A New Book Explains the Absurdity of Darwinism

This might be the most thrilling news we’ve ever written about, and we found it at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute. It’s titled In a New Book, Longtime Agnostic Dumps Darwin. The Discoveroid post was written by Jonathan Witt, described at the end as “Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.” Impressive, huh? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Neil Thomas was a steadfast Darwinist, until an unexpected event. [What happened?] “I had something of an epiphany in a nightmare that Darwinism could not be true,” he said. “I decided to read around a bit to see if this subconscious flash of insight could be true, and my research (which was diligent) confirmed the theory to be absurd.”

He had “an epiphany in a nightmare”? We need to know more! The quote continues:

“I realized I had been conned,” he said. “I felt there was something dishonest about the huge claims made by Darwinism compared with the negligible evidence to support the thesis.”

This is amazing! We need to know more. Jonathan Witt, Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press, tells us:

He was so alarmed by this conclusion that he felt impelled to write a book as a sort of warning call to humanity: “Beware! You have been fooled!” That book has just been released by Discovery Institute Press [Ooooooooooooh! The Discoveroids’ own in-house publisher!]: Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design..

The Discoveroids link to the book at their own book store, but we hunted for it at Amazon — and we found it! It’s only $14.96 in paperback, and for that you get 166 pages. Amazing! And yes, there’s a “look inside” feature. It seems that there’s only one review so far, but it gives the book five stars. Whoopie!

Okay, back to the Discoveroids’ blog. They say:

Critics of intelligent design will have a hard time maligning Thomas as a “creationist in a cheap tuxedo.” He isn’t religious and is a longtime member of the British Rationalist Association, a group known for religious skepticism. [Impressive!] The book traces the evolution debate across millennia [Huh?], with Darwin and Darwinism emphasized as a crucial pivot point in the story. The author details key objections raised early on against Darwin’s theory and shows that those objections have been explained away, but never really rebutted.

Wowie — objections to Darwin’s theory were never rebutted! Our professors lied to us! The Discoveroid post quotes the brilliant author:

“One of the things I taught for decades was the language of Nazi propaganda (Dr. Goebbels et al.) and also the political brainwashing via the German language used by the apparatchiks of the old German Democratic Republic. This was most useful in assessing the special pleading and loaded phrases used by such as Richard Dawkins.”

Are you throwing up yet, dear reader? No problem. The Discoveroid post ends with one more quote from the brilliant author, and this is guaranteed to do it:

“The way Darwinism has been hijacked to attack religion is disgraceful, especially when on purely scientific grounds religion seems more logical than Darwinism,” he said. “Nothing comes of nothing after all, and there is no effect without a cause. The mindless automatism postulated for Darwinism on the other hand smacks of nothing so much as magical thinking.”

Okay, dear reader, now now here’s your assignment for the week. Buy the book, read it carefully, then get back here and tell us about the experience. We’ll be waiting!

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

37 responses to “A New Book Explains the Absurdity of Darwinism

  1. siluriantrilobite

    “Neil Thomas was a steadfast Darwinist, until an unexpected event. [What happened?]” I suspect a brain aneurysm is as good an explanation as any other.

    >

  2. For the full horror, go to https://discoveryinstitutepress.com/book/taking-leave-of-darwin/ , Where you will discover about two paragraphs down that Neil Thomas was a Professor of German technology at University of Durham, and wrote two books which I chased up to 1995 and 2002 about the Nibelunglied and the Arthur legends, respectively.

    Why, I wonder, did your own rather shorter link fail to share with us these impressive and relevant credentials?

  3. No,not German technology (vorschprung durch technic), but German philology

  4. chris schilling

    “An epiphany in a nightmare.”

    Yes, I’ve often thought nightmares are vastly underrated as a source of knowledge when it comes to the scientific method.

  5. Dave Luckett

    The usual question: “What evidence, at present unknown to you, would convince you that Darwin’s theory is the best explanation for the diversity of living things?”

    In nearly all cases, the truthful answer is “None.” I suspect that to be the case here, too.

  6. And the other usual question: What alternative is proposed for explaining the sort of facts which evolutionary biology deals with?

  7. Only one shill review on Amazon? Are the shills taking a nap or something?

  8. Dave Luckett

    Digging around a bit, I find that Neil Thomas was a reader in German philology, not a full professor, although he would be accorded that title in America. (In universities following the British tradition, only heads of departments, occupying an endowed professorial “chair”, are called Professor.)

    He was born in 1949, and is therefore 71 or 72 now. According to this http://worldcat.org/identities/lccn-nr89006293/ his last substantial academic publication was in 2005-6. All his academic output was concerned with legend and mythic history, integrating German literature with, among other things, the matter of Arthur. He has absolutely no qualifications or expertise in biology, nor even theology.

