Self-published Genius Challenges Darwin’s Theory

A press release announces the availability of a self-published assault on the theory of evolution: Two New Publications Differ on How Evolution Could Help the Humanities

The first of those “new publications” seems to be a legitimate publication that apparently has nothing to do with what’s being promoted by this press release. Our impression is that it’s mentioned only give the appearance that the new self-published work is part of a trend. Therefore we’ll confine our attention to the real subject of this press release. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

“Take On Darwin” is the fifth “book” published by science writer and web publisher Shaun Johnston under the imprint Evolved Self Publishing.

“Shaun”? This guy doesn’t even know how to spell his own name. We Googled for him, but found only references to someone in the movie industry. That doesn’t seem like the same man. Let’s read on:

It’s a “book” in the form of a website, http://www.takeondarwin.com, that readers update with their own contributions. Each of the site’s pages consists of a document to the left, with space for readers’ contributions to the right.

We haven’t bothered to visit that link. The press release continues:

Johnston invites the reader to travel back in time to when evolution was first discovered, before Charles Darwin arrived at his theory of natural selection, and come up with new theories better suited to the humanities. On the site’s home page he points out that almost all the early pioneers in evolutionary theory were humanities-trained (except, notably, for Lamarck).

Go for it, dear reader. If you’re not happy with the theory of evolution, then start all over and find something “better suited to the humanities.” Yes — that’s how science should be done!

Hey, your Curmudgeon has one already: Maybe we evolved so that we could take advantage of bathroom fixtures. You don’t like that one? Well, it was our first effort. Here’s more from the press release:

To get the ball rolling Johnston offers an update on Lamarck’s theory — the genome itself evolved to become intelligent, and that intelligence can literally think the specifications for new species back into its “brain,” creatures’ genes. Eventually it “thought” intelligence and conscious volition into us.

An intelligent genome! Why didn’t we think of that? At last, the intelligent designer has competition! Here’s the rest of it:

“For the humanities, coming up with new theories of evolution isn’t rocket science,” says Johnston, “nor need it involve creationism. It’s figuring out how creatures like us, with conscious free will, could have evolved.”

This is a great new intellectual endeavor. Good luck, “Shaun.” Your Curmudgeon salutes you.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Self-published Genius Challenges Darwin’s Theory

  1. All hypotheses are welcome in science. Just don’t get upset when we ignore the untestable ones, the ones previously tested and found to be wrong, and the ones that seem to break all known laws of physics and chemistry. (Hmm…since the laws are really just extremely well-tested hypotheses, I guess that third bit is just a special case of the second bit).

  2. Once again, I feel like I should apologise on behalf of Britain…

    Shaun Johnston, from his website;
    “I was brought up the son of a Church of England clergyman in the south of London.
    I studied biochemistry at University College London in the program’s first or second year, but was denied my degree for an inadequate grasp of chemistry.
    My careers since then have been as a “creative”: graphic and book designer, medical and scientific writer, and webmaster and online publisher. ”

    Another failure unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
    I wonder what sort drivel his medical writing comprises. I wouldn’t doubt that it isn’t the sort of “Medical Breakthrough – Loose Lbs fast with a previously undiscovered berry” adverts we see adorning some websites..

    Sorry everyone!

  3. Stigs mate says:

    Once again, I feel like I should apologise on behalf of Britain…

    It’s not your fault. Hey, Kate Middleton is okay. Her mother was a stewardess, and that ain’t bad!

  4. Stigs Mate: I wonder what sort drivel his medical writing comprises.

    One hopes he blogs on every illness he has, and then invites readers to come up with cures ‘better suited to the humanities’ (than mainstream medicine).

  5. One of the weaknesses of evolution that must be addressed in science classes: Some humanities writers don’t like it.

    Don’t laugh, it’s as good as any the DI’s thought up.

  6. Gabriel Hanna

    Some humanities writers don’t like it.

    I’ve encountered this before. There’s a lot of dislike for Darwin in the humanities, as well as attachment to Freud and a lot of other pseudosciences and superstitions.

  7. There’s a lot of dislike for Darwin in the humanities

    Any idea why? Are they confusing his development of a biological theory with 20th century political thinkers developing social darwinism? That would be kind of like being angry at Newton for ICBMs.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    Any idea why?

    Depends on which ones you read. Some are attached to “blank slate” notions of minds. They don’t like the thought that anybody is “naturally” anything, because that implies that social systems won’t make us all equal, or something. Some are anti-science in general, it’s too heteronormative or patriarchal or something.

  9. I refer you to this episode of This American Life for similar crankery in the field of physics.

    ACT THREE. SUCKER MC-SQUARED.
    Bob Berenz had a good job as an electrician. But he wanted to do something bigger. He came up with an idea for an invention. But as he studied physics texts to see if his invention could work, he happened upon the biggest idea of his life: A revelation about physics that would disprove Einstein, and Newton. That is, if Bob’s right. Bob’s friend, Robert Andrew Powell, reports the story. He’s a sports writer and the author of We Own This Game, about youth football. (16 minutes)

  10. James F, your internet reading habits are far stranger than mine.

  11. Gabriel Hanna

    A revelation about physics that would disprove Einstein, and Newton.

    I have way too much experience with that sort of thing. Tiresome, exhausting, extensive experience. Not hilarious like Time Cube.

    Here’s a guy:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~danielemilio/a_shifting_theory_of_gravity.html

    And another:

    http://www.aethro-kinematics.com/

  12. Gabriel Hanna

    SC, try to be nice about the “self-published”– the “reputable” publishing houses will publish just about anything, no matter how pseudoscientific it is.

  13. The second guy’s website is more stylish. He must have the better theory.

  14. Gabriel Hanna says:

    SC, try to be nice about the “self-published”

    I guess I should. After all, a blog is self-published. No celestial committee has given me their stamp of approval.

  15. Looks like Shaun’s scribbling hasn’t got glowing reviews on Amazon.

    From William J. Costello “bongobilly”;
    “Although his stated purpose, in amazon’s science forum, is to cause “20,000 evos” (scientists and teachers) to lose their jobs,” his scurrying away like a cockroach when confronted with real scientific questions there reveals his real purpose – to make a quick buck. Notice he gave himself 5 stars! He feels that scientific qualifications, experience, knowledge, the scientific method and the peer review process are all unnecessary when a layman such as he has the gift of insight. Actually, he doesn’t even offer that much. There’s not a grain of originality, much less real science. He’s counting on there being enough gullible, scientifically ignorant people out there, who will buy this trash, to make a quick killing. He knows they exist because look how much money charlatans like Michael Behe, Philip E. Johnson and William Dempski make with the same, fraudulent claims. At least they’re desperate and cunning enough to be original.

    In summary, you’re going to read the work of con artists, you might as well go the deceitful source where this “science gone wrong” crap originated – the Discovery Institute! ”

    Not only self-published but self-reviewed!

  16. Stigs mate says:

    Looks like Shaun’s scribbling hasn’t got glowing reviews on Amazon.

    That’s how it is when a great genius comes along. The little people don’t appreciate him at first.

  17. LOL! Bongobilly’s got it exactly right.