Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Designby Stephen C. Meyer
When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil/b>
When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock.
In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life—a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate the central importance of biological information—stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells—to building animal forms.
Expanding on the compelling case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer argues that the origin of this information, as well as other mysterious features of the Cambrian event, are best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.
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By Stephen Meyer
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2013 Stephen Meyer
All rights reserved.
When Charles Darwin finished his famous book, he thought that he had
explained every clue but one.
By anyone's measure, On the Origin of Species was a singular achieve-
ment. Like a great Gothic cathedral, the ambitious work integrated many
disparate elements into a grand synthesis, explaining phenomena in fields
as diverse as comparative anatomy, paleontology, embryology, and bio-
geography. At the same time, it was impressive for its simplicity. Darwin's
Origin explained many classes of biological evidence with just two central
organizing ideas. The twin pillars of his theory were the ideas of universal
common ancestry and natural selection.
The first of these pillars, universal common ancestry, represented
Darwin's theory of the history of life. It asserted that all forms of life have
ultimately descended from a single common ancestor somewhere in the
distant past. In a famous passage at the end of the Origin, Darwin argued
that “all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have de-
scended from some one primordial form.”1 Darwin thought that this pri-
mordial form gradually developed into new forms of life, which in turn
gradually developed into other forms of life, eventually producing, after
many millions of generations, all the complex life we see in the present.
Biology textbooks today usually depict this idea just as Darwin did,
with a great branching tree. The trunk of Darwin's tree of life represents
the first primordial organism. The limbs and branches of the tree repre-
sent the many new forms of life that developed from it (see Fig. 1.1). The
4 DARWIN'S DOUBT
vertical axis on which the tree is plotted represents the arrow of time. The
horizontal axis represents changes in biological form, or what biologists
call “morphological distance.”
Biologists often call Darwin's theory of the history of life “universal
common descent” to indicate that every organism on earth arose from
a single common ancestor by a process of “descent with modification.”
Darwin argued that this idea best explained a variety of biological evi-
dences: the succession of fossil forms, the geographical distribution of
Darwin's evolutionary tree of life, as depicted by the nineteenth-century German evolu-
tionary biologist Ernst Haeckel.
Darwin's Nemesis 5
various species (such as GalÃpagos finches), and the anatomical and em-
bryological similarities among otherwise highly distinct organisms.
The second pillar of Darwin's theory affirmed the creative power of a
process he called natural selection, a process that acted on random varia-
tions in the traits or features of organisms and their offspring.2 Whereas
the theory of universal common descent postulated a pattern (the branch-
ing tree) to represent the history of life, Darwin's idea of natural selection
referred to a process that he said could generate the change implied by his
branching tree of life.
Darwin formulated the idea of natural selection by analogy to a well-
known process, that of “artificial selection” or “selective breeding.”
Anyone in the nineteenth century familiar with the breeding of domestic
animals—dogs, horses, sheep, or pigeons, for example—knew that human
breeders could alter the features of domestic stock by allowing only ani-
mals with certain traits to breed. A sheepherder from the north of Scot-
land might breed for a woollier sheep to enhance its chances of survival
in a cold northern climate (or to harvest more wool). To do so, he would
choose only the woolliest males and woolliest ewes to breed. If generation
after generation he continued to select and breed only the woolliest sheep
among the resulting offspring, he would eventually produce a woollier
breed of sheep. In such cases, “the key is man's power of accumulative
selection,” wrote Darwin. “Nature gives successive variations; man adds
them up in certain directions useful to him.”3
Darwin noted that pigeons have been coaxed into a dizzying variety of
breeds: the carrier, with its elongated eyelids and a “wide gape of mouth”;
the “short-faced tumbler,” with its “beak in outline almost like that of a
finch”; the common tumbler, with its penchant for flying in close forma-
tion and “tumbling in the air head over heels”; and, perhaps strangest of
all, the pouter, with its elongated legs, wings, and body overshadowed by
its “enormously developed crop, which it glories in inflating” for its aston-
Of course, pigeon breeders achieved these startling metamorphoses by
carefully sifting and selecting. But, as Darwin pointed out, nature also has
a means of sifting: defective creatures are less likely to survive and repro-
duce, while those offspring with beneficial variations are more likely to sur-
vive, reproduce, and pass on their advantages to future generations. In the
Origin, Darwin argued that this process, natural selection acting on random
6 DARWIN'S DOUBT
variations, could alter the features of organisms just as intelligent selection
by human breeders can. Nature itself could play the role of the breeder.
