My WaPo review of A. N. Wilson’s Darwin biography

The new Washington Post “Outlook” section has on the cover my review of A. N. Wilson’s new biography, Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker.  I panned the book, for it was dreadful on both the historical (biographical) and scientific fronts. You can read my take by clicking on the screenshots below:


I’ll give just the last two paragraphs; do go read the whole thing. And then read the comments, where you’ll find several people denying evolution. That shows that even some readers of this fine newspaper don’t know squat about science.

Wilson’s use of the familiar and discredited tropes of creationism — humans are too special to be products of evolution, complex organs such as eyes can’t evolve, we see microevolution but not macroevolution, evolution can’t create new information in DNA, evolution is itself a religion, Hitler’s genocide traces back to Darwinism and so on — forces us to conclude that, even if he isn’t a creationist, he surely walks and quacks like one.

In the end, Wilson’s book is harmful, because its ignorance and denial of scientific evidence, coming from an established author, will promote the mistaken view that evolutionary biology is seriously flawed. And by flouting the research on Darwin carried out by serious historians of science, it betrays those historians and history itself.

I forgot to add in my review that the UK publisher of Wilson’s book—the original publisher—was John Murray, the very same house that published Darwin’s “Origin” in 1859. How COULD they?

97 Comments

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    And then read the comments, where you’ll find several people denying evolution.

    Doesn’t surprise me. The Trumpian troglodytes have infested the comments section of many a fine, ostensibly liberal, site, including The Washington Post.

    • XCellKen
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      There are plenty of Democratic Creationists

      • ploubere
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        I’m pretty sure there’s no equivalency. Denial of evolution is practically part of the Republican platform. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s actually spelled out in the platform.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        According to the Pew Research Center Report released a couple years back, evolution denialism was 24% higher among Republicans than Democrats — with over two-thirds of Democrats, but less than half of Republicans, expressing acceptance.

        Were I betting man — and, in case you’re interested, I am — I’d be willing to wager that evolution denialism is even higher still among hardcore Trump supporters. After all, as he himself said on the campaign trail, he “love[s] the poorly educated.”

        • Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but this doesn’t change XCellKen’s point; stupidity is only loosely associated with political viewpoint.

          • David Evans
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but stupidity on some topics is politically linked. Stupid arguments against Einsteinian relativity are widely distributed, stupid arguments against climate science seem to be concentrated on the right of the spectrum.

          • KD33
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            The data simply do not support your statement. The correlation with party is quite high. The stats on evolution are only the tip of the iceberg.

            • Posted December 29, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

              They do? In my opinion, opinions about other people’s opinions are usually wrong.

              What does the data actually show?

              %of Republicans who reject the theory of evolution; 39
              %of Democrats who reject the theory of evolution; 30

              If you think a difference 9% points is a high correlation, then ok.

              Going on to other sciences…

              %of Republicans who reject AGW; 78
              %of Democrats who reject AGW; 36

              %of Republicans who are antivax; 11
              %of Democrats who are antivax; 12

              %of Republicans who are anti Nuclear energy; 48
              %of Democrats who are anti Nuclear energy; 55

              %of Republicans who think GMO are bad; 39
              %of Democrats who think GMO are bad; 40

              Sources
              http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/07/15/are-republicans-or-democrats-more-anti-s
              http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/01/the-new-food-fights/

              • Mark Sturtevant
                Posted December 30, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

                That is interesting! It nicely undermines some of my presuppositions. But still, I wonder if some correlations emerge if one dissects it down some more.
                For example, on evolution it could be that most people who reject any evolution or at least macroevolution are religious conservatives and so are likely republican.

        • XCellKen
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          So 1/3rd of Democrats are Creationists? Gotcha. And its absolutely NOT possible that any Creationists commenting on WaPo or NYT are Democrats. They MUST be Trump supporters ???

        • Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Do you think any Trump supporters read the Washington Post?

          • Diane G.
            Posted December 30, 2017 at 2:52 am | Permalink

            I do know they show up in force in WaPo comment sections!

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 30, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

              Indeed. That was my original point.

              • Diane G.
                Posted December 31, 2017 at 3:24 am | Permalink

                And when I read your opening post here I had to go have a look at said comments. Lame as ever.

