Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design

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Overview

The Evidence That Darwin Could Not Explain

Charles Darwin knew there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. In what is known today as the "Cambrian explosion," many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record 530 million years ago 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 and makes a compelling case for the theory of...

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Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design

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Overview

The Evidence That Darwin Could Not Explain

Charles Darwin knew there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. In what is known today as the "Cambrian explosion," many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record 530 million years ago 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 and makes a compelling case for the theory of intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the Cambrian animals and the biological information necessary to produce them.

With a new epilogue responding to critics

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The ever-methodical Charles Darwin was satisfied with the descriptions of evolution and natural selection laid out in his epoch-making The Origin of Species, but one mystery still eluded him. He felt unable to explain the dynamics of the "Cambrian explosion," the sudden appearance in the fossil record of numerous, more advanced species. Philosophy of science specialist Stephen C. Meyer (Signature in the Cell) uses this explosion as the volatile jumping off point for his latest defense of intelligent design. A detailed presentation about the limits of evolution.

Dr. George Church
“Darwin’s Doubt represents an opportunity for bridge-building rather than dismissive polarization—bridges across cultural divides in great need of professional, respectful dialogue—and bridges to span evolutionary gaps.”
Dr. Mark Menamin
“It’s hard for us paleontologists to admit that neo-Darwinian explanations for the Cambrian explosion have failed miserably....Meyer describes the dimensions of the problem with clarity and precision. His book is a game changer.”
Dean Koontz
“Meyer writes beautifully. He marshals complex information as well as any writer I’ve read....a wonderful, most compelling read.”
Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig
Darwin’s Doubt is by far the most up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive review of the evidence from all relevant scientific fields that I have encountered in more than forty years of studying the Cambrian explosion.”
Dr. Russell Carlson
“Meyer demonstrates, based on cutting-edge molecular biology, why explaining the origin of animals is now not just a problem of missing fossils, but an even greater engineering problem at the molecular level....An excellent book and a must read.”
Dr. Scott Turner
Darwin’s Doubt is an intriguing exploration of one of the most remarkable periods in the evolutionary history of life.... No matter what convictions one holds about evolution, Darwinism, or intelligent design, Darwin’s Doubt is a book that should be read, engaged and discussed.”
Dr. Mark McMenamin
“It’s hard for us paleontologists to admit that neo-Darwinian explanations for the Cambrian explosion have failed miserably....Meyer describes the dimensions of the problem with clarity and precision. His book is a game changer.”
Dr. Norman C. Nevin OBE
“It is a tour de force…This book is well informed, carefully researched, up–to–date and powerfully argued. 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.”
Dr. Stuart Burgess
Darwin’s Doubt is another excellent book by Stephen Meyer. Stephen Meyer has clearly listened to the arguments of those who are sceptical about intelligent design and has addressed them thoroughly. It is really important that Darwinists read this book carefully and give a response.”
George GilderTechnologist
“I spend my life reading science books. I’ve ready many hundreds of them over the years, and in my judgment Darwin’s Doubt is the best science book ever written. It is a magnificent work, a true masterpiece that will be read for hundreds of years.”
Dr. William S. Harris
“The issue on the table is the mechanism of evolution—is it blind and undirected or is it under the control of an intelligence with a goal in mind? In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer has masterfully laid out one of the most compelling lines of evidence for the latter.”
Dr. Matti Leisola
“Dr. Meyer has written a comprehensive and up–to–date analysis on the massive scientific evidence revealing the total failure of the neo–Darwinian explanation for life’s history. Darwin’s Doubt is important, clearly written with sound arguments, excellent illustrations and examples that make the topic easily understandable even for non–specialists”
Dr. Donald L. Ewert
“Meyer makes a case for intelligent design as the only viable scientific theory for the origin of biological novelty. Meyer’s challenge to naturalism will no doubt be strongly resisted by those committed to a materialist worldview, but provide food for refection for those who are searching for truth.”
Dr. Mark C. Biedebach
“Stephen C. Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is a truly remarkable book. Within its 413 pages of text are four tightly woven interrelated arguments. Using 753 references, he presents evidence associated with the serious weaknesses of materialistic theories of biological evolution, and positive evidence for the theory of intelligent design.”
Dr. Change Tan
“A great book on the origin of animal life and crises of Darwin evolution; very clear, factual, comprehensive, logical, and informative. An enjoyable reading for both non–expert and expert.”
Dr. Stephen A. BatzerP.E.
Steven Meyer gives an insightful and thoughtful treatment to the history of life. Justice Louis Brandies taught us that, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant,’ and Dr. Meyer lets the sun shine in.
Dr. Tom Woodward
“Steve Meyer’s book is a much–anticipated bombshell that details the swarm of problems of Darwinian evolution and also presents the case for intelligent design. Ask yourself: how often does a book of this kind receive a warm welcome from leading geneticists and paleontologists? Never, until now! ”
No Source
“Stephen C. Meyer is brilliant and his latest book, Darwin’s Doubt is a must read.”
Dr. Richard Weikart
“Stephen Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt, is a fascinating and rigorous study demonstrating not only that biologists and paleontologists do not have an adequate explanation for the Cambrian Explosion, but that there is an alternative view that makes more sense.”
Terry Scambray
“Meyer is a talented writer with an easygoing voice who has blended interesting history with clear explanations in what may come to be seen as a classic presentation of this most fundamental of all debates.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062071477
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/18/2013
  • Pages: 498
  • Sales rank: 143,433
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.58 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