Consider once more our flock of sheep. Imagine that instead of a human
selecting the woolliest males and ewes to breed, a series of very cold win-
ters ensures that all but the very woolliest sheep in a population die. Now
again only very woolly sheep will remain to breed. If the cold winters con-
tinue over several generations, will the result not be the same as before?
Won't the population of sheep eventually become discernibly woollier?
This was Darwin's great insight. Nature—in the form of environmental
changes or other factors—could have the same effect on a population of or-
ganisms as the intentional decisions of an intelligent agent. Nature would
favor the preservation of certain features over others—specifically, those
that conferred a functional or survival advantage upon the organisms
possessing them—causing the features of the population to change. And
the resulting change will have been produced not by an intelligent breeder
choosing a desirable trait or variation—not by “artificial selection”—but
by a wholly natural process. What's more, Darwin concluded that this
process of natural selection acting on randomly arising variations had
been “the chief agent of change” in generating the great
Excerpted from Darwin's Doubt by Stephen Meyer. Copyright © 2013 Stephen Meyer. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Meet the Author
Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science after working as an oil industry geophysicist. He now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington. He authored Signature in the Cell, a (London) Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year.
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This New York Times bestseller by Cambridge-trained Ph.D. Stephen Meyer is creating a major scientific controversy. Darwinists don't like it. Meyer writes about the complex history of new life forms in an easy to understand narrative style. He takes the reader on a journey from Darwin to today while trying to discover the best explanation for how the first groups of animals arose. He shows, quite persuasively, that Darwinian mechanisms don't have the power to do the job. Using the same investigative forensic approach Darwin used over 150 years ago, Meyer investigates the central doubt Darwin had about his own theory. Namely, that the fossil record did not contain the rainbow of intermediate forms that his theory of gradual evolutionary change required. However, Darwin predicted that future discoveries would confirm his theory. Meyer points out that they haven't. We've thoroughly searched the fossil record since Darwin and confirmed what Darwin originally saw himself: the discontinuous, abrupt appearance of the first forms of complex animal life. In fact, paleontologists now think that roughly 20 of the 28 animal phyla (representing distinct animal "body plans") found in the fossil record appear abruptly without ancestors in a dramatic geological event called the Cambrian Explosion. And additional discoveries since Darwin have made it even worse for his theory. Darwin didn't know about DNA or the digital information it contains that makes life possible. He couldn't have appreciated, therefore, that building new forms of animal life would require millions of new characters of precisely sequenced code--that the Cambrian explosion was a massive explosion of new information. For modern neo-Darwinism to survive, there must be an unguided natural mechanism that can create the genetic information and then add to it massively, accurately and within the time allowed by the fossil record. Is there such a mechanism? The answer to that question is the key to Meyer's theory and entire book. Meyer shows that the standard "neo-Darwinian" mechanism of mutation and natural selection mechanism lacks the creative power to produce the information necessary to produce new forms of animal life. He also reviews the various post-Darwinian speculations that evolutionary biologists themselves are now proposing to replace the crumbling Darwinian edifice. None survive scrutiny. Not only is there no known natural mechanism that can create the new information required for new life forms, there is no known natural mechanism that can create the genetic code for the first life either (which was the subject of Meyer's previous book Signature in the Cell). When Meyer suggests that an intelligent designer is the best explanation for the evidence at hand, critics accuse him of being