Reviewing “A Meaningful World” and “The Darwin Myth”
I have just finished reviewing A Meaningful World: How the Arts And Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (IVP , 2006) by DI fellows, Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt, for Reports of the National Center for Science Education. I’m not going to post the full review until it appears in print, but here is the final paragraph. It more or less clues you in to what I thought of the work.
A Meaningful World is certainly a work that would not have survived review by a mainstream press. In fact, I would say that it would not have survived as an undergraduate thesis. The very fact that it has appeared in print is symptomatic of the ID movement’s ability to find sympathetic pulpits from which to preach to the choir. No one without pre-conceived sympathy is going to be convinced by the arguments presented by Wiker & Witt and, like much ID literature, it serves as a justification of belief rather than a scientific or philosophical investigation. It is notable that the publishers choose not to classify the work as science but as discussing religious aspects of nature and meaning.
Frankly, it took me over three years to review the book. Every time I started writing about it, I got annoyed and had to stop.
I also recently reviewed Wiker’s The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin (Regnery, 2009) for the Journal of the History of Biology. Here’s the final paragraph of that one:
This is poor history and, frankly, it is also poor polemic. Wiker does not present Darwin fairly but distorts him into a dark figure bent on destroying everything that Wiker apparently holds dear. As such, the book has nothing to recommend it beyond offering a snapshot of how certain groups in America have been unable to deal with scientific ideas.
Full reviews will appear here after they have appeared in print or online. I probably won’t be getting any Christmas cards from Ben Wiker.
(Aside: My wife got offered a position at Franciscan University in Stubbenville, Ohio, ten years ago, when Wiker was apparently the only person teaching history and philosophy of science there. We tried to get a partner hire for me but I was rejected. Probably just as well … I couldn’t see myself fitting in there.)