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

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ISBN-13: 978-0062071477
ISBN-10: 0062071475
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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. Mark McMenamin, paleontologist at Mt. Holyoke College and coauthor of The Emergence of Animals)

“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. George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of Regenesis)

“Meyer writes beautifully. He marshals complex information as well as any writer I’ve read....a wonderful, most compelling read.” (Dean Koontz, New York Times bestselling author)

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. Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig, senior scientist emeritus (biologist) at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research)

“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. Russell Carlson, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Georgia and technical director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center)

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. Scott Turner, professor of biology at the State University of New York and author of The Tinkerer's Accomplice)

“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. Norman C. Nevin OBE, BSc, MD, FRCPath, FFPH, FRCPE, FRCP; Professor Emeritus in Medical Genetics, Queen's University, Belfast)

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.” (Dr. Stuart Burgess, Professor of Design and Nature, Head of Mechanical Engineering at Bristol University)

“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.” (George GilderTechnologist, economist, and New York Times bestselling authorGeorge GilderTechnologist, economist, and New York Times bestselling authorGeorge GilderTechnologist, economist, and New York Times bestselling authorGeorge GilderTec)

“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. William S. Harris, Professor, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota)

“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. Matti Leisola, Professor, Bioprocess Engineering, Aalto University, Finland (emeritus); Editor-in-chief, Bio-Complexity)

“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. Donald L. Ewert, Molecular Biologist, Associate Member (retired), Wistar Institute)

“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. Mark C. Biedebach, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach)

“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. Change Tan, Molecular biologist/developmental biologist, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia)

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. Stephen A. BatzerP.E., forensic engineerDr. Stephen A. Batzer, P.E., forensic engineer)

“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! ” (Dr. Tom Woodward, Research Professor, Trinity College, Tampa Bay, Author of Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design)

“Stephen C. Meyer is brilliant and his latest book, Darwin’s Doubt is a must read.” (No Source)

“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.” (Dr. Richard Weikart, Professor of History at California State University, Stanislaus; Author of From Darwin to Hitler)

“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.” (Terry Scambray, New Oxford Review)

From the Back Cover

Charles Darwin knew that 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," 530 million years ago 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 also because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal.

Expanding on the compelling case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer argues that the theory of intelligent design—which holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection—is ultimately the best explanation for the origin of the Cambrian animals.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062071475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062071477
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (686 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. In 2004, Meyer ignited a firestorm of media and scientific controversy when a biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published his peer-reviewed scientific article advancing intelligent design. Meyer has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBS's Sunday Morning, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, Good Morning America, Nightline, FOX News Live, and the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top-national media.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

348 of 429 people found the following review helpful By Truth, Undiluted on July 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished a word-for-word reading of this latest offering from Philosopher of Science Stephen C. Meyer. It's not necessary for me to summarize the book's content here, as that has been done by other thoughtful reviewers.

Many accusations have been leveled at this book, which isn't surprising given the controversial nature of its implications. It seems that the word "pseudoscience" is being tossed around a lot. This is incredibly ironic, because the vast majority of the scientific discussion in Darwin's Doubt is based on scientific literature written by scientists who are not even proponents of intelligent design. Meyer does a tremendous job of outlining paper after paper after paper, and he includes the full citations so that any careful reader can check to make sure that nothing is misrepresented or taken out of context. This is exactly what philosophers of science are highly trained to do. (I don't think many of Meyer's detractors even comprehend what philosophy of science IS.) Philosophers of science do sweeping surveys of the work being done in a particular field, document areas of strong disagreement between the prominent scientists in that field, and locate weaknesses in the over-arching theory or theories. Meyer does an excellent job of this in Darwin's Doubt. Every time I had a mental red flag as I was reading his commentary on a specific bit of research, he would answer my concern within another page or two. He maintains a very professional and respectful tone throughout, to his great credit.

Ultimately, Meyer has compiled an impressive amount of peer-reviewed research on the Cambrian phenomenon and the related bio-information problem. He has organized it in a way that flows logically from one chapter to the next.
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173 of 220 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth G. Sewell on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design

As a physicist, I have long wondered why any scientist would hesitate to examine data to determine if a theory is right or wrong. Science history is replete with examples of noted scientists taking a stand which delayed research into a vitle area. Yet other lesser known scientists pushed on and demostrated that new data demostrated the wrong stance of the noted individuals.
Evolution has long been dominated by those seemingly afraid to look at data. That was possible when it was a science not based on mathematics, but now, the stage is changing. I am eagerly awaiting the new discoveries and what they reveal. I just hope the ones now controlling the literature are replaced with open minded scientists who only seek the truth. That's the foundation of science; a search for the truth. That is one reason this book is welcome and needed. All young scientists entering these fields should read it.
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751 of 988 people found the following review helpful By D. Snoke on June 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw that the new book by Steve Meyer, Darwin's Doubt, centered on the Cambrian Explosion, I was loathe to read it. I had been led to believe over the years that everything that could be said about the Cambrian Explosion has already been said. I was quite happy to believe that the only real discontinuities in the story of life occurred at the origin of life and at the origin of human consciousness.

I should have known better; science marches onward, and old arguments get reexamined as new data arises. Steve Meyer's book is a wonderful, comprehensive case that the origin of the major types of animals, namely the phyla, is just as strikingly discontinuous as the the origin of life. As such, it represents a solid second volume complementary to his previous work, Signature in the Cell, which focused on the origin of life.

I had come to think that discussing the Cambrian Explosion was misguided because of two arguments: 1) that the explosion was merely an artifact of the fact that organisms before that time did not have hard bones or shells, and 2) that the explosion was short on the geological time scale, but was really quite long on the biological time scale. Meyer disposes of both of these arguments quite handily. On the first, modern science shows that soft-bodied organisms are well preserved in the strata before, during, and after the Cambrian. Also, many of the body types which appear in the Cambrian can't even be imagined without their hard parts to give them structure. An earlier, boneless version could not have had the same body plan at all. On the second objection, Meyer shows that the geological time scale has gotten more compressed over the years, not less; best estimates now are 5-10 million years, which is quite short geologically.
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71 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Aaron P. Baldwin on March 29, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since reading Darwin’s Doubt several months ago I have scrapped two of my review attempts and am now starting the third. Unfortunately I am encountering the same issue that many other critical reviewers have mentioned – it takes a significant amount more space to refute a false claim than it does to simply assert it. So rather than go in detail chapter by chapter I will illustrate what I think are the primary distortions and (probable) misunderstandings. I took the time to obtain a huge number of the references he cites, and I checked his claims against the originals. As I am an invertebrate zoologist I want to focus on the first section of three in DD. This still will be a long review!

First of all I want to start on a positive. Meyer is a talented writer and it is unfortunate that his skills have taken him where they did. I know that if he were to write an honest look at a great scientific figure or popularize some fascinating but little-known area of science, I would definitely read that book. For the most part I was favorably impressed with chapter 1, it is more or less an accurate bit of history regarding Darwin and Agassiz’s views on natural selection. But as they say about all good things…

Chapters 2-4 discuss the Burgess, Chengjiang, and Neoproterozoic fossil assemblages. It is tempting to conclude that the errors in these chapters are simply because the subject matter is quite complicated, often misreported by popular science writers, and determining what represents a consensus among the significant researchers can be a difficult task at times. However, while I can look past certain misunderstanding (especially writing from out of his field) I have zero tolerance for deliberate distortions.
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