anti-scientific and endangering sexual freedom everywhere (OK, they don't explicitly state that last part). They also claim that Meyer commits the God of the gaps fallacy. But he does not. As Meyer points out, he's not interpreting the evidence based on what we don't know, but what we do know. The geologically sudden appearance of fully formed animals and millions of lines of genetic information point to intelligence. That is, we don't just lack a materialistic explanation for the origin of information. We have positive evidence from our uniform and repeated experience that another kind of cause--namely, intelligence or mind--is capable of producing digital information. Thus, he argues that the explosion of information in the Cambrian period provides evidence of this kind of cause acting in the history of animal life. (Much like any sentence written by one of Meyer's critics is positive evidence for an intelligent being). This inference from the data is no different than the inference archaeologists made when they discovered the Rosetta Stone. It wasn't a "gap" in their knowledge about natural forces that led them to that conclusion, but the positive knowledge that inscriptions require intelligent inscribers. Of course, any critic could refute Meyer's entire thesis by demonstrating how natural forces or mechanisms can generate the genetic information necessary to build the first life and then massive new amounts of genetic information necessary for new forms of animal life. But they can't and hardly try without assuming what they are trying to prove (see Chapter 11). Instead, critics attempt to smear Meyer by claiming he's doing "pseudo science" or not doing science at all. Well, if Meyer isn't, doing science, then neither was Darwin (or any Darwinist today). Meyer is using the same forensic or historical scientific method that Darwin himself used. That's all that can be used. Since these are historical questions, a scientist can't go into the lab to repeat and observe the origin and history of life. Scientists must evaluate the clues left behind and then make an inference to the best explanation. Does our repeated experience tell us that natural mechanisms have the power to create the effects in question or is intelligence required? Meyer writes, "Neo-Darwinism and the theory of intelligent design are not two different kinds of inquiry, as some critics have asserted. They are two different answers--formulated using a similar logic and method of reasoning--to the same question: `What caused biological forms and the appearance of design in the history of life?'" The reason Darwinists and Meyer arrive at different answers is not because there's a difference in their scientific methods, but because Meyer and other Intelligent Design proponents don't limit themselves to materialistic causes. They are open to intelligent causes as well (just like archaeologists and crime scene investigators are). So this is not a debate about evidence. Everyone is looking at the same evidence. This is a debate about how to interpret the evidence, and that involves philosophical commitments about what causes will be considered possible before looking at the evidence. If you philosophically rule out intelligent causes beforehand--as the Darwinists do--you will never arrive at the truth if an intelligent being actually is responsible. Since all evidence needs to be interpreted, science doesn't actually say anything--scientists do. So if certain self-appointed priests of science say that a particular theory is outside the bounds of their own scientific dogma, that doesn't mean that the theory is false. The issue is truth--not whether something fits a materialistic definition of science. I'm sure Darwinists will continue to throw primordial slime at Meyer and his colleagues. But that won't make a dent in his observation that whenever we see information like that required to produce the Cambrian Explosion, intelligence is always the cause. In fact, I predict that when open-minded people read Darwin's Doubt, they'll see that Dr. Meyer makes a very intelligently designed case that intelligent design is actually true. It's just too bad that many Darwinists aren't open to that truth--they aren't even open minded enough to doubt Darwin as much as Darwin himself was.
Dr. Meyer's book is meticulously researched with citations to hundreds of scientific articles and journals. His writing makes it easy for even non technical readers to understand .
