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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design Paperback – August 21, 2006

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From the Back Cover

Why Darwinism—like Marxism and Freudianism before it—is headed for extinction

In the 1925 Scopes trial, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to allow the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools. Seventy-five years later, in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ACLU sued to prevent the teaching of an alternative to Darwin’s theory known as "Intelligent Design"—and won. Why did the ACLU turn from defending the free-speech rights of Darwinists to silencing their opponents? Jonathan Wells reveals that, for today’s Darwinists, there may be no other choice: unable to fend off growing challenges from scientists, or to compete with rival theories better adapted to the latest evidence, Darwinism—like Marxism and Freudianism before it—is simply unfit to survive.

Wells begins by explaining the basic tenets of Darwinism, and the evidence both for and against it. He reveals, for instance, that the fossil record, which according to Darwin should be teeming with "transitional" fossils showing the development of one species to the next, so far hasn’t produced a single incontestable example. On the other hand, certain well-documented aspects of the fossil record—such as the Cambrian explosion, in which innumerable new species suddenly appeared fully formed—directly contradict Darwin’s theory. Wells also shows how most of the other "evidence" for evolution— including textbook "icons" such as peppered moths, Darwin’s finches, Haeckel’s embryos, and the Tree of Life—has been exaggerated, distorted . . . and even faked.

Wells then turns to the theory of intelligent design (ID), the idea that some features of the natural world, such as the internal machinery of cells, are too "irreducibly complex" to have resulted from unguided natural processes alone. In clear-cut layman’s language, he reveals the growing evidence for ID coming out of scientific specialties from microbiology to astrophysics. As Wells explains, religion does play a role in the debate over Darwin—though not in the way evolutionists claim. Wells shows how Darwin reasoned that evolution is true because divine creation "must" be false—a theological assumption oddly out of place in a scientific debate. In other words, Darwinists’ materialistic, atheistic assumptions rule out any theories but their own, and account for their willingness to explain away the evidence—or lack of it.

Darwin is an emperor who has no clothes— but it takes a brave man to say so. Jonathan Wells, a microbiologist with two Ph.D.s (from Berkeley and Yale), is that brave man. Most textbooks on evolution are written by Darwinists with an ideological ax to grind. Brave dissidents—qualified scientists—who try to teach or write about intelligent design are silenced and sent to the academic gulag. But fear not: Jonathan Wells is a liberator. He unmasks the truth about Darwinism— why it is wrong and what the real evidence is. He also supplies a revealing list of "Books You’re Not Supposed to Read" (as far as the Darwinists are concerned) and puts at your fingertips all the evidence you need to challenge the most closed-minded Darwinist.

About the Author

Jonathan Wells is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in theology from Yale University. He is the author of Icons of Evolution: Why Much of What We Teach about Evolution Is Wrong (Regnery) and is currently doing intelligent design–related scientific research.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (August 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596980133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596980136
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 110 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
First, my overall evaluation. The book is well-written, punchy, and has an edge. Wells make a plethora of strong arguments, overturns many of the most popular anti-ID talking points, but decidedly does not overturn what he calls "Darwinism."

Let me start the criticism with that term. It appears to have been chosen more to irritate the other side than because it most accurately describes his opponents. Darwin did not, after all, know about genetics -- as Wells makes clear -- or the supposed engine of innovation, random mutations. It would be like calling the General Theory of Relativity "Newtonism" -- both overly pejorative and underly accurate.

But my main criticism is that Well's argument against neo-Darwinian evolution (NDE, a better term) is not that strong. He allocated one chapter each to overturning the evidence from fossils and from genetics -- both mostly seemed like hand-waving, generalizations, and rank assertions, to me. He should at least have admitted that the general pattern of fossil evidence does show progression and development over four billion years. I don't think he even mentions the hominid record, or if he did, his mention was hard to notice as a speed sign in a poor town. All in all, on this subject Wells seemed to protest too much, and say too little.

