Stephen Meyer’s Book — How’s It Selling?

The Discoveroids were recently screaming that Stephen Meyer’s book, Darwin’s Doubt, was number 7 on the New York Times bestseller list of nonfiction hardcover books. You can still read all about it at their blog: Darwin’s Doubt Debuts at #7 on New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List.

That was on 01 July, two weeks ago. David Klinghoffer was crowing:

Judging the success of an idea in reaching and convincing a large audience is a tricky business. In putting your case to the public in books and articles, are you making progress, just holding steady, or losing ground to competitors? What you want is a solid, unambiguous metric. Hmm, as a measure of success in getting a particular argument before a large chunk of the thoughtful, book-reading public, how does a spot on the New York Times bestseller list sound?

That would do nicely. And in fact it is just what we are very pleased to report. As careful readers will already have discerned from the headline, Stephen Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, debuted on Sunday, July 7, in the #7 place on the New York Times hardback nonfiction list.

Then Klinghoffer added:

The book also opened at #10 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list.

Very nice. Okay, two weeks have passed. Have you seen any more posts like that from the Discoveroids? No, you haven’t. In case you’re wondering why, here’s the Times‘ current list of hardcover nonfiction best sellers. Do you see Meyer’s book there? No? Neither do we.

But what about the Publishers Weekly list? You can see their current list of hardcover nonfiction bestsellers right here. How very odd — Meyer’s book isn’t there either.

What happened? What could possibly have prevented Meyer’s book from rocketing to number one and staying there for a very long time? Oh, we know — it’s been eclipsed by Ray Comfort’s new documentary film. Yes, that must be it.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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33 responses to “Stephen Meyer’s Book — How’s It Selling?

  1. Klinghoffer said:

    Judging the success of an idea in reaching and convincing a large audience is a tricky business.

    Judging the success of a scientific idea is simple: How much research does it inspire? Gravity, relativity, quantum physics, evolution, all of those ideas led to a stupendous amount of research. Even the idea of the luminiferous ether led to successful research. (Did it exist? A: No.)
    And how much research will Meyer’s book, or any similar book he’ll ever write, lead to?
    The exact same amount that has occurred up til now. And that amount lies somewhere between 1 and -1 on the number line.

  2. It’s not even in the ‘also-ran’ category, up to 25th. I’ll look for it at my favorite second-hand book store soon.

  3. However, “Proof of God” is still #1.

  4. This after the biggest promotion campaign the IDiots launched for any of their books.

  5. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Hmm, seems that (possibly coordinated) purchasing by mega-church bookstores, retail Christian bookstore chains, and “think tanks” will only fudge the numbers for so long.

    I say “possibly coordinated” because I don’t think it too far fetched to think that the Dishonesty Institute was heavily banging away emails to the aforementioned entities to pump up sales with helpful pointers to the wholesalers and retailers that will directly affect popular “best seller” lists.

    Obviously I am providing no evidence of this and could very well be wrong.*

    * said no Creationist, ever.

  6. lanceleuven

    “As careful readers will already have discerned from the headline”

    Methinks they credit their readers too much.

  7. My local public library got a copy, so I’m looking through that. And I have to wonder what evolution-deniers can get out of the book. It seems to be that Meyer fully accepts the standard time scale. And there doesn’t seem to be anything about what happened after the Cambrian. There’s no reason to doubt, for example, the relationship by common descent of humans, chimps, other apes, other mammals, other tetrapods, etc. It seems to be even if everything that he says is true, there is no reason to call into question the last half-billion years of standard evolutionary history. I can’t imagine there being many people who would find any consolation in the belief that the Intelligent Designers had special care for trilobites.

  8. On Day 1, it was for a while, I think, #5 on Amazon. Now it’s #816.

  9. TomS notes:

    I can’t imagine there being many people who would find any consolation in the belief that the Intelligent Designers had special care for trilobites.

    I’m not so sure about that. In fact, you may have stumbled upon a fresh hook upon which to hang a whole new (and potentially lucrative) religious cult along the lines of Scientology, and all based upon the worship of The Holy Trilobite.

    Our Harpetida, which art in Upper Cambrian deposits, Corynexochida be Thy Name!

  10. And I, for one, welcome the advent of our arthropod overlords!

  11. Paul Braterman says: “On Day 1, it was for a while, I think, #5 on Amazon. Now it’s #816.”

    Several pre-arranged bulk purchases by church groups and such can have an impact, but it doesn’t last very long.

  12. If you drill down on amazon to the list of books on evolution, Meyer’s book is #5.

    http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Evolution/zgbs/books/13824/ref=zg_bs_nav_b_2_75

    The list is strange because it includes paper and kindle books separately, so some books appear twice. The #1 book is Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and his “Selfish Gene” is also on the list. Shubin’s “Your Inner Fish” is on the list as well – both Dawkins’ and Shubin’s books have probably been there for a long time, whereas Meyer’s will disappear, most likely, in the near future.

    There is another creationist book on the list, ahead of Meyer’s at #3, which is by someone I’ve never heard of – Fazele Rana. It’s all about the complexity of the cell, but it is unapolegetically apologetics. (sorry) I wonder why the DI has not trumpeted Rana as an important contributor to ID? Perhaps because he makes no effort to pretend that ID is neutral with respect to a creator? Whatever the case, he is currently more popular on Amazon than Meyer.

