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Darwin Devolves Reviewer: “Important Points” Omitted “In the Interest of Space”

David Klinghoffer

Darwin Devolves

I glanced at the website Peaceful Science where two of the Science reviewers of Darwin Devolves (Swamidass, Lents) hang their hat. Our colleague Paul Nelson notes there, “Gotta agree with Mike [Behe] on this one: the review largely ignores his main thesis in Darwin Devolves, but revisits old controversies.” Old and stale controversies, I woud add, that have already been thoroughly addressed by Michael Behe and others, writing here and elsewhere.

If I were the book review editor for Science, I would have suggested that this crew of reviewers, including Richard Lenski, focus on the book’s main point. Perhaps anticipating this objection, biologist Joshua Swamidass advised the readers of Peaceful Science:

I remind those from the DI responding to this review (e.g. @pnelson and @Agauger) that we had merely <1000 words, and were not able to explain any thing in detail. All the points we are making can be fleshed out at your request. We left out important points too, in the interest of space.

But “<1000 words” is actually more than enough to get across your critique of a book’s primary thesis, or to say anything at all that you choose to say. Anything can be said at any length. That assumes you have something to say! You don’t need to be Abraham Lincoln, either, who was satisfied with the 272 words of the Gettysburg Address. With all due respect to Dr. Swamidass and his co-authors, this excuse is not going to fly.

See Professor Behe’s earlier comments, “Woo-hoo! In Science Review of Darwin Devolves, Lenski Has No Response to My Main Argument.”

Photo: President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by David Bachrach [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.

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Abraham LincolnDarwin DevolvesGettysburg AddressMichael BeheNathan LentsPaul NelsonPeaceful ScienceRichard LenskiS. Joshua SwamidassScience (journal)