The Most Comprehensive Critique of the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm Written To Date There's a reason why Darwin's Doubt is being lauded as a tour de force. Simply put, it's the most comprehensive critique of the neo-Darwinian paradigm written to date. Trained in philosophy of science at Cambridge University, Stephen C. Meyer argues that the Cambrian explosion presents two specific challenges to contemporary neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. The first is the one Darwin acknowledged in Origin of Species as a problem for his original theory of evolution--namely that the geologically sudden appearance of many novel forms of animal life in the Cambrian period, and the absence of fossilized ancestral precursors for most of these animals in lower Precambrian strata, challenges the gradualistic picture of evolution envisioned by both Darwin and modern neo-Darwinians. Second, and more importantly, Meyer argues that the neo-Darwinian mechanism lacks the creative power to produce the new animal forms that first appear in the Cambrian period, a view that many evolutionary biologists themselves now share. Meyer argues that mutation & selection mechanism cannot produce both the genetic and epigenetic information necessary to build the animals that arise in Cambrian. Meyer offers 5 detailed scientific critiques of the alleged creative power of the mutation/selection mechanism: 1. The neo-Darwinian mechanism cannot efficiently search combinatorial sequence space to find the exceedingly rare DNA sequences that yield functional genes and proteins. 2. Peer-reviewed studies show that multiple coordinated mutations would be necessary to produce functional proteins, but these could not arise within realistic waiting times allowed by the fossil record. This section gives the reader a tour of scientific research studies published by the ID-research community. 3. The neo-Darwinian mechanism could never produce new body plans given that acting body plan mutations are lethal, or trivial. 4. Mutations could not alter development gene regulatory networks necessary to produce new developmental regulatory networks, an important requirement for building new animal body plans. 5. Much epigenetic (i.e., "beyond the gene") information necessary to build new animal body plans cannot be produced by Darwinian mechanisms. Meyer also looks at various "post-Darwinian" models and shows why they too fail to explain the origin of information necessary to generate new body plans. But there's another post-Darwinian model which Meyer encourages us to consider: intelligent design. Using the standard methods of historical sciences and rigorous abductive logic, he establishes ID as the only known cause capable of generating the information and top-down design that are required to build the animal body plans which appear explosively in the Cambrian period. Whether you’re a student, a scientist, or an interested lay person, this book will bring you comprehensively up-to-date on why leading biologists are now saying we live in a "post-Darwinian" world. Full Disclosure: My name is Casey Luskin and yes, as everyone knows, I work at Discovery Institute. Please note: Attacking a person's arguments because of where they work is a logical fallacy called the genetic fallacy.
This is a fascinating study of the various theories scientists have advanced to explain the astonishing emergence of numerous new animal species in the Cambrian Period. Meyer has the ability to present these theories with clarity and appreciation, while exposing their weaknesses. Meyer's answer to the inadequacies of the orthodox explanations is persuasive: the evidence for intelligent design cannot be ignored without limiting the freedom of scientific inquiry. The reader will take away a valuable understanding of the current debate on this important topic.
As a biologist myself, I thought this was a brilliant book. It laid out the materialistic explanations(not that intelligent design can't be materialistic or naturalist) and showed the problems with the current theories. It is a fair and critical book to anyone that has actually read it.
I have read Dr Meyer's "Signature in the Cell" and loved what he brought out concerning what science is showing us about the world around us. So much has changed from Darwin's day that it's near impossible to believe he would still hold to his original theory if he knew what modern science is discovering. Darwin's Doubt is a brilliant example of why Darwin would have to second guess his own ideas. Darwin already recognized the problem that Meyer brings out in this book but he simply assumed that the problem would go away in the future as more fossils were found......he assumed incorrectly. If anything the problem is exacerbated by the new discoveries in microbiology and paleontology. Growing up did you ever notice that throughout every grade they only talked about what they thought the strengths of Darwinian evolution were but they never talked about the weaknesses of Darwinian evolution? Makes you wonder if the school system is really interested in educating children as opposed to indoctrinating them. This book finally gives you 'the other side' of the argument. Meyer carefully dissects the Pre Cambrian to Cambrian problems that still have yet to be resolved and, with all of the fossils we've found in the past 100+ years, it appears the problem will never be resolved. Meyer takes apart all of the naturalistic arguments piece by piece and actually comes away with a known mechanism that can explain what we see in the world around us. This is a refreshing change from the tiresome 'Nature of the Gaps' argument constantly presented by the materialists. Instead of filling the gaps with 'nature-did-it' Meyer actually presents a very solid case to explain this Cambrian conundrum. A must read for those that prefer science based on the most modern finds science has to offer as opposed to the outdated textbooks and aged 'nature-did-it' gap fill arguments.
