• Darwin’s Doubt – A Prediction

    Those of you current on the creationist scene will no doubt know that Stephen “Kansas Hearings” Meyer has a new book coming out.  Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (yes, that’s the title) was written by one of the founding members of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (which was formerly called the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture).

    In this book (unlike his previous book Signature in the Cell and the dozen or so other books by ID proponents), Meyer lays out the case for Intelligent Design.  Except, we all know that he won’t.  Indeed, I am so confident that this book will be utterly ignored by the scientific community (except for purposes of ridicule and to teach how critical thinking doesn’t work), that I will spend a few minutes to predict (that hallmark of actual science) what this book will contain (and more importantly not contain) (and, in this process, attempt to generate a record breaking number of clauses within a single sentence (I think the record holder is something like 18 , but I can and will do better)) (crud, I lost track of parentheticals).

    Prediction the First: There will not be a calculation or measurement of complexity, complex specified information, and/or information in the entire book.  Now to clarify, I don’t mean Meyer saying “the random chances of x protein appearing out of nothing is blah blah blah”.  That’s correct as far as it goes, but it does not mean anything, besides the fact that is not how proteins are formed in the first place.

    Falsification of Prediction the First: Meyer chooses an organism and/or DNA and/or protein sequence and calculates the information content (explaining how the information content is different from the same length of random nucleotides and/or amino acids.  If he goes with the ID myth that ‘meaning’ and/or ‘function’ is somehow involved, then he will have to define ‘meaning’ and/or ‘function’ and present a sound method for determining the value.  This means that any random scientist, given Meyer’s instructions, will generate the same result as Meyer does in the book.

    Prediction the Second: There will be at least a chapter devoted to the conspiracy against ID in academic circles.

    Prediction the Third: Meyer will spend a chapter or section talking about the Cambrian explosion.  He will ignore all current research in the Cambrian and Precambrian periods and instead present stale (and wrong) notions such as “all body plans appeared in the Cambrian” and “there are no transitionals” and “there was almost no life prior to the Cambrian”.

    Prediction the Fourth: Meyer will use a strawman of evolution and spend between two and three chapters attacking that strawman.  Possible attacks are “evolution is completely random” (which is untrue), “evolution is undirected” (if you mean by an intelligence, this is true, if you mean totally random, it’s not true), or similar old attacks.

    Prediction the Fifth: Meyer’s single ‘peer-reviewed’ paper was published by a fellow creationist, in an obscure journal, that focused on taxonomy.  The paper he published (which has subsequently pulled by the editors of the journal) was a review paper and contained zero new information, research, or conclusions for that matter.  The fifth prediction is that the vast majority of this book will be based on that work.

    There you go.

    Honestly, if Meyer actually makes a scientific case for ID, no one will be more shocked than I am.  After all, if he had evidence to support him, then he could publish in a real journal instead of publishing a ‘science book’ by HarperOne, which is the spiritual division of Harper. From HarperOne’s website:

    The most important books across the full spectrum of religion, spirituality, and personal growth, adding to the wealth of the world’s wisdom by stirring the waters of reflection on the primary questions of life while respecting all traditions.

    I don’t see; ‘peer-review’, ‘science’, ‘biology’, ‘origins of life’, or anything else related to evidence-based reasoning there.

    What I would like, is for anyone who is willing to purchase this drivel and attempt to read it (without losing IQ points in the process) to cite page numbers and snippets of text that prove my predictions wrong (especially the first and third predictions).

    If anyone can do this, then I will purchase a full copy of the book and review it, in total… chapter-by-chapter here.  If there is reasonable attempts to discredit my first and third predictions, then I will, again, purchase the book and review it.

    Any one can play, but please don’t go and buy this drivel just to try and prove me wrong.  Although, if an ID proponent is convinced that this book contains sufficient evidence to change my mind, then I will happily accept a review copy (e-mail me for my address) and do the same chapter-by-chapter review.

    My final prediction is that all of my predictions are correct.


    UPDATE: Nick Matzke published a brief review of Darwin’s Doubt at Panda’s Thumb. It appears that at least three of my predictions are totally confirmed.  I severely underestimated the amount of Cambrian explosion material… apparently Meyer is under the mistaken assumption that animal life appeared in the Cambrian, which is why I was confused.

    Ah well, no point in buying the book.  At least books that admit that they are lies are entertaining… I doubt this book is even that.  If anyone wants to send me a freebie, I’ll take it, but please don’t buy it new and support this charlatan.

    Category: Book ReviewCreationismHumorSkepticism


    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat