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The Darwin Conspiracy

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Strong, well-written take on Darwin.

Very good book. It gives the reader both the historical insight to Darwin and The Beagle voyage, while also adding a solid back end story. Definitely pick it up. You can get through it during a good rainy weekend.

posted by Anonymous on January 3, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Cheap shots

I really admire people like Darnton who can figure out a way to make a lot of bucks by smearing the reputation of someone unable to fight back. I guess he operates on the premise that 'the bigger they are, the more bucks that will fall.' Given that Darwin is one o...
I really admire people like Darnton who can figure out a way to make a lot of bucks by smearing the reputation of someone unable to fight back. I guess he operates on the premise that 'the bigger they are, the more bucks that will fall.' Given that Darwin is one of the most highly respected scientists in the history of biology, any one who defames him should be absolutely sure of their facts, and should provide an epilogue to clarify exactly where they strayed beyond known facts into speculation and fiction. Darnton lacks the professionalism to do either. True, he cites several references but nowhere does he identify which references, if any, document his allegations that Darwin stole the idea of natural selection from natives in Terra del Fuego, and from a fellow biologist -- whom he then murdered. I suppose Darnton¿s next book is going to be about how Newton stole the theory of gravity from a tightrope walker or Einstein learned the Theory of Relativity by channeling from space aliens. Darnton even tries convincing readers that Darwin's health must have failed because of intense guilt. He gives no credence to the possibility that Darwin picked up a tropical disease or parasite -- a fate that has ruined the health of many an explorer, even in modern times. After expeditions into Cambodia, one of my biologist colleagues end up with something like Blackwater feaver, involving massive hemorrhaging of his kidneys¿as well as Denge Feaver. Another guy¿s expedition to Borneo was yielded a parasite as thick as his little finger that burrowing its way through his body and face until it emerged from his eye socket. Removing the parasite intact was essential if it broke off in his flesh, it would have rotted in place and killed him. Hence, a month of agony, pulling it out millimeter by millimeter. One can only wonder what little demons Darwin picked up in South America and other exotic locations. Keep in mind that diagnosis 150 yrs ago wasn¿t quite up to modern standards. Indeed, it is only in the past months that investigators confirmed that Beethoven died of lead poisoning, presumably from drinking wine from leaden or leaded-crystal goblets. One can only wonder whether Darwin's remains were preserved and could be subjected to a modern postmortum. For now, I've got to place The Darwin Conspiracy on an even lower scale than DaVinci Code regarding historical veracity. Is it a good read, despite its defects ¿ not unless you are titillated by poor scholarship and cheap shots. S Stringham, PhD

posted by Anonymous on January 21, 2006

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    Posted March 16, 2011

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