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The following was originally published on November 21, 2016:
Wow, congratulations to Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton! He has won richly deserved praise in the London Spectator. In a feature highlighting “The best and worst books of 2016,” with choices from a panel of contributors, the distinguished literary critic A.N. Wilson selects Denton’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis as his best nonfiction work of the year:
Michael Denton’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis (Discovery Institute Press, £16.80). A sequel to his 1985 book — Evolution: A Theory in Crisis — this takes us up to date with the dazzling developments of life sciences over the past 30 years. Denton is a sceptic about Darwin’s theory of evolution on purely scientific grounds. It is hard to see how anyone reading his book could not be persuaded. Palaeontology provides abundant evidence of evolution within species, but none of one species morphing into another. Denton is fascinatingly clear in his exposition of the science of genetics, and how it destroys the Darwinian position. A truly great book.
Reviews don’t come better than this. “A truly great book” — agreed. “Fascinatingly clear” — indeed. “Destroys the Darwinian position” — correct.
Wilson, a biographer and novelist, is himself a dazzlingly accomplished writer and thinker. His recognition of Denton doesn’t come as a complete shock, since he has voiced his evolution doubts in the past. But Dr. Denton and Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis have helped advance him toward a resolution of the Darwin question. He was previously impressed by another terrific book by a friend of ours, James Le Fanu. Wilson said in a 2009 interview in the New Statesman:
I think the jury is out about whether the theory of natural selection as defined by neo-Darwinians is true, and whether serious scientific doubts, as expressed in a new book Why Us? by James Le Fanu, deserve to be taken seriously. For example, does the discovery of the complex structure of DNA and the growth in knowledge in genetics require a rethink of Darwinian “gradualism”? But these are scientific rather than religious questions.
Seven years later, it seems the jury is no longer out for Wilson. When it comes to whether neo-Darwinism has been falsified by the scientific evidence, “It is hard to see how anyone reading [Denton’s] book could not be persuaded.” If you haven’t read Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis, now’s the time. There is also much more about Denton’s thought, including excellent videos and documentary features, at the Privileged Species website.