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The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry Paperback – February 9, 2010
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—Noam Chomsky, MIT Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus
“The invitation-only conference, being held in Altenberg, Austria, ‘promises to be far more transforming for the world’ than the 1969 [Woodstock] music festival, Mazur wrote online in March  for Scoop.co.nz, an independent news publication in New Zealand. That hyperbole has reverberated throughout the evolutionary biology community. . . .”
“[T]he latest issue of the highly regarded Nature magazine has a cover article about the important but hidden Altenberg meeting on post-Darwinian research and new thoughts about evolution. We ran a piece of Suzan Mazur’s groundbreaking work on this topic back in March and followed up with another in July. Nature even borrows from Mazur’s term ‘evolutionary Woodstock’ to describe the critical meeting. The scientific establishment has been somewhat scared of dealing rationally and openly with new evolutionary ideas because of its fear of the powerful creationist movement. So for the topic to make the cover of Nature is a notable development.”
—Sam Smith, Editor, Progressive Review
“Well, we don’t have to organize human society ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw.’ No. We don’t have to.”
—Richard Lewontin, Professor of Biology, Emeritus, Harvard University
“And what Haldane, Fisher, Sewell Wright, Hardy, Weinberg, et al. did was invent. . . . The Anglophone tradition was taught. I was taught and so were my contemporaries. And so were the younger scientists. Evolution was defined as ‘changes in gene frequencies’ in natural populations. The accumulation of genetic mutations were touted to be enough to change one species to another. . . . No. It wasn’t dishonesty. I think it was wish fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”
—Lynn Margulis, recipient of the US Presidential Medal for Science
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Top Customer Reviews
If you want to read a real "expose" of a scientific field where certain approaches have become like an industrial monopoly, read The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next. Smolin gives a coherent exposition of the social mechanisms and consequences of string theory pushing out all other approaches to particle physics for funding and faculty positions.
Fortunately, the field of evolution is still a wild-west of opportunity, in my opinion, and only stifled when there are failures of imagination.
It follows no format is full of authors own personel views and NOT the scientests.
There is no expose' just mindless chatter.
Save your money.
Just to give one instance, the author takes the words of the late Lynn Margulis, a distinguished evolutionary biologist, and twists them to appear as if Margulis was saying that evolution as the backbone of biology is collapsing. The author isn't the first person to do that, and when she was alive Margulis was quite vocal about denying she'd said anything of the sort, and discrediting those who claimed she had. Now that she's deceased, others will have to do the same for her.
Creationists have been predicting the demise of evolution for decades, and in fact evolutionary biology (which is essentially synonymous with biology) has made tremendous strides forward. Here are two examples:
In 1990, the Institute for Creation Research -- at the time the leading young-earth creationist organization -- predicted confidently that the 1990s would be "the decade of creationism." Evolution, they predicted, would collapse during this time and by 2000 the entire scientific community would be young-earth creationists.
In 1999, the Discovery Institute inadvertently made public their "Wedge Strategy," which was a 20-year plan to convert the entire world (or at least the intellectuals of the US) to their fundamentalist views in all areas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book by Suzan Mazur give us a perfect, clear, 360° scenario of one of the most discussed arguments in science today.Published on November 23, 2013 by valerio eletti
Suzan Mazur is a natural history science reporter based in New Zealand. As such, she is probably as knowledgeable as any single person might be regards the state of current... Read morePublished on January 26, 2012 by NaturalHistoryGuy
Shocking and insightful. Mainly consists of interviews and transcripts. The interview with Lynn Margulis is excellent. Read morePublished on September 13, 2011 by Rational Shopper, Ph.D.
Although I enjoyed the book, I found the title misleading. I went into the reading of this expecting an overview of the meeting held, and a summary of their opinions updating... Read morePublished on July 29, 2010 by spellman
The book may feel disjointed to some, but for good reason: The theory of evolution itself is disjointed. Read morePublished on June 27, 2010 by Perry Marshall
Suzan Mazur's "The Altenberg 16" describes the evolution industry in crisis, given an apparent emptiness in the neo-Darwinian account. Read morePublished on March 8, 2010 by Stephen P. Smith