes for more interesting writing. Personally, I like my non-fiction with a little attitude, as long as it stays within some reasonable bounds of taste and decorum. A cold recitation of the facts may be good for the soul, but it's not what gets people to read your stuff.

The second, and more important reason, is that I think the behavior of creationists and ID's merits something stronger than polite discussion. It's okay to accuse your opponents of bad faith when they really are guilty of bad faith. It's okay to accuse your opponents of dishonesty when they routinely present quotations out of context. It's okay to accuse your opponents of incompetence when they make sweeping attacks against scientists but make basic errors in fundamental aspects of the relevant subjects. All of these charges have been backed up both in my own writing and in the writing of countless other scientists. What Sisson refers to as ad hominem attacks, I call telling it like it is.

Personally, when I read work by other people the first thing I ask myself is whether the argument being presented is any good. If it is, then I don't much care about the tone. If it is not, then I start asking myself questions about who the author is. Sisson never gets to any serious consideration of the arguments on either side. His essay consists almost entirely of sweeping charges against evolutionists, backed up with absolutely nothing, coupled with a blindness to the fact that ID's are guilty of precisely the rhetorical sins he attributes to his opponents.

Why shouldn't I describe such an essay as “silly”?

Sunday, July 18, 2004

And Another Review

Steve Reuland of The Panda's Thumb has called my attention to this highly favorable review, in Science and Theology News, of the book Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design by Paul Gross and Barbara Forrest, published earlier this year by Cambridge University Press. The review's author is Karl Giberson, editor of the magazine. Here's an excerpt:


Forrest and Gross think it’s time the scientific community sat up and took notice. Their carefully documented account is the first full-length treatment of the political agenda of what Phillip Johnson, the acknowledged leader of ID, has called the “Wedge.” The authors describe the Wedge as a movement with a plan to undermine public support for the teaching of evolution and other natural science supporting evolution, while at the same time cultivating a supposedly sound alternative: intelligent design theory. Creationism’s Trojan Horse, in the course of more than 300 well-documented pages, does exactly what the authors set out to do: uncover a sophisticated, well-funded, religiously driven program to get evolution out of the public schools.


The review closes, however, with a bizarre criticism:


What Forrest and Gross do not understand, however, in concert with their fellow academics, is that they are a large part of the reason why it is so easy for ID to rally and recruit anti-evolutionary troops. America is a deeply religious place where belief in God and belief in creation is fundamental. America is also scientifically illiterate; Americans don’t understand science and, for the most part, don’t care what their kids are learning in high school science classes. But promote a scientific theory that undermines belief in God as creator, and all of a sudden millions of Americans do care about the high school science curriculum.


I think you'd actually be hard-pressed to find an academic who does not understand that America is both deeply religious and, for the most part, scientifically illiterate. I'm not sure what Forrest and Gross wrote in their book to suggest that they think something different.

Gibberson continues:


The champions of evolution — the self-appointed articulators of the grand vision — must decide where they want to draw the line. Many of them (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, E.O. Wilson) insist that the evolutionary inn has no room for the idea that God created the world. Others (Michael Ruse, Ken Miller, John Haught) see in evolutionary theory everything from absence of conflict to encouraging support for the idea that a purposeful creator lies behind the world we experience.

Scientists, like everyone else, can believe that God created the world, or not. They can believe that evolution is compatible with that belief, or not. They can believe that tax dollars should be used to teach evolution to children and that local public schools should reinforce community values and beliefs, or not. But these decisions belong to everyone, not just to scientists. If the taxpaying parents of America’s schoolchildren are concerned that the public schools are undermining their values, those parents need to be heard. The ID movement is listening, and listening carefully, but it is not clear that the scientific community is doing the same.

Fighting anti-evolution in America is akin to fighting drug traffic. In the long run, unless we can reduce the demand for the product, attacking the sources will be of little consequence.


Giberson obviously thinks he has made a point here, but I'm not sure what it is. I think he's just repeating the old objection that the strident atheistic rhetoric of some evolution defenders, particularly Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, is used by creationists to rally people to their cause. That's certainly true, though we should point out that neither Dawkins nor Dennett has ever argued that evolution per se rules out Christian faith.

But what is it, exactly, that Giberson wants the scientific community to do that it is not currently doing? Most of the scientists who engage this issue bend over backward to avoid offending people. Most are content merely to point out the numerous errors in creationist arguments, and most specifically defend the idea that evolution poses no threat to Christian faith. What does listening to the public require of us?

It is not that ID proponents are listening to the public while scientists are not. It is that ID's are simply parroting things that are commonly believed anyway. The problem isn't that too many scientists are presenting evolution in a way that makes it unpalatable to people. It is that evolution itself is unpalatable, and all the whipped cream and chocolate sauce in the world isn't going to improve the taste for many religious people.

And I dont know any way of “ reducing the demand” for creationism except by atacking the sources. I spend so much time reading and refuting creationist literature because I cling to the belief (in defiance of all the evidence to the contrary) that people will be receptive to a good argument, clearly made. If Giberson can suggest some more effective way of spending my anti-creationist time, I'm happy to hear it.

In the end, I think Giberson is demonstrating the standard condescension of the pseudo-open-minded. Judging from the rest of his review, I don't think Giberson has any more respect for the creationist viewpoint than I have. But he chooses to close his essay with an admonition to those bad ol' dogmatic scientists that they need to listen more to the masses. Curricular decisions belong to everyone, he snorts, giving a good poke in the eye to that enormous group of people who thing scientists alone should make such decisions.

Scientists listen plenty to the masses, and they fully understand the armchair sociology Giberson describes. The question is what to do after we are done listening. When creationists defend their viewpoint with faulty logic and bogus information, what else can we do but point out that they are wrong?

And, for that matter, does Giberson believe that the taxpaying American parents who believe the public schools are undermining their values actually spend much time listening to what scientists are saying? If the issue is who is being more sensitive to the concerns of the other side, I think scientists win hands down.

Why Intelligent Design Fails

That's the title of a new book from Rutgers University Press. It is an anthology of essays tackling, and refuting, the major arguments of ID proponents. It was edited by Taner Edis and Matt Young. I had the pleasure of reading the individual chapters when the book was still at the manuscript stage, and I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. Sadly, the book is rather pricey. But it is worth every penny.

Apparently Mike Holderness of New Scientist magazine (basically the British equivalent of Scientific American) agrees. You can find his review here.


Each of the 13 chapters of Why Intelligent Design Fails is a patient and clear specialist rebuttal of the relevant part of these claims, in fields from molecular biology to the philosophy of science. It is an essential tool for anyone inclined to resist the wedge.

Atom Enabled

For those of you who have been asking me about RSS feeds, I have now activated “Atom”. Please note the new link to the left. Let me know if this is what you had in mind.