            • Posted December 31, 2017 at 5:05 am | Permalink

              I read the comments on the article and, yes there were some creationists, but there was no evidence that they were Trump supporters (unless you count the fact that they were creationists, which would be a circular argument). Nor was there any evidence that the commenters refuting them were not Trump supporters.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 31, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Only if you ignore two facts: First, the emergence of Donald Trump as a political figure gave rise to a brigade of his supporters who now regularly troll liberal sites like The Washington Post and The Atlantic. Second, creationism is strongly correlated with right-wing political views (and the Trump troll brigade is hard-right, indeed).

                No one’s saying the creationists commenting on Jerry’s WaPo article are definitively Trump supporters. Jerry seemed to find it odd that there were creationists among WaPo readers. I said I wasn’t surprised, given the extent to which Trump trolls have infested the paper’s comments sections.

              • Posted December 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

                I’m sorry Ken but I have been reading articles like JAC’s on the Internet for maybe twenty years and there have always been creationists commenting, even in the days when we thought GW Bush was the worst president ever.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Actually, it looks like it is only one, theot581, commenting several times. And rebutted adequately, I might add.

      • eric
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        There’s three now (though the other two are by the same guy; an initial post and then a response).

        I think overall the comments are fine. Getting 2/12 wacky responses is actually pretty good for the internet. I found the one noting that the UK reviews are similar to be interesting; it’s not something I would’ve thought to check but I’m glad to know that.

  2. sensorrhea
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    People who don’t believe in Evolution but hang out in the WaPo/NYT comments are often trolls of one subspecies or another.

    • XCellKen
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Or Democratic/Liberals who happen to be Liberal, and also happen to be Religious, and,wait for it, Creationists

      • rickflick
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Of course you are right, there is scum on the surface of every barrel. It just depends how thick it is.

  3. sensorrhea
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Just read it. Thorough yet pithy takedown! Well played, Sir.

  4. Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Well done, Jerry! You must be a Hobbit, giving us such a present upon your birthday!

  5. Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Excellent review of an unfortunate book. Darwin still has his bulld*gs!

    • Posted December 30, 2017 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      “Jerry Coyne is Darwin’s cat“ somehow doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? 🙂

  6. Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Wonderful that you have a popular platform to debunk this despicable attempt at demonizing Darwin and evolutionary biology.

  7. Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t going to read it anyway based on your earlier review. BTW – there is a creationist in the comment section. Or a Poe.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      It is likely a creationist, complete with misspellings, quote mines, and general ignorance.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Only one?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Pretty much. It calls itself ‘theot581’.

        cr

  8. joanfaiola
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks for a good review of a bad book. I have A.N. Wilson’s biography of C.S. Lewis – there was some character assassination in that book, but I accepted it as accurate. But now I wonder if I must take all Wilson’s writings with a pinch of salt. What a pity.

    • joanfaiola
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      And Happy Birthday!

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      This is exactly the problem of his own making. A successful author must think about the next book deal, and one who publishes histories or biographies absolutely must have care for accuracy. But here he has tarnished his own reputation in that field.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I think you have made it quite clear what a pathetic book this is. The problem with the post is they want you to subscribe to read anything they put out. Not in the mood right now.

    • Adrian
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Same here. I cannot access the article without subscribing. So I’ll go with your previous take-down.

      Happy Birthday to you Professor.

      • joanfaiola
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        I did not have a problem accessing the article and I am in South Africa. Go figure!

        • John Taylor
          Posted December 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          You get a few free articles every month. I’ll have to wait until the new year to read it. I waste all of my free articles following the latest Trump lunacy. My new year’s resolution is to shake my Trump habit.

          • Ido
            Posted December 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            Just delete your cookies and the article counter starts from scratch

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

              You are correct. Thanks for that.

            • Posted December 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

              Yep, it stop it from loading before the blocked sign appears.

            • Posted December 29, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              If your browser has a “private browsing” or “incognito browsing” option, enable it, then go to the WaPo link. These browser options temporarily remove all existing cookies, including the ones that news sites like WaPo and NYTimes use to track how many articles you’ve read for free this month.

              Remember to turn off the private/incognito browsing option after you’ve read the news story!

