A thorough introduction to scientifically reasonable objections to Darwinian evolution.


Debunking Darwin


A thoroughly researched—and irreverent—reconsideration of Darwinian evolution.

An engineer by profession, first-time author Anderson meticulously dissects the regnant wisdom regarding evolution in an attempt to demonstrate its lack of scientific rigor. The author’s argument begins by distinguishing evolutionary theory from natural selection, two notions typically conflated since Darwin made the latter the causal lever that moves the former. Anderson explains that natural selection is only one possible way to account for the movement of evolution among at least five competing alternatives, and it’s not the most empirically attractive. In fact, he contends that natural selection is largely generated out of complex inference and testimony rather than unvarnished observation. The centerpiece of this repudiation is a searching discussion of the key concept of “variation,” the historical accumulation of which Anderson says is something that simply cannot be perceptually pinpointed. Some of the book is devoted to Darwin’s own thought and some to his legacy as interpreted and reinterpreted by self-proclaimed disciples. Here Darwin emerges as a surprisingly derivative thinker who borrowed and reshaped the ideas of his predecessors. Darwin’s disciples, insistent on advancing their personal ideologies, transformed Darwin’s theory into a fully confirmed scientific consensus. The entire book rests on an uncompromising view of science as free from theoretical inference and testimony: “It should be remembered that testimony, of which inference is a part, has no merits in nature, whether it be from Darwin, Wallace, Dobzhansky, or the NAS [National Academy of Sciences]. Testimony adds faith, not fact, to the public debate.” Many will find this take on science gratuitously narrow; however, Anderson ably raises questions about the scientific status of Darwinism as well as its philosophical coherence. While informative, the section detailing the appropriation of Darwinian thought by nefarious political groups, like Nazi propagandists, doesn’t itself discount Darwin’s views. Still, this is a provocative book that thoughtfully reopens debates unfortunately closed by collective dogmatism.

A thorough introduction to scientifically reasonable objections to Darwinian evolution.

Pub Date: June 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4826-1298-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science...


Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers.

As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he’s egged on even more so by the people who’ve figured out—or think they’ve figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose.” Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy “to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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