Category Archives: books

NPR’s Barbara King dismisses Tom Wolfe’s knowledge of evolution, but still recommends reading his new book

Barbara King, a retired anthropology professor at William and Mary (my alma mater), has a regular column at National Public Radio’s (NPR’s), Cosmos & Culture site.  The column this week, “Evolution uproar: What to do when a famous author dismisses Darwin, ” is devoted to Tom Wolfe’s new book The Kingdom Of Speech, which I reviewed […]

I’m #3

This is gratifying, despite the numerous creationists infesting the comments—people who don’t know squat about biology and nevertheless feel compelled to pronounce on it. Several people said, “We know nothing about speciation,” apparently unaware that I wrote a 450-page book telling biologists what we know (and want to know) about that very field! Even worse […]

Two morning tw**ts

Although I don’t follow anyone on Twi**er, as I’d never get anything done if I did, I do count on the kindness of stranger (and readers) to call interesting tw**ts to my attention. Here’s one that Grania sent me. I must admit, this solution to the trolley problem had escaped me… — Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) […]

NYT’s pathetic summary of Tom Wolfe’s book misses the boat on evolution and linguistics

What would a major newspaper do if they were discussing the views of a famous scientist who went off the rails about something unrelated to their profession? Take Lynn Margulis, for example, rightly renowned for promulgating (but not inventing) the idea that mitochondria within cells are actually the remnants of bacteria, showing an ancient event in […]

USA today gives Tom Wolfe’s book three stars out of four

This is what happens when a book reviewer is assigned a book in which he has no expertise whatsoever. Over at USA Today, Don Oldenburg reviews Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech. I’ve read the book, and its thesis is that human language is not in any way a product of biological evolution. […]

Tom Wolfe discusses his new book on NPR, claiming that humans “didn’t evolve from animals”; NPR doesn’t challenge that

This weekend, National Public Radio (NPR) host Scott Simon interviewed renowned author Tom Wolfe about Wolfe’s new book The Kingdom of Speech. You can hear the five-minute interview here. I just now listened to it, but several exercised readers emailed me yesterday complaining about Wolfe’s criticisms of evolution—criticisms that weren’t called out by Simon. Let me begin by […]

A reader defends the truth of Jesus’s existence

Reader “Fletch” had a comment on the post I wrote yesterday, “To uniquely protect Islam against mockery, Sydney newspaper suggests that Muslims be considered members of a race rather than a religion.” As you may recall, I criticized the Sydney Morning Herald‘s op-ed calling for Muslims to be included among special ethno-religious groups that, considered “races,” are […]

An accommodationist recommends five accommodationist books

Q: Why are accommodationist historians of science like Reza Aslan? A: The historians say the Galileo episode had nothing to do with Catholicism, while Aslan says that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. And this is by way of introducing a new Five Books piece in which a religionist recommends books on science and religion. As you […]

Can we please abandon the word “spiritual”?

I’m busy with my children’s book, and will be for a few days, because writing it is HARD. In fact, it’s about harder than any 1500 words I’ve ever written. I don’t have children, and know only that you shouldn’t condescend to them in books, and that the books should appeal to parents as well […]

How cats learn to mouse

I couldn’t resist reproducing this tw**t sent to me by Matthew Cobb, another Twi**er user whom I parasitize: 🎨 "Cats reading a book about the the art of mouse-catching and being instructed by an owl", circa 1700. — Bibliophilia (@Libroantiguo) August 2, 2016