Darwin's Doubt


By Stephen Meyer

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Stephen Meyer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-207147-7


1
DARWIN'S NEMESIS
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
FIGURE 1.1
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-
ished patrons.4
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
(Continues...)

Excerpted from Darwin's Doubt by Stephen Meyer. Copyright © 2013 Stephen Meyer. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Dr. Meyer's book is meticulously researched with citations to hu

    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 . 

    20 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    This New York Times bestseller by Cambridge-trained Ph.D. Stephe

    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.

    18 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Should be classified as religion, not science. No new ideas her

    Should be classified as religion, not science. No new ideas here; just the same ol' Discovery Institute propaganda.

    16 out of 61 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    There are, I regret to say, some PhD's out there who choose to t

    There are, I regret to say, some PhD's out there who choose to throw away everything we've learned since the Age of Reason, and pursue an agenda of theological dogma. I can't explain what goes on inside their minds, but it does happen. Stephen Meyer is one of these. His Cambrian "explosion" of animal life took at least 30 million years, and is simply NOT a case for any sort of miraculous creation.

    14 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    As a biologist myself, I thought this was a brilliant book. It l

    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.

    13 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    The 5 star review saying 'easy for non-technical' sounds to me l

    The 5 star review saying 'easy for non-technical' sounds to me like it's coming from a non-technical
    person
    Put the book in the religion aisle where it belongs.

    13 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2013

    This is a fascinating study of the various theories scientists h

    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.

    11 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Not science....

    A book about intelligent design should NOT be in the science section. Period.

    10 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    The Most Comprehensive Critique of the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm Wr

    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.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    While it is well researched, it misses many key points in our sc

    While it is well researched, it misses many key points in our scientific and biological history. There is a reason it is shelved in the religion section and not in the science section. It is not science, merely a ploy to try and gain acceptance for "intelligent design" (aka the Abrahamic god did it). 

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Excellent Book

    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.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    Scientific revolutions don¿t come easy. The longer an idea is ar

    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.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    I have read Dr Meyer's "Signature in the Cell" and lov

    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.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    I like the idea of science and creation working together to expl

    I like the idea of science and creation working together to explain how life came to be. It never hurts to have another perspective of the evidence. All we can do is learn.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    I am a biology educator of 31 years. I was originally trained in

    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.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    Critique for Darwin¿s Doubt Dr. Stephen Meyer¿s Darwin¿s Doubt

    Critique for Darwin’s Doubt

    Dr. Stephen Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is an extremely informative, well written book on the Cambrian period. Although I am not of a scientific bent I found the book to be readable and understandable. I am currently on chapter 16, “Other Post-Neo-Darwinian Models.” Even though I have not yet finished the book or even gotten to chapters 17-20 which deal with the theory of intelligent design, Dr. Meyer’s well explained and documented scientific evidences are most persuasive for the insufficiency of Neo-Darwinism to explain the complexities found in the Cambrian period fossils and for that matter, the emergence of life forms period.

    I found the illustration of the upper jaw of the bolyerine snake in chapter 12’s “Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math” especially compelling. University of Illinois biologist Dr. Tom Frazzetta understood the difficulty this presented to neo-Darwinism’s 3 pillars: mutation/genetic variation, natural selection and isolation: that of “…the gradual improvement of a machine while it’s running!” The snake’s jaw represented ‘irreducible complexity,’ a concept that minute changes over long periods of time simply cannot support.
    Then ensues a thorough break down, using the principles of evolutionary population genetics, of induced amino-acid site mutations by chemical engineer, Dr. Douglas Axe (CalTech) and molecular biologist, Dr. Ann Gauger (MIT & UW). Their results were unambiguous and showed that “evolutionary innovations requiring that many changes…would be extraordinarily rare, becoming probable only on timescales much longer than the age of life on earth.” This is but one of the exhaustive examples of scientific research that render untenable the theory of Darwinian evolution.

    Dr. Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt is a book that should find a wide readership and one that should and needs to be considered as a collegiate science course text &/or resource. What is the evolutionary scientific community so afraid of? If Intelligent Design is as laughable and implausible as they stridently assert then let students compare and see for themselves. Science’s intended purpose is, after all, to follow where the evidence leads not where Neo- Darwinian commitment to materialism forces it to ‘lead’. As Harvard evolutionary geneticist, Richard Lewontin states “…It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    Perhaps Swedish evolutionary embryologist, Soren Lovtrup puts it best “I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology… I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science.”
    Thank you Dr. Meyers for giving society such a valuable and rich resource that permits us to see beyond the myth!

