When a Book Review Is Not a “Book Review”

Last updated 3/9/10, 7:00 pm. As a former book review editor (at National Review), I take a professional interest in book reviews and all the things that can go right or wrong with them. I confess, though, I’ve never seen anything quite like the treatment of Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, on BioLogos, the curious website funded by the Templeton Foundation and specializing in Christian apologetics for Darwin. The site published what was clearly, unambiguously written to look like a review by biologist Francisco Ayala that, as Steve Meyer pointed out already, actually gave every evidence that Ayala had not read the book. (My colleague Dr. Meyer thinks Ayala did read Read More ›

Stephen Meyer Responds to Evolutionary Biologist Francisco Ayala on Signature in the Cell

Earlier this year, evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala critiqued Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell, in an invited essay for the Biologos Foundation website. Dr. Meyer has now responded with the first part of a two-part response, “On Not Reading The Signature in the Cell.” In this first part, Meyer argues that Ayala unfortunately does not appear to have read Signature in the Cell, and so his effort to refute the book falls flat. Indeed, Ayala’s “review misrepresents the thesis and topic of the book and even misstates its title.” Read more here.

Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology

The evolution of antibiotic resistance is typically the result of small changes allowing for survival in a microbe or other organism under special circumstances where the organism faces extremely strong selection pressure due to the presence of some antibiotic drug. In other cases, it is the result of the transfer of pre-existing antibiotic resistance genes from one microbe to another, and the selection of such microbes in an environment containing antibiotics. Even in the first example, evolution does not produce a truly new function. In fact the change produced often makes the microbe less fit when the antibiotic is removed–it reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost Read More ›

Proliferation of Academic Freedom Bills Is Darwin Lobby’s Worst Nightmare

The recent front page New York Times article on academic freedom legislation offers a stark reminder that the intelligentsia is very worried about the prospect of teachers gaining academic freedom, as a bill presently in the Kentucky legislature would allow, “to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, including but not limited to the study of evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” From 2008-2009, 12 academic freedom bills were submitted into state legislatures, including Florida, Alabama (2), South Carolina (2), Missouri (2), Michigan, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and New Mexico. Now in 2010, there are 3 bills already, including bills in Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi. The Kentucky bill contains an excellent Read More ›

Did Dallas Morning News Endorsement Backfire and Sink Pro-Darwin Candidate?

In the Texas Republican Party primary this week, voters in one part of the state narrowly rejected pro-teach-the-controversy State Board of Education member Don McLeroy. At the same time, voters in another part of the state (Dallas) dumped anti-teach-the-controversy Board member Geraldine Miller in favor of a candidate who has expressed support for teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. The most interesting thing about incumbent Geraldine Miller’s remarkable defeat by newcomer George Clayton is the unintentional role the pro-Darwin Dallas Morning News may have played in her downfall.