Note: This post is the last in a series reviewing Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, and Part 7 here.
Darwin called The Origin of Species “one long argument” for his theory, but Jerry Coyne has given us one long bluff. Why Evolution Is True tries to defend Darwinian evolution by rearranging the fossil record; by misrepresenting the development of vertebrate embryos; by ignoring evidence for the functionality of allegedly vestigial organs and non-coding DNA, then propping up Darwinism with theological arguments about “bad design;” by attributing some biogeographical patterns to convergence due to the supposedly “well-known” processes of natural selection and speciation; and then exaggerating the evidence for selection and speciation to make it seem as though they could accomplish what Darwinism requires of them.
The actual evidence shows that major features of the fossil record are an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution; that early development in vertebrate embryos is more consistent with separate origins than with common ancestry; that non-coding DNA is fully functional, contrary to neo-Darwinian predictions; and that natural selection can accomplish nothing more than artificial selection — which is to say, minor changes within existing species.
Faced with such evidence, any other scientific theory would probably have been abandoned long ago. Judged by the normal criteria of empirical science, Darwinism is false. It persists in spite of the evidence, and the eagerness of Darwin and his followers to defend it with theological arguments about creation and design suggests that its persistence has nothing to do with science at all.50
Nevertheless, biology students might find Coyne’s book useful. Given accurate information and the freedom to exercise critical thinking, students could learn from Why Evolution Is True how Darwinists manipulate the evidence and mix it with theology to recycle a false theory that should have been discarded long ago.
50 Paul A. Nelson, “The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning,” Biology and Philosophy 11 (October 1996): 493 – 517. Abstract available online (2009) here.
Jonathan Wells, “Darwin’s Straw God Argument,” Discovery Institute (December 2008). Available online (2009) here.