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Rosenhouse’s Whoppers: More Guidance on Reading Jason Rosenhouse

Photo credit: Lombroso, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Jason Rosenhouse wrote a book of over 90,000 words for Cambridge University Press, which was released in May 2022 and titled The Failures of Mathematical Anti-Evolutionism. I wrote an 18,000-word review here that appeared in June 2022. It was simultaneously posted, in a serialized form, at Evolution News. I thought it was a pretty good review. A bit long, to be sure, but Rosenhouse got so many things wrong that it seemed worth spending the space to set things right. 

I’ve reviewed my share of books over the years, in scholarly as well as more popular forums. I used to have an open door at First Things when Fr. Richard John Neuhaus ran it. I also had ready access to Books & Culture when John Wilson ran it. The very first review Wilson asked me to write, on Mark Steiner’s The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem, received the Evangelical Press Association first place award for 1999 in the category “Critical Reviews.” You can see several such reviews listed here. Go to Amazon, and you’ll find my review of Erik Larson’s The Myth of Artificial Intelligence, which to date remains the review voted most helpful to readers.

So when I saw that in early July of 2022 Rosenhouse had written a reply to my review, I decided to hold off reading or responding to it. I knew what to expect, and I knew if I read it, I would be spending more time responding to him. I was largely satisfied with what I had written. I had spent enough time reviewing the book. And I had other work that I needed to get back to. Moreover, Brian Miller responded to Rosenhouse’s reply at Evolution News, convincingly refuting it, at least from what I could tell. 

The Darwinists’ No-Concession Policy

But I wanted to see the reply for myself and finally had some time to do so. Rosenhouse’s reply weighs in at over 6,000 words, so at least the word count is coming down. With my response now, it will come down even further, though not by much. Although I’ve been doing intelligent design professionally now for three decades, I still experience surprise at how Darwinian critics of ID remain obsessively committed to a no-concession policy. Intelligent design, it would seem, can never produce even one valid criticism of Darwinism. But surely, no theory is as good as they make it out to be. Surely, intelligent design proponents must have some valid points to make against natural selection. Alas, no.

So much in Rosenhouse’s book is careless, sloppy, giving no indication that he has carefully studied and adequately comprehended my work or that of my colleagues. No matter. Darwinism can do no wrong and intelligent design can do no right. Thus, in predictable Darwinian fashion, Rosenhouse turns the tables, insisting that my review is 100 percent in error: “It is a person [= yours truly] of rare talent who can write at such length without getting anything right.” Concede nothing is the Darwinist policy. I’ve seen it with Ken Miller. I’ve seen it with Eugenie Scott. I’ve seen it with many other Darwinists. And it’s on robust display in Rosenhouse’s book as well as in his reply to my review. 

This attitude by Darwinists calls to mind for me the famous scene in the 1960s film The Guide for the Married Man, in which would-be philanderers are instructed to DENY, DENY, DENY when the least suspicion is raised that they are cheating on their spouse. The scene is linked below, with Joey Bishop standing in for the Darwinists.

Next, “Rosenhouse’s Whoppers: Appealing to the Unwashed Middle.”

Editor’s note: This review is cross-posted with permission of the author from BillDembski.com.