            • XCellKen
              Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

              I realized that recently. Right after I run CCleaner, I once again had ten free article waiting for me at the NYT

            • rickflick
              Posted December 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

              Or just pay a few bucks for a subscription and consider it, in part, a donation to good journalism. Something that is extremely valuable when the political winds are blowing against democracy and the constitution. I did.

              • Diane G.
                Posted December 30, 2017 at 2:59 am | Permalink

                + 1

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Not sure why that is. I just clicked on the picture and it went right to it.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I could read it without paying.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      You must have used up your free articles for the month. I think it’s worth subscribing to support responsible journalism.

    • rom
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      No problem from this bit of Canada.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I got through to the article just fine even with my ad blocker.

      In respect to AN Wilson, what it does – as Americans sometimes say – is rip him a new one.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I got it free in India; I’ll post the full text later.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      FWIW, if I liked to the review in Safri it was behind a paywall, so I tried opening WEIT in Firefox and linking from there, and bingo, it worked.

  10. Historian
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The review beautifully demolishes Wilson. But my concern is that the book still may become a best seller because of the reputation of Wilson’s previous books and what a person interested in reading a biography of Darwin will find at the Amazon site.

    Amazon describes the book in its effusive blurb as “Brilliant, daring, and ambitious, Charles Darwin [book title] explores this legendary man as never before, and challenges us to reconsider our understanding of both Darwin and modern science itself.” If potential purchasers should read the comments they will find a different story, but how many do that? For me, Wilson’s book falls into a category I call right-wing politics, religion, pseudo-science and culture. Right wingers fight a never ending war, using whatever means necessary, to convince the public of their views. Truth and intellectual integrity are not required; indeed, it is often a hindrance.

    Wilson’s book is but a single shot in the war. But, Professor Coyne’s review helps parry the blows. But, there will be more blows in the war of ideas. They will never end. The perversion of science by right wing religion is relentless and will never end. And if should win, the ideals of the Enlightenment will be finished. There will be no going back. Resistance to the right wing must never falter. I hope that will be the case, because if it will not be, a new Dark Ages will descend.

    • ploubere
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      sub

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      We have to think the tide is turning. The blue wave is coming and the numbers are on our side. The damage has been done and all but the idiots can see it if they take a look. A Times reporter gets a first hand look at the demented mind of Trump, simply by hanging around the golf course yesterday. That is my optimism for the month.

  11. BJ
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    COYNE SMASH!

    A job well done, Jerry. Clear, succinct, and accessible.

    It’s clear that Wilson’s misrepresentations are intentional. It’s not as if this is a man who doesn’t know how to properly research a subject. He wanted to write a particular narrative, not a biography.

  12. Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    John van Wyhe, who runs the Darwin Online website, lambasts Wilson at UK Amazon;

    “As a historian of science who specializes on Darwin, and the Director of Darwin Online, I have to say this is the worst biography of Darwin I have ever read.
    I was sent this volume for my views prior to publication and was dismayed at the catalogue of errors and misreadings it contains.”

    “The book is full of inexcusable, sloppy errors. These show both a staggering ignorance of the topic and lack of competent research rigor.”

    “It’s puzzling how anyone could get Darwin and his science so completely wrong. The other puzzle is how someone so unqualified to write about Darwin and the science of evolution today could dare to make such brazenly overconfident claims sweeping away generations of science and scholarship. This is “towering ambition” indeed.”

  13. ploubere
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I’m really glad to see your review getting prominent placement where it will be widely read. Wilson needs to be shot down.

  14. jhs
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    It seems that Wilson might have done a lot of research on lies and twisted views of evolution and Darwin. Academic research is intense, hard, and not monetarily rewarding. Facts are boring. Money is more important than facts. And alternative facts sell nowadays.

  15. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Terrific takedown, Jerry; many congratulations. I wonder if Wilson will have the balls (or the chutzpah) to respond in any way to the mountain of criticism this dreadful book has attracted.

    Oh, and many happy returns of the day for tomorrow!

  16. Peter Austin
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    More critiques to be read here …

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._N._Wilson#Critiques_of_Wilson's_work

  17. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Not the first review I’ve seen of a Wilson book getting drubbed.