    I recognise a pattern here – an aged mind takes up a hobbyhorse, and demonstrates that the critical faculties that served it well in an academic career dwindle in the face of the years, like every other faculty. I consider this by far the more likely explanation for this book, much more so than any “epiphany”. But “likely” is not “conclusive”. I’m not going to buy the book, all the same, and I will await critical discussion by genuine biologists. If any think it worthwhile, that is.

  9. Christine Marie Janis

    “The more that science has progressed, argues Neil Thomas, the greater the dissonance between Darwinism’s simplistic mechanism and the inscrutable complexities of life it seeks to explain.”
    James Le Fanu, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

    Dalton’s notion of the atom was pretty simplistic too, in comparison to our current understanding of physics and chemistry. Strange that nobody ever attacks him this way.

  10. Dave Luckett

    Le Fanu says he’s not a creationist, dear me, no. He just doubts that evolution can explain consciousness or the extreme complexity of living things, and proposes that these are explained by an immaterial life-force instead. He is not detained by the complete lack of evidence for this force, dismissing all such criticism on the grounds that he said it was immaterial, didn’t he?

  11. More on le Fanu, from Wikipedia: he’s a retired GP, professional contrarian, possibly useful critic of over-prescription, columnist for the Daily Telegraph (so,once, was Alexander Boris dePfeffel Johnson), and “Le Fanu is an open critic of materialism (scientism) and the explanatory power of Darwin’s evolutionary theory whose fundamental premises he argued in his book Why Us? are undermined by the findings of the two revolutionary technical developments of genome sequencing and brain imaging. The discovery of the equivalence of genomes across the vast range of organismic complexity has failed to identify the numerous random genetic mutations that, according to Darwinian theory, would account for the diversity of form of the living world. As for neuroscience, while the sophisticated PET and MRI scanning techniques allow scientists to observe the brain in action from the inside, the fundamental question of how its electrochemistry translates into subjective experience and consciousness remains unresolved.[8]

    According to the New Scientist, Le Fanu argues for the existence of a non-material “life force” that may explain many of the mysteries unexplained by material science.[9] Le Fanu is not a creationist but “makes the argument for a non-materialist realm of both cosmic and psychic creation”.[10][11] “

  12. And, of course, there is no description of what an immaterial life-force is, what it can do and what it cannot, when and where, etc. An immaterial force? Compare and contrast with a material force.

  13. I’m sure quantum physicists are busy investigating Le Fanu’s 5th force right now!

  14. Crazy creationist wackadoodle writes ““I had something of an epiphany in a nightmare that Darwinism could not be true,” he said. “I decided to read around a bit to see if this subconscious flash of insight could be true, and my research (which was diligent) confirmed the theory to be absurd.”
    He did his research by studying old Jack Chick cartoons. Impressive scholastic capabilities.

  15. “The case for design” explained. Mix two parts home scul with one part willful ignorance, three parts mental laziness, eight parts fundamentalist preacher upbringing,. After heating everything together pour in a little schizophrenia , a quart of Bible college “biology” class and a bunch of low IQ. Scoop the slop into a blender and mix on high for twenty minutes then bake at 225 for an hour. Bring the casserole to the next Behe book signing near you and offer as research for his next humdinger of a fairy tale.

  16. @Och Will, Languages now so degraded that I don’t know whether your last sentence is true, or a joke. Only today, I wrote what I thought was obvious satire on a Facebook thread, ending with “checkmate evolutionists!”, and someone thought I meant that literally and wrote a three paragraph rebuttal.

    If it’s true, please send details. That would make the whole affair funny enough to write about. But I’m too busy (euphemism for lazy) to plough through Neil Thomas’s staff to find out for myself

  17. Jim Roberts

    It’s so hard to tell what’s a joke and what’s just a genuinely terrible thinker, though.

  18. I think I know the source of his nocturnal angst: Rather than “Darwinism” it should be called “Wallaceism”. Wow that was easy! No more Jalapeño poppers before bedtime!

  19. Theodore J Lawry

    Wow! Discovery Institute is really going all out for this tripe: “Darwin is wrong because I think so.” You would think only a vanity press would touch it. They are publishing it, giving it a podcast, they got Behe to endorse it, and Steve Fuller! Well, we knew Fuller was a loon. They must be really desperate for something to print. Maybe they are suckers for anyone who says they flipped from believing in Darwin to believing in God. Could there be money in that?

  20. Puck Mendelssohn

    I bought the book on its release date and have almost finished my review of it. It’s truly horrid (yes, I’m sure you are SHOCKED to hear that!). My favorite howler is when he refers to cladistics as a “non-evolutionary mode of biological classification.” That’s some rare humor, there. Well, he’s British, so it’s rare humour, I suppose.

  21. Dave Luckett

    Puck Mendelssohn, a sterling and valiant work, far beyond any effort of mine, More strength to you.

