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96 of 545 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why this book is a fairy tale, December 31, 2010
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This review is from: Why Evolution Is True (Hardcover)
I just finished reading Jerry Coyne's book for the second time. He does a nice job telling us why he believes that macro-evolution is true. No creationists has a gripe with micro-evolution, it is an OBSERVED fact. (If it weren't true we all would have rubber-stamped faces and bodies.) But to ASSUME from the observed that the unobserved is true is pure imagination--not science.

Coyne starts out his story with the definition of evolution on page 3: "Life on earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species--perhaps as self-replicating molecule--that lived 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) of evolutionary change is natural selection." This is not a SCIENTIFIC statement but a statement of FAITH. He hinges his story on the PERHAPS self-replicating molecule that supposedly lived 3.5 billion years ago.

Darwin could be forgiven to make such an assumption since at his time "spontaneous generation" was believed to be true. But spontaneous generation has been debunked long ago, and modern microbiology has shown that a cell is not a simple blob, but a whole chain of machinery and information starting with the database of 3 billion base pairs in the Nucleus, the protein factory in the Ribosome, the storage and modification of proteins in the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER), the transport of the products from the ER through the Golgi Apparatus, the recycling factory of the Lysosomes, the detoxification via the Peroxisomes and the power plant of the Mitochondria.

Not only that, replication is not a simple process like making a photocopy or putting Lego blocks together. It takes DNA and the protein machinery to make proteins, and it takes proteins to replicate DNA. This is the famous chicken-and-egg problem origin-of-life researchers are confronted with.
Robert Shapiro says, "DNA holds the recipe for protein construction. Yet that information cannot be retrieved or copied without the assistance of proteins. Which large molecule, then, appeared first in getting life started--proteins (the chicken) or DNA (the egg)?"

Shapiro goes on to say,"NO NUCLEOTIDES of any kind have been reported as products of spark discharge experiments or in studies of meteorites, nor have the smaller units (nucleosides)."(Nucleotides are the structural units, or building blocks, of DNA and RNA.)

Robert Shapiro is not the only one who finds it hard to believe that random events could create a living cell--or even RNA. In the cited article he mentions that Leslie Orgel, of the Salk Institute, and Gerald Joyce, of the Scripps Research Institute, call the question of self-replicating RNA arising by itself "the prebiotic chemist's nightmare". Nobel laureate Sir Francis Crick in his book "Life Itself" said: "The origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to be satisfied to get it going."

So, for Coyne to start off his story with the PERHAPS self-replicating molecule shows that he ignores the findings of microbiologists and tries to sell us his fairy-tale that evolution is true. Then he goes on to ASSUME that the similarity in the cells of all living beings MUST HAVE a common ancestor.
(You will find many "must have's" and "probably's" throughout his book).

With the presupposition that "Evolution is true" he then cobbles together SELECTIVE evidence, mixed with outright LIES to tell us his story. In chapter 2, titled "Written in the Rocks", he says, "Although the figure (Figure 3 on p.26) shows the "first appearances" of groups like reptiles and mammals, this shouldn't be taken to mean that modern forms appear in the fossils record suddenly, arising out of nowhere. Instead, for most groups we see gradual evolution from earlier forms (birds and mammals, for example, evolved over millions of years from reptilian ancestors). THIS IS A BIG FAT LIE!!!

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, a more honest evolutionist, says the following in his book, "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

p. 749 "...the tale itself illustrates the central fact of the fossil record so well--geologically ABRUPT ORIGIN and subsequent extended stasis of most species. Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives. Paleontologists have always recognized the long-term stability of most species, we had become more than a bit ashamed by this strong and literal signal, for the dominant theory or our scientific culture told us to look for the opposite result of gradualism as the primary empirical expression of every biologists favorite subject--evolution itself."

p. 750 in 1903 H.F. Cleland wrote the following: "In a section such as that of the Hamilton formation at Cayaga Lake... if the statement natura non facit saltum (=Nature makes no leaps) is granted, one should, with some confidence expect to find many--at least some--evidences of evolution. A careful examination of the fossils of all zones, from the lowest to the highest, failed to reveal any evolutional changes, with the possible exception of Ambocoelia praeumbona (a brachiopod). The species are as distinct or as variable in one portion of the section as in another. Species varied in shape, in size and in surface markings, but the changes were not progressive. The conclusion must be that... the evolution of brachiopods, gastropods and pelecypods either does not take place at all or takes place very seldom, and that it makes little difference how much time elapses so long as the conditions of environment remain unchanged."

p. 751 "Evolutionary theory may be a wonderful intellectual frill, but workaday paleontology, until recently used fossils primarily in the immensely useful activity (in mining, mapping, finding oil, etc.) of dating rocks and determining their stratigraphic sequence. These practical paleontologists dared not be wrong in setting their criteria for designating ages and environments. They had to develop the most precise system that empirical recognition could supply for specifying the age of a stratum; they could not let theory dictate a fancy expectation unsupported by observation. If most fossil species changed gradually during their geological lifetimes, biostratigraphers would have codified "stage of evolution" as the primary criterion for dating by fossils. But in fact biostratigraphers treat species as stable entities throughout their documented ranges--because the vast majority so appear in the empirical record."

p. 752 "We (Eldrege and Gould) wondered why evolutionary paleontologists have continued to seek, for over a century and almost always in vain, the "insensibly graded series" that Darwin told us to find. Biostratigraphers have known for years that morphological stability, particularly in characters that allow us to recognized species-level taxa, is the rule, not the exception. It is time for evolutionary theory to catch up with empirical paleontology, to confront the phenomenon of evolutionary non-change, and to incorporate it into our theory, rather than simply explain it away."

p. 759 "So if stasis could not be explained away as missing information, how could gradualism face this most prominent signal from the fossil record? The most negative of all strategies--a quite unconscious conspiracy of silence--dictated the canonical response of paleontologists to their observation of stasis. Paleontology therefore came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution. Stasis existed in overwhelming abundance, as every paleontologist always knew. But this primary signal of the fossil record, defined as an absence of data for evolution, only highlighted our frustration--and certainly did not represent anything worth publishing. Paleontology therefore fell into a literally absurd vicious cycle."