    Ex-Christian-turned-humanist John Beverslius wrote a savage takedown of A.N. Wilson’s excessively Freudian biography of C.S. Lewis (available behind a subscription-wall at JStor). [Neither JB nor ANW were believers in Lewis’ apologetics, but JB thought ANW attacked him for all the wrong reasons!!]

    Wilson wrote the Lewis bio just after losing his Christian beliefs, and he seems to have written the Darwin book in the wake of returning to Christianity. The common denominator of both bios is excessive personal attacks on the representative of a position without substantive evidence to back them up.

  18. Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Great. The best Coyne. Congratulations.

  19. YF
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    A cogent and effective review, Jerry. It is particularly alarming to witness the extent to which emotion can trump reason in otherwise intelligent and educated people such as Wilson. This is what we’re up against.

  20. Posted December 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Charles Darwin.
    Origins of the Species
    158 years and still holding it’s own.

    A. N. Wilson.
    Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker.
    5 minutes and about to suck a kumera.

    Keep up the pasting Prof(E) Wilson for all the reasons stated has made his own grave for this so called biography.

  21. colnago80
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I find the notion that Hitler was a fan of Darwin ludicrous in the extreme. Quite the contrary, he rejected common descent in Mein Kampf.This claim by Wilson is sufficient cause to dismiss Wilson’s book as poppycock.

  22. rickflick
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Wilson and his publisher surely were aware that he’d get crucified by dozens of qualified reviewers. I think they just didn’t give a shit. The vast majority of potential readers will likely not see the reviews(though some will have been saved from mental contamination). Money is money, after all.

    • Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Note that the UK publisher was John Murray, the very same house that published Darwin’s “Origin”!

      • rickflick
        Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        That so much worse!

  23. Posted December 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    From Jerry’s article:

    “Wilson claims that the first 50 pages of an important Darwin notebook have been lost forever, asserting that Darwin destroyed them to hide his intellectual cribbing from his contemporary Edward Blyth. In reality, Darwin simply placed those pages in a folder for later use, and they can easily be found online.”

    If being caught plagiarizing is enough to sink someone’s career, so too should being caught in an “error” like that, from a historian.

    Incidentally, a commenter on an earlier post by Jerry about this book noted that Wilson’s bio of Hitler also atrocious, and linked to this review–

    https://www.newstatesman.com/books/2012/03/hitler-wilson-german-british

    That’s quite a string of errors about a historical figure who is also not exactly unknown to historical record.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      I read that link to the Hitler book review.

      Oooh I do love a good hatchet job. 🙂 It makes Jerry’s takedown of Wilson seem restrained by comparison.

      cr

  24. Jim Ritchey
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Excellent review. On the subject of dismal books about Darwin, I just finished, on the recommendation of a religious friend, Darwin’s Pious Idea by Cunningham. This was an agonizing read, hands down the worst book I’ve ever read. A dreadful and intensional IMO misconstrual of evolutionary biology to fulfill his agenda. Would love to see a Coyne Smash of this but the book is so horrible to such a degree that it doesn’t deserve the effort.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 3:06 am | Permalink

      I hope you can help your friend understand why tat book is so bad.

  25. Posted December 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    May spektral visions of Angry Catman haunt the sleep of A. N. Wilson!

  26. John Frum
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Even if it were true that Hitler based the holocaust on evolution, so what?
    The fact that nuclear weapons can and have killed many people doesn’t mean that nuclear fission is false.
    I’ve never understood why people make the Hitler / evolution link.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “I’ve never understood why people make the Hitler / evolution link.”

      For political reasons. Exactly the same way they try to link any other thing they don’t like with Hitler. Or Stalin. Or Mussolini, any of them will do.

      It’s just smearing-by-association.

      cr

  27. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Devastating takedown. What a maroon.

  28. Posted December 29, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I … have read hundreds of books about Charles Darwin and his science. If we exclude books written by creationists — a group that A.N. Wilson doesn’t identify with — “Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker” is by far the worst. Appalling in its sloppy arguments and unrelenting and unwarranted negativity, its most infuriating flaw is its abysmal failure to get the most basic facts right. It’s a grossly inaccurate and partisan attack on both Darwin and evolution.