  22. Puck Mendelssohn

    Thanks, Dave Luckett. I am nursing quite a few badly damaged brain cells after having read this one, though on the plus side, I now know that Darwin was a bit fat liar and a bad student, to boot, who stole all his ideas from Lucretius. Or that may be the damaged brain cells talking. I dunno.

  23. Creationists have that unique (I hope that nobody else is so endowed) talent …
    Darwinism is wrong because Darwin was such a bad guy.
    And, anyway, it wasn’t Darwin’s idea.

  24. Puck Mendelssohn

    Ah, and now there’s already a review responding to mine. This reviewer seems to think that I have missed the point and that the book is really about PHILOSOPHY of evolution, and how that’s totally totally totally totally wrong. And that’s another creationist specialty: pretending that someone’s purely philosophical argument about the origins of evolutionary thinking can undo all that empirical evidence which those foolish biologists keep publishing. If only they knew that their entire discipline stands or falls on the question whether Darwin stole it all from Lucretius!

  25. @Puck Mendelssohn – Excellent review, as always! I can’t see the critique to your review.

  26. Puck Mendelssohn

    @hans435 — Thanks! I am always glad to hear that people enjoy these things, and that my brain cells did not die in vain. The criticism of my review is in a five-star review by someone with the user ID “bayani7” titled “Well-documented, succinct history of Evolutionary Philosophy and its detractors in excellent prose” — but Amazon and the Internet being as they are, it’s always possible that you can’t see that for some strange reason. He says that the other two reviewers — me and the one other five-star currently up — missed the point of the book.

  27. @Puck Mendelssohn, I eventually found bayani7’s review. It is not comment on yours (so far there aren’t any, although so far 12 people, including me, say that they have found it helpful) but a separate free-standing review, and can be found at https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B096GBSV4Y/ref=acr_dp_hist_5?ie=UTF8&filterByStar=five_star&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar . Bayani7 says “Fascinating for many will be quotations by the ancient philosopher Lucretius — one will recognize in them, verbatim, an identical metaphysical view held by many atheists today and popularized by the likes of Dawkins and friends.” True, of course; scientists follow Lucretius in seeking natural causes for natural phenomena. And if this what Neil Thomas is saying, we are eternally indebted to him for pointing this out to us

  28. Only 4 stars so far. More shills need to get in there and take it to the usual 41/2 Amazon stars that the books from kooks get. It must be some type of shill holiday vacation or something.

  29. Puck Mendelssohn

    @Paul Braterman, yes, that’s right. Amazon actually got rid of “comments” on reviews a while back, and deleted all of them that were on existing reviews, to boot! There were close to ten thousand comments on the Donald Prothero review of Darwin’s Doubt, for example, which now swim with the fishes.

    True, of course; scientists follow Lucretius in seeking natural causes for natural phenomena. And if this what Neil Thomas is saying, we are eternally indebted to him for pointing this out to us

    Yes, we certainly are. Who knew? It’s amazing that scientists were just following the poems of Lucretius all this time and that nobody had evidently noticed.

  30. @PM: Just like Le Bourgeous Gentilhomme talking prose. Our ignorance was shocking

  31. The New York Review of Books, summer issue (Aug 19), page 45, has a couple ads for Discovery Institute Press:
    Taking Leave of Darwin by Neil Thomas
    Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose; by Marcos Eberlin

  32. Puck Mendelssohn

    Eberlin’s book Foresight is truly awful. I have a review of that at Amazon also. It’s basically Behe’s usual arguments plus an extra dose of dead-stupid.

  33. What demonstrates the seriousness of how easily people are propagandized, fooled, and misinformed is reading blogs (I’m not including your blog.) and looking through the types of books in book stores. One more thing. On these million-channel televisions, the choices of programmings indicates a serious lack of self-awareness and strong principles in viewers.

  34. @dolphinwrite, to say nothing of YouTube, where shockjocks get paid by the click in advertising revenue, and social media where malicious manipulators deploy bots. With both of these, it is very easy to conduct research on what is or isn’t bringing in the clicks and the “likes”. It is almost impossible to avoid, and I feel pretty sure that most people don’t even consider avoiding, telling the puppetmasters just how to pull our stringss

  35. I’m no expert on marketing, but if I were advising some schlock merchant, where would I advise placing their advertising:
    A medium which demands a long attention span and critical thought
    A medium which attracts people who will uncritically accept whatever is said. The stupider and more unbelievable the non-advertising content, the better

  36. A hopeful thing are all the people who don’t watch these shows (Myself included, save one minute to see if it’s worth anything, then read a book.), who do read and do real research, and refuse to allow others to think for them. Recently, we’re hearing more about true self-thinkers, because the controlling politicians and media doesn’t like them telling everyone to think for themselves and make decisions that are right for them.