A review of Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero
Columbia University Press, New York, 2007
Reviewed by John Woodmorappe
his book is so jam-packed with information (and disinformation!) that it would take a separate book to address it. Predictably, Prothero dismisses rejection of evolution as the product of the fear of loss of God, morality, and human uniqueness. This ignores those (myself included) who once reconciled their religion with belief in evolution, but eventually came to realize that the scientific evidence doesn’t require acceptance of evolution. He considers creationism claustrophobic (p. 358). Having found it a fascinating intellectual adventure, I couldn’t disagree more.
We hear the usual mantra about most religious leaders accepting evolution. This ignores the fact that it is much easier to conform to the pressures of modern thinking than to be out of step with them, and that this is especially true in our age of spineless political and religious leaders. Also, his fellow misotheists Richard Dawkins1 and Jerry Coyne2have nothing but contempt for such spinelessness.
Same old, same old …
Prothero relies primarily on the decades-old hatchet jobs by anti-creationists. His conception of the creationist exposé of evolution is fixated at old writings of Duane Gish, and The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris (1961) (p. 64). Gish has refuted these hatchet-job arguments long ago.3 Yet, throughout this book, Prothero whines about creationists being woefully out of date!
To him, the “Omphalos-like” starlight-in-transit theory is the be-all and end-all of creationist thinking on this matter (p. 10), totally ignoring the creationist cosmologies of Ph.D. physicists Russell Humphreys and John Hartnett.4 “Created-kind” thinking is just a device to hide evolutionary changes and the “impossibility” of Noah’s Ark (pp. 19, 74, 189). (This, among other things, completely ignores all of the evidence that the created kind is broader than the species, and all of the extensive work done in creationist baraminology. It’s actually the reverse: taxonomic “splitting” in the hands of anti-creationists is a device to overload the Ark.5). Believe it or not, he actually dusts off the old open-system canard about the Second Law of Thermodynamics (pp. 47–48), as if this explains the origin of informational biopolymers.6 ….
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