    Hopefully that will be printed on the back cover of the paperback edition.

  29. Ray Little
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I thought I’d look into A.N. Wilson’s CV — library catalogue. He’s a kind of biographical whirligig, with bios of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth (I & II), Jesus, St. Paul (the apostle, not the city), C.S. Lewis, Hitler, and his cat (Wilson’s, cat, not Hitler’s. Hitler liked dogs.). There are also several novels and a book on how to read the bible, called ‘The Book of the People.’ None of this seems like a qualification for understanding Darwin.

  30. Mark Joseph
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Superb review.

    And, Happy Birthday!

  31. Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, it will take some time for the apes to critically understand evolution.

  32. Diane G.
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    Such a cleverly cogent, delightfully damning review! I hope (and suspect) that it was as fun to write as it is to read. 🙂

  33. Posted December 30, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Dr. Adam Rutherford has a lovely takedown of this book at Amazon UK, entitled: “Deranged: literally the worst book I have ever read about Darwin and evolution”

    His final line is great: “The pagination is excellent. I like the picture of the bat on the back cover.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      The reviews make better reading, I’m sure, than Wilson’s book.

      I liked ‘Cabbages” –
      “The ‘facts’ he states are checkable on google and found to be wrong. This isn’t just one or two, it’s almost all of them. I have read child’s homework on imaginary situations that were more believable.”

      cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 30, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Some of the one-line reviews are good too –

        “I think people may be missing the point, and that this may actually be fiction. In which case it’s still not very good.”

        “Makes an adequate doorstop. Dog chewed a bit of it but then threw it up. Pretty much sums up the quality of the writing.”

        and..

        “I’m guessing quite a lot of people are going to have good fun with this review section now.”

        cr

  34. Tim Harris
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    ‘Given that many of Wilson’s earlier biographies have been admired for their style and insight, and not criticized for pervasive errors, this new project is baffling.’ I’m afraid I don’t think it is baffling at all. There have been quite a few savage reviews of A.N. Wilson’s various biographies, but since he makes his appeal to the middlebrow reader who supposes that ANW is both intelligent and knowledgeable, a lot of the reviews which appear in newspapers and rags like The Spectator are written by mediocrities who, if not pals of ANW, do not know enough about those he writes about to take him to task. And the same applies to those who interview him on radio & TV. The man is well connected and uses his connexions.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted December 30, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      I was reading comments about the rise and fall of The Right Honourable The Lord Adonis PC in the UK (a political person who won a local Council election, once, and then apparently ascended the ladder of public regard through patronage. A commenter claimed that Adonis was a *courtier*, i.e. clinging to the powerful for his own advantage.

      I wonder how much of A. N. Wilson’s public regard is due to patronage and how much to his own ability? Is he one of the elite or is he a courtier?

  35. Posted December 30, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    It’s a very well-written and compelling review, and I hope a lot of people read it!

    I’ve encountered creationists online who make derogatory claims about Darwin in an attempt to disprove evolution, and I generally respond that it doesn’t matter what sort of person Darwin was. It’s equivalent to claiming Isaac Newton was a bad person, therefore gravity doesn’t exist.

  36. Les Faby
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I’m thrilled with Coyne’s review but why is it they don’t always pick experts in the field to review non-fiction books when the book is first published?

  37. Leigh Jackson
    Posted December 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Wilson believes, or wishes to believe, that evolution can be despatched in a few brisk human capacities: love, music and language.(New Statesman A N Wilson: Why I believe again 2April 2009)

    Where evolution fails, Genesis succeeds. God breathed life (not materialist oxygen-type life but dualistic-type life i.e. soul-type life) into dust.

    The explanation for love, music and language is dualism. The evidence is the bible, as any decent and honest reader must perforce admit.

    Necessarily thou art a dishonest villain, Darwin! And so be damned all who profess the blasphemy of evolution!

    The prejudice is entirely Wilson’s. Science will never be able to explain human existence. The bible does so. These are unchallengeable articles of faith for Wilson.

    Twelve months before publication of his book traducing Darwin Wilson lauded as “a truly great book”: Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton of the Discovery Institute. (The Spectator 12 November 2016)

    Wilson has sold out biography to defamation and science to anti-science.


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