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Great book with great points, by far the best most advanced book

    Great book with great points, by far the best most advanced book that I've read on the subject.
    My only criticism is the following:
    Personally, I found that some parts were rather technical or hard to follow, but even some one with no background can get something out of this book.
    I also felt that some parts of the book were overly detailed and repetitive.
    But overall, it was a great book, & I think I gained a lot from it, especially a glimpse into the sophistication & complexity of the I.D. position, and the problems/weaknesses of purely naturalistic evolution.

    I'm still agnostic on the matter, but I have a lot more respect for (& confidence in) the I.D. position (and lost a bit of faith in the possibility of purely naturalistic evolution).

    I really appreciate Dr. Meyers work, & intend to go back and read Dr. Meyer's "Signature in the cell: DNA and the evidence for intelligent design".

    TL;DR
    In all, great book, worth buying & reading.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    Meyer has certainly done his work ¿ any argument so polarizing m

    Meyer has certainly done his work – any argument so polarizing must be touching down pretty darned firmly on a whole lot of nerves. My thoughts? Indifference mostly. What would I have liked to read? Something new. Something convincing. Something novel. Instead Meyer paints the same old story – God did it! - in a shinier, academic, and footnoted way.

    Here is a secret that Meyer never exposes (or maybe he just isn’t aware of it?): working scientists know this stuff already. That is why they are working scientists and that is why they keep asking questions. Why is there still work being done on the mechanism of evolutionary change and the Cambrian Explosion? Because we don’t yet fully understand what happened. Does that constitute a ‘crisis within the world of evolutionary science’? Certainly not. It is exactly how science works. Years ago now, Dawkins offered up The Selfish Gene as an explanation of how finite and discrete chemistry could drive evolution. The work has been expanded, re-formulated, sliced and diced, and built upon. Does this constitute a crisis within the realms of protein synthesis? No. It means that science is working exactly as it should. Gould later argued for punctuated equilibrium. Same thing: slice, dice, build upon, break apart. Science working exactly as it should. This is what science does: deconstruct and reconstruct previous work to continually work for a better understanding of the problem. What scientists don’t argue for is that ‘god did it’ yet this is Meyer’s winding and around-the-fence-post conclusion.

    Take protein expression as an example: the Central Dogma of biology is that DNA expresses RNA, which in turn, expresses protein. No scientist working within the field argues that the Central Dogma is systemically wrong yet, all over the world, very smart and very dedicated people fill peer reviewed journals with studies of how the dogma works and with problematic minutiae. To Meyer this constitutes a ‘silent crisis’ in biology. To everyone else this is how science works.

    Does science ever get it wrong? Sure. Take Darwin’s predecessor Lamarck who argued for the inheritance of acquired traits. It made sense from the view of simple observation – just like the sun revolving around the earth makes sense – but it couldn’t stand up to rigorous scientific investigation and was replaced with Mendel’s work with what we call genes.

    A philosophical point always bothers me in this mastiff vs. Yorkee scuffle: religious people, and Christians in general, and Christian scientists specifically, are just scared to death of not knowing. Of not having an answer. So they revert to theology. “God said it; I believe it, that settles it.” And it’s a great argument for the choir. And gets a whole lot of books sold. But it is not science. Science looks for what we don’t know, and seeks out the seemingly unanswerable. And then works incrementally on figuring it out. The very heart of science is an indifferent shrug. And when we finally ‘know’ something we drop it and move on to the next thing that we don’t.

    Meyer presents his illogic and straw men in a clear and understandable fashion. The choir will – and obviously does – enjoy every page. People sitting outside the church will – and obviously do – groan. My hope is that a few people use the book as a jumping-off place to read what working scientists are saying and writing about and working on.

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Stephen C. Meyer needs to realize how much has been discovered s

    Stephen C. Meyer needs to realize how much has been discovered since Darwin wrote Origin of Species.  The fossil record is much more complete than it was 150 years ago.  Examples of the fossils of whales origin from land animals and the multitude of fossils that fill in the evolution of the horse.

    It is true that the new organisms found at the beginning of the Cambrian appear to have no predecessors in the fossil record.  However, the fossils that have been found prior to the Cambrian (Edicaria, e.g.) were soft bodied, and the likely predecessor of the Cambrian organisms were also most likely soft-bodied which are much less likely to leave fossils.  

    Given the rate of new discoveries, it is too early to use these missing fossils as proof that such transitional organisms did not exist.  One must remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    His argument is specious from beginning to end.  He is a very smooth writer and will bamboozle those who don't understand how science actually works or understand evolutionary biology.   

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    I thought the book was spot on. The only ones who hate it are Da

    I thought the book was spot on. The only ones who hate it are Darwin's worshipers. 

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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