I found Darwin’s Doubt superbly written, researched, and argued. Mr. Meyer presents a very cogent case in a manner that can be easily understood by both experts and the general public. As a former student of natural science, I have been well aware of the issues related to the Theory of Evolution including knowledge of the assumptions that have gone into the formulation of the theory. Many of those assumptions are without adequate explanation or identification. As an example, regarding the lack of fossils during pre-Cambian times, a popular assumption is that the early fossils were destroyed when the early rocks metamorphosed. That is an assumption based on no evidence. Ironically, that is not science. What the public needs to know is the Theory of Evolution is the best theory science can offer from the assumptions science accepts. Mr. Meyer identifies and discusses those assumptions in a dispassionate and analytical way. Please do read Darwin’s Doubt, as it will illuminate your understanding of the “rest of the story,” particularly the story that our educational system has been so negligent in telling.
Scientific revolutions don’t come easy. The longer an idea is around, the more opposition a challenge to that idea will receive. So it is no surprise that Dr. Stephen Meyer and others in the intelligent design research community experience strong and spirited opposition to their presentation of intelligent design as the theory that best explains the scientific evidence for the origin and development of life and the universe. Scientists, philosophers, professors, and others who are used to seeing life through the prism of Darwinian evolution will not be open to an alternative. In fact, many of them will be openly hostile to anybody presenting an alternative theory. They will loudly proclaim “it isn’t science” or it’s religion dressing up as science” or “it’s published by the religion imprint of a publisher” or “this is what is holding back real science education in America” or the like. As soon as a book like Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is released, a lot of knees start jerking, and the reactions (cloaked as reviews) come out. The one thing that’s usually missing is a careful, thoughtful, and open-minded consideration of the arguments and evidence presented in the book. Even if you disagree with the arguments in Darwin’s Doubt, a careful read and a thoughtful response is the best way to present a refutation. Dr. Stephen Meyer is a Cambridge-trained philosopher of science. As such, he is perfectly placed to analyze scientific evidence, make justifiable claims based on the evidence, and present it to the intelligent and informed layperson. This is what he has done in Darwin’s Doubt, just as he did in his previous book Signature in the Cell. While Signature presented the evidence in DNA, Darwin’s Doubt looks at the nagging doubt Charles Darwin himself had in relation to his own theory. It was the inexplicably sudden rise of complex animal life in a geologic blink of an eye. The fossil record contains no evolutionary pre-cursors to these complex life forms, as Darwin’s theory would dictate. Meyer presents every major hypothesis attempting to explain this anomaly in the fossil record. He takes time to explain why each hypothesis falls short. Finally, he presents intelligent design as the scientific theory that best explains the Cambrian explosion. There’s nothing rash or ill-conceived about Meyer’s approach. He is exhaustive in his submission and discussion of the evidence. He explores every point of view on each hypothesis, respectfully explaining where each falls short. Although he takes just over 400 pages to make his argument, Meyer writes in an easy, fluid, and conversational manner. The book’s language is not overly technical, and dozens of attractive images and illustrations help support Meyer’s points. When it comes to weighty issues like the origin and development of life and the universe, we can’t afford to be spoon-fed answers. It’s up to us to seek out all serious points of view, analyze the evidence, and come to the best possible conclusion. Most of the scientific “establishment” is keen to tow the party line and maintain status quo. So we can’t trust them to be objective or open-minded. We must look elsewhere. For a compelling and reasonable exploration of Darwin’s doubt about the fossil record and the enduring mystery of the origin of genetic information, look no further than Darwin’s Doubt.
I have always thought the absence of transitional fossils was a severe weakness to Darwin's theory of evolution. His attitude that it's just a matter of time until they were found clearly is no longer tenable. Stephen Meyer's superb book has finally not only put a nail in the coffin of Darwinian evolution but has nailed the lid tightly shut. This book should be essential reading for any reasonable person to understand the dilemma. A thoroughly balanced piece of logical thought.
