I have two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley (1994), and one in Religious Studies from Yale University (1986). After finishing my Berkeley Ph.D. I taught embryology at California State University in Hayward, did post-doctoral research at Berkeley, and worked as the supervisor of a medical laboratory in Fairfield, California. In 1998 I moved with my family to Seattle, where I am now a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture.
I have published scientific articles in Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, BioSystems, The Scientist and The American Biology Teacher. I am also author of Charles Hodge's Critique of Darwinism (Edwin Mellen Press, 1988) and Icons of Evolution: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong (Regnery Publishing, 2000). I am now working on a book criticizing the over-emphasis on DNA in biology and medicine.
Wells has written a fascinating book about how biology textbooks use outdated evidence for evolution that modern evolutionary biologists no longer accept. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Wells' overall point, his book is carefully argued and thoroughly documented by references to the primary scientific literature, and it deserves a serious look by anyone interested in contemporary debates over evolutionary theory. Unfortunately, many of the published criticisms of Wells' book seem to rely on ad hominem attacks or straw-man arguments. Some of the reviewers don't even seem to have read the book. For example, one reviewer asserts that according to Wells peppered moths "never" rest on tree trunks. But Wells does NOT make this claim in the book (and he doesn't use the word "never"). Wells' claim is only that such moths RARELY rest on tree trunks, a conclusion that he amply supports from the relevant scientific literature. This more nuanced claim still undermines the standard textbook use of the peppered moth story. By the way, Wells' critique of the peppered moth story is fully corroborated in Judith Hooper's new book, Of Moths and Men, which goes into great detail about problems with the original moth experiments. It is interesting to note that after Wells' book came out, new editions of certain biology textbooks removed both the peppered moth story and Haeckel's fudged embryo drawings. Don't allow Wells' critics to poison the well by misstating Wells' arguments. Read the book for yourself and make up your own mind.
Firstly I have to confess [ ;-) ] that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wells' book. It is, as previous reviewers have noted, very clearly written so as to be accessible to a wide range of readers, whether they are knowledgeable in scientific matters, or not.
What some previous reviewers seem to have overlooked is the book's subtitle: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. Which means that whilst Wells is dealing with topics central to the discussion of evolution in general, his book approaches the subjects specifically with a view as to how they are presented in popular textbooks used in US schools, colleges and universities.
This inevitably means that from time to time he is dealing with claims and statements which many evolutionary scientists already know are wrong and would not repeat in their own work.
It is also important to note Wells' disclaimer in the Preface where he lists a number of people who assisted him in regard to the technical details in the book. At the end of the list Wells clearly states:
"Listing these people does not imply that they endorse my views. On the contrary, many of them will disagree with my conclusions and recommendations. But for these fine people, science is the search for truth, and I am indebted to them for helping me to get the facts straight."
In other words, he has done his best to fairly and accurately present the facts he is discussing, whilst honestly acknowledging that the experts who helped him in that task do not necessarily share the conclusions he (Wells) draws from those facts. Seems pretty honest and straight forward to me - a quality all too often missing from this debate. On both sides of the fence.
Wells book exceeded my expectations. I always considered the icons of evolution to be real, just not sufficient to prove things like common descent and abiogensis. However, learning that even the paltry evidence for neo darwinism is based on poor science was quite shocking.
Until recently I was solidly in the Darwinist camp, and I couldn't even imagine what could ever change my mind. I was raised with a Darwinistic world view. As an undergraduate, I took a science major where the rules of science were emphasized and I was privileged to attend lectures where one of the greatest living scientists explained to our philosophy department how science works. Recently however, I read Johnson's Wedge of truth, and Well's Icons of Evolution. I was outraged to read about the thin evidence, sloppy evidence and yes, even outright fraud that are presented by Darwinists as the pillars of Darwinsim. I feel a great sense of betrayal that these case studies were presented to me as fact when in one instance the fraud has been known for generations. At best what Wells presents is negligence on the part of text book writers, at worst it is the widespread systematic suppression of dissenting opinions. ...
I must admit that reading this book was somewhat shocking. I had expected to see rehashed creationist arguments about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. On the contrary, nothing Wells says depends on creationist ideas. He has collected evidence from the mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific literature, and combined them into a compelling case against what we might call "textbook Darwinism." This might be a trivial accomplishment, since the record of high school and college textbooks is generally dismal. But his cumulative argument seems to me devastating to orthodox Neo-Darwinism, since it just is textbook Darwinism. Wells discusses the famous comparative vertebrate embryo diagrams-- which should be an embarrassment to any textbook author who includes them--the fallacious way homology is used for evidence of common ancestry, the collapse of the story of Peppered Moths, Darwin's finches, and many more pieces of the Darwinist lore. By the time I was finished, I had lost faith in almost everything I thought I knew about evolution. I now suspect that Darwin will soon join company with Marx and Freud. I'm not sure what I believe at this point, but I can no longer buy the official story. I don't know if I agree with some of Wells' recommendations in his conclusion, but something clearly has to be done. Hysterical defenses of falsified "evidence" by Darwinian disciples at Talk.Origins and elsewhere convinces me that they didn't see this coming, and won't be able to deal with the actual facts involved.