The rest of the book was generally quite good, I thought. Wells deals with philosophical objections well. He shows that ID proponents are engaging in serious science. He demonstrates that there are a lot of very small-minded and virulent critics of ID on college campuses (if you've been around here, you might add Amazon), some of whom seem to have little room in their hearts for the concept of freedom of speech or a marketplace of ideas.
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61 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Griffin on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you're curious about intelligent design (I am, as a science teacher and as a Christian), I suppose this is a good book to read. However, you should also follow up by checking the author's citations. Alas, I found that most of his claims about "Darwinism" (a term he never clearly defines and uses to mean pretty much anything bad) are demonstrably and provably false. He carefully selects and then very creatively edits quotes from various scientists to make them appear to say whatever he wants instead of what they actually said; many of his sources have debunked his "quotes" online. His evidence in support of I.D. consists mainly of the irreducible complexity hypothesis, which has the advantage that anytime one of their "irreducibly complex" features turns out to have a solid evolutionary track record (think eyeball), the I.D. advocates can just pick another structure that hasn't been properly studied yet without ever admitting they were wrong.

Ultimately, this book demonstrates the failure of I.D. as science. The author keeps trying to redefine what science should mean in an effort to force inclusion of his ideas; finally he has to divert attention from his lack of evidence with an alleged conspiracy by the powerful "Darwinists" to suppress the bold thinkers (like the author, I guess) who advocate I.D. Worse, though, than its failure as science is I.D.'s failure as theology; by relying solely on things we haven't fully explained yet to support the thesis, the Intelligent Design movement in effect tries to make my God into a god of ignorance. My faith is bigger than natural causes, bigger than rational explanation, and is not subject to peer review; that's why we call it faith, you dunderheads. New discoveries about the universe do not make God smaller, they only make his creation all the more wonderful. Rather than legitimizing religion, forcing religion into a pseudo-scientific mold only makes God (and the advocates of intelligent design) look silly.
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89 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Randy Foreman on June 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't even attempt to be as wordy as the professional reviewers who have already reviewed this, so just let me make a few simple comments.

One is that critiques of ID accuse anyone who considered ID to be plausible MUST be doing so because they believe in God. Therefore, goes the simple argument, they are anti-science "Creationists." It is clear from this book that ID is far from being anti-science, and its proponents are clearly not bibilical literalist creationists.

The book posits that many of those who most vehemently oppose ID are themselves doing so because they do not believe in God. Atheism v. Theism. As the author of the book points out, a scientific evaluation must rise above basic metaphysical presupositions and not deny the evidence or lack of evidence because it conflicts with one's metaphysical starting point.

The author argues (I think persuasively) that many core presupositions in Darwinsim are not supported scientifically. He also argues that empirical observation suggests "Intelligent Design."

In no way does this book attempt to prove that God exists. But it also points out that Darwinist ideas do not prove the non-existence of God.

Darwin was not an atheist. He said that he was agnostic and that he did not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation.

This book is good for agnostics, but atheists will hate it.
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252 of 406 people found the following review helpful By Jason Gonella on March 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
One can make a good living going against the mainstream. Sometimes the minority is indeed right, but other times the minority is a minority because everyone else is right. The publishers of the Politically Incorrect Guides are reaping the rewards of giving the minority voices an outlet. Other Guides enable important overlooked facts to reach the general public, but this Guide enables an Argument from Incredulity to reach the general public.

Because that is what this is, a defense of Intelligent Design against Evolutionary Theory.

Ultimately this book comes down to Wells saying "I cannot believe this happened on it's own, so it must have been the work of a designer." That is not a scientific argument. The most ironic thing about this book is that Intelligent Design - by necessity - accepts evolution, just not the Theory of Evolution. The ultimate difference between Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution is that one of them posits natural causes and the other posits active intelligence for the exact same event. Homo Sapiens evolving from Australopiticus Afarensis? One says it happened by Random Mutation and Natural Selection, the other says it happened because a designer caused the mutations. Call it "Designed Mutation" and "Designed Selection", it still has Common Descent! There is no contradiction with the data (which Wells turns to and away from whenever he thinks it helps his argument), just the cause of the data. Did this mutation happen naturally or because of a designer? This is not talked about among Intelligent Design supporters.

What exactly is Wells defending? Well, there are several arguments made in favor of Intelligent Design, and none of them hold up under much closer examination.
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