End of quotes.

In chapter 5 titled "The Engine of Evolution" Coyne focuses on Natural Selection and gives it God-like powers. Page 119 "Selection has to MOLD these features in a particular way. First it has to CREATE (emphases mine) them--most often gradually--step by step from precursors. As we have seen, each newly evolved trait begins as a modification of an earlier feature. The legs of tetrapods, for example, are simply modified fins." He never explains where the precursors came from, and that the legs of tetrapods are modified fins is just an assertion.

In the next paragraph he says: "If an "adaptive" trait evolved by natural selection instead of having been created, we can make some predictions. First, in principle we should be able to imagine a plausible step-by-step scenario..."

Notice the word IMAGINE? This is really what the theory of macro-evolution is: imagining a plausible scenario of how creatures and features evolved by stringing together hypothetical scenarios and relationships.

On page p.228 Coyne derides psychologists and others who Darwinize every aspect of human behavior and says, "But imaginative reconstructions of how things MIGHT HAVE evolved are not science; they are stories" -obviously unaware that he is guilty of the very same thing.

On page 230 he says, "We should be deeply suspicious of speculations unaccompanied by hard evidence." You are right, Mr. Coyne! We should be deeply suspicious of your writings since there is no hard evidence in the rocks that evolution is true and the "self-replicating molecule" that started your evolutionary process does not exist.
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Tracked by 11 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 250 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2011, 8:31:33 AM PST
What is your alternate explanation for the diversity and presence of life on this planet if you reject evolutionary theory?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011, 1:03:33 PM PST
ex gratia says:
My contention is that the "sudden appearance" of fully formed creatures in the fossil record verifies what the Bible teaches that God created all life by His power and intelligence.
Note, that I don't disagree with micro-evolution. The Designer has put a lot of variety into the genetic code so that there is both order and lawfulness in inheritance, and yet enough flexibility to create variety.

Posted on Jan 2, 2011, 9:33:24 PM PST
S. Prewitt says:
ex gratia,

Seriously: Why did you write this "review"? I'm always curious about people who claim to be creationists and flat-earthers in the 21st century. Are you playing a character in some fantasy role-playing game, like Dungeons and Dragons? Are you allowed to talk about it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2011, 3:46:50 AM PST
ex gratia says:
The reason I wrote this review is to show that some scientists are LYING to propagate their beloved theory of macro-evolution. True, objective, science points toward a Creator! It's just that some people will cover up the evidence to promote their godless worldview.

Posted on Jan 5, 2011, 7:22:23 PM PST
Hi Ex Gratia, I think you may have overlooked some important details in your review. For example, Coyne is discussing major groups (birds, mammals, reptiles). But most of if not all of your quotes from Gould are about species. This is not a trivial difference. Species often do show stasis in the fossil record, but there are quite a few intermediates between modern reptiles and mammals, for example, which is to what Coyne was referring. Additionally gradual is a relative term, don't you think? I think it is pretty difficult to say that the observed pattern of evolution is not gradual. I think his point is that modern groups don't simply appear fully formed with no evidence of intermediates.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011, 12:44:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2011, 12:45:51 PM PST
ex gratia says:
Eric, yes, there may be creatures that look like intermediates, but they do NOT prove gradual evolution, they a mosaics, just like the platypus. Even those mosaic fossils that we find are fully formed creatures, not showing any 'stage' of evolution.
Actually, I just looked up what Coyne said about Archeopteryx. He said on p. 40 that Acheopteryx is more reptile than bird; whereas Wikipedia says it's a primitive BIRD. (Another lie of Coyne to make things fit his theory?)

As to your comment of gradual being a relative term, I just used gradual the way evolutionists use it. Yes, the observed pattern of micro-evolution is gradual, no doubt about it. But that doesn't prove macro-evolution.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011, 1:25:19 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 3, 2014, 1:44:42 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011, 1:42:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 7, 2011, 2:18:19 PM PST
Hi Ex Gratia, While you are correct the fossils do not "prove" evolution (theories are not really proven in any science), they do support the theory of evolution. They are exactly what the theory predicts. Aren't they?
I have no idea what you mean by a mosaic. What is that?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011, 1:45:55 PM PST
Hi Bob, while we probably agree on the theory of evolution, your strategy of dealing with deniers is probably not going to win anyone over to your side. Just a thought. I understand that mine may not either.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2011, 5:12:28 PM PST
stickler says:
ex gratia: You say: "It's just that some people will cover up the evidence to promote their godless worldview". If by people you mean biologists, then you are just plain wrong. Have you considered the position of the creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International, and their operatives? They subscribe to a statement of faith that declares invalid any scientific evidence that contradicts the scriptural record, so you could more accurately have said that "It's just that some people willfully cover up the evidence in order to promote their religious worldview".
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