Darwin’s House of Cards

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 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.

Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates

Of course, no real skeptic will want to read this book.

Published by The Discovery Institute Press Evolution News and Views is all over it.

Not a religious apologist or a cheerleader for any competing view, but rather an old-fashioned skeptic, Bethell has been doubting Darwin since he was an undergraduate at Oxford University.

Who do they think they are fooling, right?

He concludes that while confidence in the pillars of Darwinism — common descent and innovation through natural selection — hit their high-water mark at the celebration of the Origin of Species in 1959, the evidence has steadily and increasingly gone against the theory. The whole edifice rested on a 19th century faith in Progress, propped up by a dogmatic commitment to materialism. As the former falters, the whole structure is in danger of collapse.

And an anti-anti-ID PRATT Bombshell?

A unique feature of the book is its interviews. Philosopher of science Karl Popper, for example, spent time at the Hoover Institution at Stanford when Bethell was there and explained that despite reports, he never really recanted his rap on Darwinism (“…not a testable scientific theory,” “There is hardly any possibility of testing a theory as feeble as this”).

And of course over at Uncommon Descent, News weighs in.

Get your copy before it gets burned in some stupid anti-Trump frenzy!

214 Replies to “Darwin’s House of Cards”

  1. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    So, he’s advancing the familiar bollocks that evolution is mainly there to prop up atheism? Crouch in a corner and say it, rocking back and forth slowly.

  2. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    I am now about 70% finished. He was mislead on the junk DNA debate. He claims that Darwinists support low levels of functionality.

  3. Frankie Frankie
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: So, he’s advancing the familiar bollocks that evolution is mainly there to prop up atheism

    As if it had to be said-

    In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.1

    The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false.2

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.3

    As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.4

    click here for a hint:

    ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ 5

    Thank you for your honesty Will Provine.

    1- Academe January 1987 pp.51-52 †

    2-Evolutionary Progress (1988) p. 65 †

    3- “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address 1 2 †

    4- No Free Will (1999) p.123

    5- Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994.

  4. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Frankie,

    Will Provine? Like I said, it is familiar. So pasting the words of someone I could not care less about who thinks it too is hardly much of a rebuttal. Why should anyone care what Will Provine thinks? And your lame pasting of the tagline ‘thanks for the honesty Will’, for like the thousandth time, somehow gives it weight?

    Evolutionary theory does not exist in order to bolster atheism. To argue thus is profoundly ignorant.

    (with apologies to all the sensible people who have F/J on ignore).

  5. Frankie Frankie
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Evolutionary theory does not exist in order to bolster atheism.

    Except that is not an argument. I don’t care if you don’t like what Will says or what Dawkins says or what Dennett says. What do you have besides just repeating yourself and referencing yourself?

    My point is there are plenty of atheists who disagree with you and actually present their reasoning.

    And what evolutionary theory are you talking about? Could you please reference it?

  6. Frankie Frankie
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: (with apologies to all the sensible people who have F/J on ignore).

    Question begging. 😛

  7. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Frankie,

    Except that is not an argument. I don’t care if you don’t like what Will says or what Dawkins says or what Dennett says. What do you have besides just repeating yourself and referencing yourself?

    All you have is repeating things other people say, with some lame approval by yourself, as if that constitutes an argument.

    My point is there are plenty of atheists who disagree with you and actually present their reasoning.

    I’m well aware there are people who think that way. Which is why I said it was familiar. Remember? So all you are doing is demonstrating the familiarity of the refrain.

    But as regards whether it is justified, all you have done is quote their assertions. Out of context, furthermore. I see no actual reasoning in those snippets, just statements. Look! Authority X! You have to agree with Authority X! HE’S AN EVOLUTIONIST!!! Nah. A simple counter assertion will suffice – since you did not even write the words, you are hardly up to defending them.

    Just to be clear – you think all of evolutionary theory – all the mathematical theory, the computer models, the ancestral reconstructions, palaeontology, phylogenetic analysis at every taxonomic level, morphological to genetic … you think it is all done in the service of atheism. And those quotes back that up. Seriously?

    And what evolutionary theory are you talking about? Could you please reference it?

    That you continue to think this a worthy thrust is one of the saddest things about you. The evolutionary theory you have been gibbering about for the last 10+ years. That one. If you don’t even know what you have been arguing against …

  8. Frankie Frankie
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: The evolutionary theory you have been gibbering about for the last 10+ years. That one. If you don’t even know what you have been arguing against …

    I have not been arguing against any scientific theory of evolution, Alan. I have been arguing against the untestable concept:

    “Blind watchmaker” thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. see Coyne- https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/natural-selection-and-evolution-material-blind-mindless-and-purposeless/

    Got it?

    Just to be clear – you think all of evolutionary theory – all the mathematical theory, the computer models, the ancestral reconstructions, palaeontology, phylogenetic analysis at every taxonomic level, morphological to genetic … you think it is all done in the service of atheism.

    No, I doubt any of that relies on BWE and none of it supports BWE.

  9. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan, if you keep quoting Frankie people who have him on ignore will keep reading him.

    Skeptics Rule #1: Don’t Quote the IDiot!

  10. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Allan, if you keep quoting Frankie people who have him on ignore will keep reading him.

    Skeptics Rule #1: Don’t Quote the IDiot!

    Yeah, I’m well aware of the mood of the fraternity. More than that, I’m aware of the futility of responding. But still, it’s a compulsion, and I am powerless in its grip … that, or I just do what I feel like.

  11. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Frankie,

    No, I doubt any of that relies on BWE and none of it supports BWE.

    Whether it supports ‘BWE’ or not wasn’t the issue. Your contention was (in agreement with Bethell) that evolutionary theory exists mainly in support of atheism, a completely different argument. Those things are part of evolutionary theory, and therefore ‘mainly exist in support of atheism’, which appears a particularly ignorant position to one familiar with the literature.

  12. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Yeah, I’m well aware of the mood of the fraternity. More than that, I’m aware of the futility of responding. But still, it’s a compulsion, and I am powerless in its grip … that, or I just do what I feel like.

    You’re not trying to sucker me into a debate on free will are you?

    🙂

    I can appreciate people who admit this is entertainment for them. I really can. I certainly don’t know that I am right about all the things we discuss nor that anyone else is wrong. It is sort of a competition, but then again it sort of isn’t.

    I recall telling you this before and it’s still true, if you ever think I’m getting out of line I’d appreciate a nudge.

  13. Frankie Frankie
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:
    Frankie,

    Whether it supports ‘BWE’ or not wasn’t the issue. Your contention was (in agreement with Bethell) that evolutionary theory exists mainly in support of atheism, a completely different argument. Those things are part of evolutionary theory, and therefore ‘mainly exist in support of atheism’, which appears a particularly ignorant position to one familiar with the literature.

    Seeing that you did not reference this alleged evolutionary theory I doubt those things are a part of it. You sure as hell cannot demonstrate that they are

  14. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    ENV has a video up about Tom Bethell.

    I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but he floats the “it’s all a tautology!” canard within the first two minutes.

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