Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Preview: Darwin's House of Cards by Tom Bethell

About the Author

Tom Bethell is a senior editor of The American Spectator and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages, and most recently Questioning Einstein: Is Relativity Necessary? (2009).

About the Book

In this provocative history of contemporary debates over evolution, veteran journalist Tom Bethell depicts Darwin’s theory as a nineteenth-century idea past its prime, propped up by logical fallacies, bogus claims, and empirical evidence that is all but disintegrating under an onslaught of new scientific discoveries. Bethell presents a concise yet wide-ranging tour of the flash points of modern evolutionary theory, investigating controversies over common descent, natural selection, the fossil record, biogeography, information theory, evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, and the growing intelligent design movement. Bethell’s account is enriched by his own personal encounters with of some of our era’s leading scientists and thinkers, including Harvard biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin; British paleontologist Colin Patterson; and renowned philosopher of science Karl Popper.

You can find a video introduction of the book here.

Learn more about the book here.

You can hear the introduction to Darwin's House of Cards read here.

Order your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,

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Chris Falter said...

I was quite alarmed when I read Bethell's other titles--Bethell actually argues that the theory of special relativity is wrong! That Bethell could actually write such an extraordinarily ill-informed book on physics makes me very skeptical that there is any value in his latest work.

This well-informed review of Darwin's House confirms my suspicions.

There are very good critiques of evolution-as-a-theory-of-everything, but Bethell's work is not such a book, as far as I can tell.

Unknown said...

Chris: You are demonstrating a tired and disingenuous tactic of most atheists (materialists) I know. When confronted by unassailable truths that threaten their (your?) claims on behalf of Darwinism, there is little left to say, hence...attack the messenger with spurious inferences that you know much better, which you clearly do not. Your smarmy ad hominem critique has added little to the conversation except to confirm you are hopelessly ideological, and decidedly unscientific, whether Bethel's earlier treatment of relativity is correct or not.

Chris Falter said...

Hi Gerry,

Bethell dismisses the theory of relativity in physics. You would be hard-pressed to find a scientific theory better supported than relativity. Thus I do not think it inappropriate to conclude that Bethell does not understand science very well.

This conclusion of mine is based on Bethell's statements about science. It is not an ad hominem argument because it is not based on his character, his ethnicity, his educational background, where he attends church, or who he's married to. My conclusion is based solely on his statements about science.

How that could be construed as ad hominem is quite beyond me.

On the other hand, assuming that I am an atheist/materialist simply because I support the theory of relativity, or even the theory of evolution, is .... quite a leap. Do you not know any Christian physicists who believe in the theory of relativity? Or Christian biologists who believe in the theory of evolution? I know plenty of them. I have attended church with some. I spent several years in West Africa as part of a Christian humanitarian organization working alongside of one.

I am not trying to turn this blog into a forum for debates over evolution. My comment was merely urging the exercise of discretion in the recommendation of books. Denton's latest work on evolution, for example, has real merit, and has drawn favorable reviews from biologists who appreciate that a strong critique of the neo-Darwinian formulation (that arose about a half-century ago) is not necessarily a repudiation of the life sciences, or even a properly bounded theory of evolution.

Best regards,
Chris Falter

Chad said...

Hello Everyone,

I appreciate your comments and the caution regarding what books we promote.

I freely admit that I have not read Bethell's book, although it is on my list. I featured the book because Evolution News and Views had shared some information about it (see the links in the post) and it sounded interesting. Moreover, I have found resources they have offered in the past helpful.

I certainly didn't expect the book to be on the level of a Stephen Meyer or Michael Denton! :-) Further, I agree that "[y]ou would be hard-pressed to find a scientific theory better supported than relativity." To question it, at this point, seems bizarre indeed!

At the end of day, I trust readers to discern for themselves what resources they believe are worthy of their time.

Thank you for your comments and thoughts. Further, I appreciate your readership.