Dr. Meyer has made a significant contribution to the theory of intelligent design and points out the problems with the theory of evolution. Natural selection and mutation cannot possibly explain the abrupt appearance of sophisticated organisms without any precursors as seen in the Cambrian Explosion found in Wales. While Charles Darwin is to be credited for his attempt to explain the diversity of living forms, he himself had doubts as to his theory. There are some theologians such as Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who actually support evolution, as a means for God to form life. But, molecular biology and the human genome project do much to practically render the theory of evolution a myth. The requirement of extensive information for each new living organism indicates the necessity of intelligence to create the new organism. To quote Dr. Meyer, "the discovery of digital information in even the simplest living cells indicates the prior activity of a designing intelligence at work in the origin of first life." As with the phenomena of near-death experiences, science and religion are not opposed to each other but meet in the end.
I am a biology educator of 31 years. I was originally trained in the Darwinian viewpoint. But I have always felt that Darwinian "science" was mostly built on hoped-for evidence that doesn't seem to ever exist. This book fills in all of the blanks, and explains why Darwinian Evolution should now be considered as dead as the flat earth theory. The old spontaneous generation (abiogenesis) explanation can not be correct, as Darwin presumed. Let's move on and follow the evidence where ever it leads... even if that is to the feet of a Divine Creator.
Its amazing how many people, especially those claiming a science background giving this one star simply, throw out the scientific process if it fail to meet their agenda. Cowards! Let the truth if science lead where it will. This is not God of the Gaps unless you are flying spagetti monster of the gaps. It is a reasonable consideration given the evidence. You however do not want there to be a God to whom you would be accountable. So you put on blinders on and like lemmings walk to your comfortable lies. Science and Faith are allies ... get out of your narrowly defined scientific Godless box and see the world not as just an experiment, but as reality.
Stephen Meyer addresses a key issue in the debate over the origin and development of species by carefully analyzing a particularly significant part of the fossil record--the Cambrian Explosion. The book gives a synthesis of the issue, addresses the problem of missing intermediate forms, goes into recent material on genetic information and epigenetics that has relevance to the plausibility of macroevolution, and makes an argument suggesting design as a much better explanation for phenomena like the Cambrian Explosion that are not solved by Darwinian theory. The book contains an enormous amount of research, and particularly it is noteworthy to point out that the research is very up to date. While addressing complex issues, the book is still written in a way that non-specialists can understand. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in better understanding the fossil record and the debate over the origin of animal life.
Darwin's Doubt is explosive = Cambrian explosive! All those phyla seem to have popped up without any ancestors. Not a good case for evolution, but something a really intelligent designer could do. Forget about those billions of tiny mutations over eons of time being honed by natural selection. Dr. Meyer tells of scientists who tried to induce mutation in animals to change their body-plan, but it looks like natural selection does away with mutants since the animals die while developing into mature organisms. Dr. Meyer has included something about probability called combinatorilal inflation. The chances of DNA getting additional information is vanishingly small. Lots of other great comments in the book more than can be put in one review.
Darwin's Doubt is researched and detailed almost to a fault. Dr. Meyer displays the fallacy of Neo-Darwinian theory, by exposing what the fossil record has never produced-credible ancestors to Cambrian species. Critics of the content clearly have a political motive for trying to discredit the book.
This book could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the camel here is Darwin’s theory.
After having read and reread Darwin's Doubt on average about 4 times, and having checked with a modern biology book, I have come to the conclusion that Dr Meyer is factual, and fair in presenting facts. His science as far as I am concerned is correct. I loved the book, though it took me time to digest all the facts. For anybody interested in the origin of life, this book is a must, in my opinion. It is amazing the lengths some scientists will go to deny what Charles Darwin recognised as a big problem. I give it a five star rating, since Dr Meyer always supported his thesis with quotations, which I regard as very important. An excellent book!
I have to say how impressed I am withh this book. The author takes a very complex topic and leads the reader through step-by-step. He anticipates how controversial his topic will be, so he footnotes rigorously, and he is careful to do justice to opposing arguments. Fasinating read.
