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Heretic: One Scientist's Journey from Darwin to Design Paperback – January 15, 2018
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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"Award-winning Finnish biotechnologist Matti Leisola has written a fascinating account of what happens when a scientist follows the evidence wherever it leads. Leisola's account of how he succeeded should inspire up-and-coming scientists who face the same challenge." Biologist Jonathan Wells, PhD, author of Icons of Evolution and Zombie Science
"Scientists, like all other intellectuals, have ideas about what constitutes and what does not constitute reality. However, they are often not aware-and sometimes not ready to admit-that such ideas represent the principles of their philosophy. Leisola and Witt's Heretic is a unique first-hand account of the life-long adventures of a scientist who dared to challenge philosophical principles of colleague scientists. In my opinion, the outcome shows that to many scientists their philosophy is dearer than their science." Biochemist and inventor Branko Kozulic, PhD
"This book is an exciting story about how a scientist's relentless search for truth makes him a heretic in the eyes of a cultural community more concerned about prestige than principle." Tapio Puolimatka, PhD and EdD, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
"This book is a personal, strong, and motivated plea for intelligent design (ID) and 'swims against the current' of Darwinian evolution, now generally accepted in scientific circles and society. I personally do not endorse ID, but I am a good friend of the author, whom I also highly respect as a scientist active in academia and in the biotech industry over so many years. Heretic inspires readers to think critically and to open up a civilized discussion on neo-Darwinism versus ID. It covers the science and philosophical parts adequately; it is accessible to a large readership; and statements are underpinned by relevant research and literature data. Its value lies in the author's lifelong engagement and personal crusade to stimulate the public debate among scientists as well as laymen over Darwinism (chance/random mutation and natural selection) versus ID, a vision that Leisola strongly advocates." Dr. Erick J. Vandamme, Emeritus Professor of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium
"Matti Leisola has written the exciting story of almost the entire spectrum of aberrant motives, absurd fears, and unreasonable reactions to intelligent design (ID) by evolutionary scientists, clergymen, and church institutions alike, notably during his career as a scientist over the last some forty years. I would add a word on the fears of so many critics that accepting ID also means accepting the dogmata of some 1700 years of church history. ID is thoroughly neutral concerning such topics. So, the reader is invited to carefully check the historical and, what is more, the enormous wealth of scientific data Matti Leisola has presented in the present book: Test them carefully with an open mind and form your own independent opinion!" Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig, geneticist, Cologne, Germany
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Particularly important is the scientific expertise that Leisola brings to these topics. He is a Ph.D. bioengineer with extensive experience in academia as well as industry, with numerous publications and patents to his credit. As recounted in the book (pg. 146): "My research has often focused on modifying proteins--mainly enzymes--to function better in specific industrial processes, and on altering the metabolic of microbes so they would produce various chemicals economically. More than forty years of work in this field has left me more skeptical than ever of theories of blind, unguided evolution."
What makes Heretic encouraging and even inspiring is that it shows how one much one man can truly make a difference. Leisola's hard work and his perseverance in the face of powerful and sometimes heated opposition is highly commendable. Heretic is also very clearly written. This book is valuable contribution to the Darwin vs. design debate.
“Evolution is slow except when it is fast. It is dynamic and makes huge changes over time, except when it keeps everything the same for millions of years. It explains extreme complexity and elegant simplicity. It teaches us how birds learn to fly, and yet also lose that ability. Evolution made cheetahs fast and turtles slow. Some creatures it made big and others small; some gloriously beautiful and others boringly gray. It forced fish to walk and walking animals to return to the sea. It diverges except when it converges; it produces exquisitely fine tuned designs except when it produces junk. Evolution is random and without direction except when it moves toward a target. Life under evolution is a cruel battlefield except when it displays altruism. And does all this with a growing number of hypotheses. Modern evolutionary theory is the Rube Goldberg of theoretical constructs. And what is the result of all this speculative ingenuity? Like the defunct theory of phlogiston, it explains everything while explaining nothing well.”
Or like another scientist (not in this book) wrote: "Evolution is always happening - somewhere else. Biologists say it is proved by astronomy, astronomers by chemists, chemists by geology, etc., but all admit the real proof is not in their own area of study."
The only place where the book drags a bit (for me) is in the center sections where too many scientists with ten syllable names get persecuted by other scientists with long names. The first section where he discovers the actual facts that make him leave evolution (but not science) and the end sections where he gives more evidence that destroys Darwinism are priceless.