Review: Heretic Takes Aim at Science’s Third Rail
Issue 45 of Salvo Magazine carries a stimulating review of the newest ID book out there, Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design, by Matti Leisola and Jonathan Witt. A few highlights from the review by Mind Matters editor Denyse O’Leary:
Randomness and chaos are much easier to market today than order, meaning, and purpose. The songs write themselves. Serious scientists, therefore, can find themselves in conflict with a view that is not so much an argument as an attitude to life, not so much a marshaling of evidence as a demand that posturing overrule evidence.
Case in point: Matti Leisola, a gifted Finnish bioengineer, started out as a good Darwinist. But he could not avoid the massive pushback from the evidence of design he found in nature.
Over a long career, which included serving as dean (now emeritus) of Chemistry and Material Sciences at Helsinki University of Technology and as research director for Cultor, a global biotech company, Leisola faced off against nonsense from both science and religion. For an example of scientific nonsense, there was this claim from a Finnish university professor: “There is no qualitative difference between life and non-life.”
Tell that to your doorstop.
Leisola faced muddle-headedness on the religious front, too. As a Christian, he was troubled by the fact that the Finnish Lutheran Church sensed no problem with the materialism inherent in Darwinism (i.e., the belief that nature is all there is).
O’Leary wraps up her strongly positive review with a quotation from Heretic and a poignant closing comment:
Leisola concludes, “I came to understand through my many international connections that neo-Darwinism, while little valued among mainstream biologists who spent any time thinking about the theory, was treated by them as a third rail — too dangerous to touch.” (p. 161) Well, we can’t touch the third rail, so the question becomes, How can we safely get past it? If we can’t, we won’t know what lies on the other side of the tracks or what difference it might make.
Darwin’s legacy roars on. But can science now be heard above the din?
The full review is here.
And the same issue of Salvo includes a second positive review of Heretic as well, this one by Terrell Clemmons. One passage from it:
A quintessential scientist’s memoir, Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design contains Leisola’s reflections on both developments in science (including biology, paleontology, genetics, information theory, and ID) and his “long and painstaking” voyage from the naturalistic evolutionary faith to dissent from Darwin. Heretic also details some of the evasions, hatred, suspicions, contempt, fears, power games, and persecutions that unfortunately mark the life of an open Darwin skeptic. And remarkably, it manages to do so with a subtle wit both sharp enough to poke fun at the contortions of materialism and shrewd enough to note the gravely consequential nature of what’s at stake.
Heretic is available at Amazon, with a current Kindle sale price of $7.99. Check it out.
Photo: Third rail, Toronto, Ontario, by Saud [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.