For with the courage to follow the evidenced wherever it leads, this is an excellent book. It covers the latest findings related to the Cambrian Explosion very well, including how they impact various theories and ideas about possible mechanisms. Every reader should expect at least one well-supported philosophical challenge or modification as well - the book is that good....
This is an excellent presentation on the evolution of Darwin's hypothesis . The emphasis is on the Cambrian fossil record whose existence Darwin was aware of but could not explain. He felt later discoveries would provide the answers but alas, later discoveries have only compounded the problems for Macro biological evolution. Meyer examines the hypothesis and experiments of scientist since Darwin who have tried to butress his position and modifying it where necessary in the first 16 chapters. In each case Meyer reveals the weaknesses and it is most interesting that the evolutionary scientist provide him with the scientific evidence to do so . One mystery that he brought to the fore in his previous book ,"Signature in the Cell" he alluded to in this book , for with the materialists it is an insurmountable obstacle," Where did the information come from ?" The last few chapters discuss "Intelligent Design". Meyer explains the use of the abductive method of logic by historical scientists and explains why the ID hypothesis presents the best explanation for the available evidence. In recent discussions I have had, evolutionist infer that the consensus among the scientific community is uniform and that it speaks as with one voice. This is contrary to the facts as illustrated by the various avenues of research conducted since Darwin's time as revealed in this book . Meyers quotes of recent remarks by scientists indicate a theory in crisis and a possible institutional implosion in the near future. I am thankful for all the effort the evolutionary scientists have expended to prove the unproven and I think the apparent unproveable hypothesis. "Darwin's Doubt" is a shot across the bow of an entrenched philosophy embracing counter intuitive a priori commitments to materialistic methodism . It is the herald of a pardigm shift . Meyer does not challenge the geological column or the dating methods which put the age of the earth at nearly 4 billion years old . He makes reference to the Zircon method which I am unfamiliar with but the issue has made me curious as I am a young earth creationist. I have recently acquired another book which addresses the age of the universe and presents an argument which declares to reconcile the old age universe and mineral foundation of earth with a young earth biosphere based upon a detailed study of the Hebrew language used in Genesis, Exodus and Job and modern scientific conclusions. The book is "The Age of the Universe: What Are the Biblical Limits?" by Gorman Gray.
I give this book five stars for establishing a milestone in the scientific literature on the origin and evolution of life. While it repeats some of the material in Meyer's previous books, this new work is more up to date and comprehensive with respect to the variety of scientific issues. Much attention is given to the fossil evidence that is inconsistent with neo-Darwinism, but Meyer also covers the main arguments involving information theory, probability theory, biochemistry, irreducible complexity, and other tools and disciplines. The arguments are backed up by hundreds of citations of scientific publications. The text focuses entirely on the scientific issues and avoids personal attacks on pro-Darwin authors, despite the voluminous ad hominem screeds from the other side. Indeed, the professional tone throughout Darwin's Doubt stands in telling contrast to the caustic language of the increasingly defensive Darwinists. Meyer's approach in this book, as well as in "Signature" and "Explore Evolution," includes thorough treatments of the most common explications that attempt to support Darwin. For example, he reviews in detail the concept of the "animal tree of life" as a model for the common-descent and speciation ideas fostered by Darwin's theory. Citing a number of published examples of the tree model, he shows that they are inconsistent, conflicting, and flawed to the point that the model fails to hold up. The book makes a strong case against the basic neo-Darwinian theory of evolution and presents a persuasive argument that some mechanism involving purposeful design must be at work. The source of the required intelligence is a great question that remains unanswered, which is an intriguing and profound challenge for science. Indeed, I think that the discovery of the design function will merit a Nobel Prize. In effect, Meyer is calling for a new theory of evolution, one that takes into account the evidence for a design function. Other authors who are making the same or similar appeals for research include Michael Denton, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Donald E. Johnson, and Douglas Axe. Meyer has produced a compendium of the research data and viewpoints of these scholars and dozens more, organized into a well documented and soundly reasoned case. Any serious student of evolution, whether pro-Darwin, skeptical, or undecided, would be well advised to study this book.