  13. Who really cares other than the ID crowd? Book sales are just that. Will it make them respected in the scientific community? So far it’s not looking good.

  14. docbill1351

    O.M.Gosh! (Just saw “Book of Mormon”)

    The creationist species F. rana works for Hugh Ross’ Reasons to Believe, a typically dishonest creationist Christian apologetics ministry. Rana is a bat guano crazy quote miner and possibly too extreme even for the Tooters. Of course, in Creationville they are competitors with the Tute. No love lost between those neighbors.

  15. docbill1351

    Time scale, schmime schale! Creationist puff ‘n’ stuff Paul Nelson has stated that he doesn’t have to “believe” in time to argue about it. To Nelson the reality of the Cambrian is merely a philosophical position. He’s a YEC.

  16. docbill1351

    Nobody cares about Meyer’s book sales even IN the ID community except the Tooters who have to show something to keep the grifting gravy train on the tracks.

  17. I did just check now on the Amazon best sellers in paleontology, where “Darwin’s Doubt” is #1, and #2 is a book about how the Neanderthals were the Nephilim mentioned in the Bible.

  18. What? Did Ahmanson get tired of buying up all those copies just to sit in warehouses?

  19. docbill1351

    Think about this: the Tooters are reacting to comments being posted on a 1-star review thread on Amazon. Obscure much?

    Amazon to Meyer’s book to 1-star reviews to THAT review to comments.

    Well, that’s as close to a scientific conference as they’ll ever get! Seriously? Trolling Amazon discussion threads is what they call traction? BwahahahahHA!!

  20. What? How is this possible? The book to finally topple Darwin peaked already? So far as I can determine, it’s off all the NYT bestseller lists entirely. Having eagerly expected the paradigm to shift any second now for the last 20+ years, I’m disappointed.

  21. TomS said:
    My local public library got a copy, …

    What a waste of money. OTOH, it saves many people from buying the rag themselves.

    It seems to be that Meyer fully accepts the standard time scale. And there doesn’t seem to be anything about what happened after the Cambrian.

    I thought everything was created in the first 6 days, then the intelligent designer was all pooped out to do any more. So where did everything else come from if not the first 6 days?

  22. Amazon currently has it listed as #1 in Cosmology, of all things.

    My data indicates Meyer’s book is #1 in #2.

  23. TA – it took me a brief moment, but then I saw where you were heading, so to speak. If someone here actually reads this book, could they tell us if the Tuters ever move past the designer to the maker. Don’t think they have posited that the design was flawless but that it was the maker that screwed up.

  24. Our own OgreMkV / Smilodon who sometimes comments here has a copy, but his review won’t be ready for a few weeks: http://www.skepticink.com/smilodonsretreat/2013/07/09/darwins-doubt-a-review/

    There is also Nick Matzke’s review at Panda’s Thumb. It’s a two parter – links here: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/author/nick-matzke/

  25. I may be confused about the two parts, as one of those is in reply to something Luskin wrote.

  26. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Tomato Addict sez

    “I may be confused about the two parts, as one of those is in reply to something Luskin wrote.”

    The reply to Luskin is actually a standalone called Luskin’s Hopeless Monster.

    Meyer’s Hopeless Monster: (Review of Meyer, Stephen C. 2004. The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117(2):213-239. by Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry)

    … and the current … Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, Part II.

    (I’ve added direct links for simplicity as part one of MHM was posted back in 2004 and is a tough find in the archives as linked)

  27. Douglas E: if the Tuters ever move past the designer to the maker.

    I am not aware that any of the advocates of “design” ever consider that step.

    My guess is that, before the industrial revolution, the functions of design and making were usually united in the person of an artisan, so it didn’t occur to anyone that there was such a large gap. But of course we now recognize that design is not enough to account for a finished product. “Somebody designed it” is not an explanation for a watch or Mount Rushmore sculptures.

  28. docbill1351

    Take note that Meyer hasn’t responded to any critics. Seems that everyone who has read Meyer’s dreck misses the point. Only the Tooters are smart enough to explain it properly.

  29. Erich von Däniken, in his heyday, sold millions and millions of books. Somehow he still didn’t manage to establish “ancient aliens” as the glorious new paradigm in archeology. And it seems Meyer has a long way to go before he matches von Däniken anyway.

  30. H.K. Fauskanger says: “Erich von Däniken, in his heyday, sold millions and millions of books.”

    Flying Saucers Have Landed was a best seller in the 1950s.

  31. HKF writes: “… And it seems Meyer has a long way to go before he matches von Däniken anyway.”

    I am so stealing that!

  32. docbill1351

    Hey, I bought Von D’s books back in the 60’s! And the Maharishi Yogi. They were all the rage.

    I bought the books, and I bought Ian Flemming and Believe It Or Not and other junk, but didn’t subscribe to their ideas.

    That’s where critical thinking the Tooters stress comes in only if you critically thunk about their stuff you’d go, “Huh?’

    Oh, yeah….

  33. RE: Ahmanson buying boxes of the book to boost sales – I am reminded of ReMine boasting about how many major university libraries had a copy of his book. I later learned that ReMine and one of his cohorts (I don’t remember who it was – Don Batten maybe?) had sent the book to the libraries that they later boasted of having it.