The Discovery Institute is desperate to flog Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt, which, according to Nick Matzke’s review, is not only laden with ignorance and errors, but touts
God The Intelligent Designer as responsible for the rapid “Cambrian explosion.”
Ergo, they’re busy digging up scientists to approve of the book, though I doubt they’ll find a decent paleobiologist to give an imprimatur. Instead, in a post called “One of Britain’s top geneticists recommends Darwin’s Doubt,” the editors of Evolution News and Views, a DI mouthpiece, trumpets this:
Dr. Meyer’s book covers evidence from many disciplines — like genetics. So it seems relevant to consult one of Britain’s top geneticists, Dr. Norman C. Nevin OBE, BSc, MD, FRCPath, FFPH, FRCPE, FRCP. Once you get past all the honors and decorations, he is Professor Emeritus in Medical Genetics, Queen’s University, Belfast. In an appraisal of Darwin’s Doubt, Dr. Nevin says this:
“With the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, Darwin acknowledged that there wasn’t an adequate explanation for the pattern in the fossil record in which a wide diversity of animal life suddenly appeared in the Cambrian geological period. His doubt about the “Cambrian explosion” centered on the wide range of body forms, the missing fossil intermediates and the lack of evidence for antecedents.Meyer’s book examines the implications of the “Cambrian explosion.” It is a fascinating story and analysis of Darwin’s doubt about the fossil record and the debate that has ensued. It is a tour de force. It is divided into three main parts with several chapters in each — “The Mystery of the Missing Fossils,” “How to Build an Animal.’ And After Darwin What?’
Many leading biologists criticize key aspects of evolution. The main problem with neo-Darwinism is the origin of new biological information. Building a living organism requires an immense amount of information. The issue that arises is the source of the information and how can random mutations and natural selection generate the necessary biological information to produce such a diversity of animal forms without antecedents.
This book is well informed, carefully researched, up-to-date and powerfully argued. Its value is that it confronts Darwin’s doubt and deals with the assumptions of neo-Darwinism. This book is much needed and I recommend it to students of all levels, to professionals and to laypeople.”
You can hardly get better than that.
Well, you could, actually, for Norman Nevin is a well-known evolution denier and advocate of Intelligent design. He seems, in fact, to be a Biblical literalist. And he hardly has expertise on the Cambrian Explosion, certainly not anything like expertise of Nick Matzke, who is not even a paleobiologist. (Note that the DI will continue to ignore negative verdicts by scientists like Matzke and others.)
Here’s what the British Center for Science Education (BCSE) says about Nevin:
Nevin resolutely rejects both evolutionary biology and geology. He’ been an advocate of Answers in Genesis’s position on flood geology, openly accepting Tas Walker’s “work” on the matter. He openly believes that the Noah’s Ark storey is an historical event. He believes that the Book of Genesis is historically and literally true, lock, stock and barrel. (Tas Walker is yet another Queenslander pushing young earth creationism. He works for Creation Ministries International. Many of the leaders of the young earth creationist movement come from Queensland.)
BCSE has done a considerable amount of research on Professor Nevin’s position on creationism; it suggests that he is basically a hard line Biblical literalist. We’ve presented the evidence on our blog at http://bcseweb.blogspot.com/search/label/Nevin. It also suggests that he has some severe shortcomings in his knowledge of the science he seems to use to back up his creationist position.
Professor Nevin is an elder in the largest Brethren church in Northern Ireland (the Crescent Church in Belfast—see http://www.iguidez.com/Belfast/crescent_church/). It’s large by any British standards and is believed to have a capacity of some 2,000 people. The church is located in Belfast’s university district and has been a fairly regular venue for creationists visiting the province. These have included Monty White, then of Answers in Genesis.
. . . Nevin concludes in his book that “No coherent, cohesive theology has yet been offered that would allow Christians to embrace evolution with integrity.” There you have it. Any Christian who accepts evolutionary biology has “no integrity”. This statement is an affront to mainstream Christians in general, and (given the Vatican’s position) to Catholics in particular; no small matter in a Northern Ireland context.
And from RationalWiki:
Prof Norman Nevin OBE, is Emeritus Professor of Medical Genetics at Queens University, Belfast.
He was the leader of a group of scientists which endorsed the actions of the anti-evolutionary group of scientists which endorsed the work of the intelligent design supporting website Truth in Science in 2007.
He is the president of the Centre for Intelligent Design in Glasgow.
Really, Discovery Institute? You have to dig up literalists like this and tout them as scientists with expertise to judge Meyer’s book? It’s laughable. Who will be the next endorser: Ken Ham, Hugh Ross, or Kent Hovind?
It’s ironic that the Discovery Institute claims that ID has scientific respectability, but their “scientific” evidence is never published in real science journals—only books aimed at the general public. Publication in science journals would be especially important if there was any credibility to Meyer’s claim that no naturalistic hypothesis could explain the Cambrian explosion or the increase in “biological information” that accompanies it. For that would be a startling claim.
No matter how the DI waffles when trying to explain their failure to publish in genuine science journals, the real reason is that their ideas wouldn’t pass criticial scrutiny by the scientific community.