I will be accused of having “reviewed” Wells’s book here without having read it, but this isn’t a review: it’s a notice…
A “notice” might simply point out the book’s existence and possibly direct the reader to useful reviews elsewhere. But why quibble? Fine, it’s not a “review.”
Emeritus Professor Coyne, University of Chicago evolutionary biologist, seems to be cadging for a free copy.
Will I read it? I don’t know, but I’m not going to pay for it.
As for the review – sorry, sorry, “notice” – it’s a predictably content-free exercise in name-calling, while accusing us of being “content-free” based on a whimsical trailer for the book, playing off its title. Good gravy.
Well, one appreciates the fact that Coyne begins by repeating his argument from a 2001 Nature review of Jonathan’s book Icons of Evolution, to which Zombie Science is the sequel.
Wells’s book rests entirely on a flawed syllogism: textbooks illustrate evolution with examples; these examples are sometimes presented in incorrect or misleading ways; therefore evolution is a fiction.
As Dr. Wells argues in Zombie Science, however, if his case rested on “incorrect or misleading” examples, the solution would have been for publishers to correct or get rid of them in subsequent editions. But they’re all still with us, like zombies.
Why? Coyne doesn’t venture an answer to this telling question. Come on, Jerry, why do the zombies persist?
Meanwhile, copious reader comments following Coyne’s post reveal just how much time his followers have on their hands. It’s interesting how much space they devote to whether Jonathan should have been allowed into the biology PhD program at Berkeley.
They assume he ignored what he learned there, when actually it was his Berkeley education that convinced him that the icons (starting with Haeckel’s embryos) were false.
Incidentally, Dr. Wells quotes and replies to Coyne extensively in Zombie Science — and thanks him in the Acknowledgements for “making embarrassingly candid or unwittingly humorous statements.”
If you’re interested in seeing evaluations of the book by scientists who have actually read it, go take a look at the Zombie Science website.
Photo: Jonathan Wells, by Andrew McDiarmid.