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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part rant, part memoir, part science and philosophy
Robyn Williams is a man of science, a broadcast and print journalist, and an academic who has joined the chorus of voices that are fed up with the attempt by creationist and Intelligent Designers to hijack our societies. Williams presently writes from Australia but has lived in Europe while growing up in the UK. He focuses on American culture and American creationists...
Published on 3 Jan. 2008 by Dennis Littrell

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic Design Intelligent Design
This is a book to be treated lightly. Most of the views expressed are taken from other, well researched and informative books. Richard Dawkins books are, quite rightly, quoted from extensively. Some facts, such as the reports of summation of the American judge on ID are very interesting but also old hat on this subject. A handy little book for light reading rather than a...
Published on 2 Jan. 2009 by Lithoman


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part rant, part memoir, part science and philosophy, 3 Jan. 2008
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
Robyn Williams is a man of science, a broadcast and print journalist, and an academic who has joined the chorus of voices that are fed up with the attempt by creationist and Intelligent Designers to hijack our societies. Williams presently writes from Australia but has lived in Europe while growing up in the UK. He focuses on American culture and American creationists as well as on those from Down Under and in Europe. He is witty, glib, chatty, and quick with a satirical rapier worthy of Voltaire.

He sees the "unintelligent design" movement fired by "proud ignorance" and a lust to power. I couldn't agree more but I'd ratchet it up to "arrogant ignorance." Williams means "proud" as in the sort that cometh before a fall. I have little doubt that the creationists and their turkeys in tuxedos, the IDers, will go the way of the dodos eventually as our populations become educated and no longer easily swayed by the charlatans of religious mumbo jumbo.

The book is jeans and t-shirt causal. There are no footnotes or endnotes or a bibliography or an index. He quotes whole passages from people like Richard Dawkins and Jared Diamond but doesn't say exactly where he got the words. He mixes memoir with secular sermon (no soda water), history with incident, and passion with the jocular. He ridicules the notion of an anthropomorphic God, asking if God (in whose image we are said to be made) ever gets a bad back. The very idea of intelligent--intelligent!--design is made absurd. He writes, "Halitosis, farting, vaginal discharge, reflux, snoring, rheumatism, warts, smelly armpits, varicose veins, menopause, brewer's droop...these are not the marks of a designer at the top of his game." (p.71)

Williams spends some ink debunking ID claims to life form complexities so great that they had to have a designer (the main ID delusion). Here he brings Richard Dawkins into the fray in a most delightful way:

Dawkins in his book The Blind Watchmaker is busy rebuking the Bishop of Birmingham, Hugh Montefiore, author of The Probability of God. Dawkins quotes Montefiore: "As for camouflage, this is not always easily explicable on neo-Darwinian premises. If polar bears are dominant in the Arctic, then there would seem to have been no need for them to evolve a white-coloured form of camouflage."

Dawkins gives this mock translation of Montefiore's paragraph: "I personally, off the top of my head sitting in my study, never having visited the Arctic, never having seen a polar bear in the wild, and having been educated in classical literature and theology, have not so far managed to think of a reason why polar bears might benefit from being white."

Williams guides: "Predators need to surprise their prey." He adds, "Bishops, and lay folk too, may like to take the trouble...to see what science has come up with." (p. 57-58) If they do so they might not fall into what Dawkins has called "the Argument from Personal Incredulity," or what Williams has generalized as what I'll dub as "the Argument from Ignorance."

Much of the book is like this, and some of it is very funny indeed and works well as a scathing revelation of the stupidities of the Intelligent Designers. But there is also some very personal writing in the book that surprised me. Williams writes about being a child with a heavy-handed communist father and being in a secondary school in London in the 50s. In short this is a book that engages as much as informs or guides.

Finally I want to address this idea that Williams brings up on page 76. "...[C]onflict is creative and...isolated societies decline. As happened in Tasmania before the Europeans, the technology becomes more primitive and the people languish without invasion, rape and pillage to renew the innovative stock." This is connected with the (specious) argument that the seemingly evil God who is allowing all the carnage is just doing it for our own good. What I wonder is does humankind have the ability to survive the current domestication of some of our populations (think couch potatoes in America). When the war system ends (as I hope and trust it will--eventually) what is to become of the Eloi?

I don't know the answer to that question, but perhaps we will acquire the wisdom to redesign ourselves in a way that allows for greater human happiness over greater periods of time.

To close here is a nice Williams rant: "...[T]he human brain...resembles the creation of the devil rather than of a God. That it is capable of good is beside the point. ID is like a computer program with a built-in virus. ID is a baby born with syphilis. ID is an insult to the intelligence. ID is an insult to God." (p. 76)

Amen, brother.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic Design Intelligent Design, 2 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
This is a book to be treated lightly. Most of the views expressed are taken from other, well researched and informative books. Richard Dawkins books are, quite rightly, quoted from extensively. Some facts, such as the reports of summation of the American judge on ID are very interesting but also old hat on this subject. A handy little book for light reading rather than a concise reference in the serious fight against the stupidity of ID.
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4.0 out of 5 stars God is Unintelligent, 27 May 2011
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
If anyone knows how I can sue God for inconsiderate design, please email me with details - I will be most appreciative. What on earth was God thinking when She created the human body? God is either senseless or appallingly malevolent. Much of this book is fun, witty, thinking, challenging, perceptible, and straightforward to read. A few bits are boring, dry, dull, unthinking, unchallenging, uncritical, snooty, and difficult to make sense of. I agree with much of his views. Others I thought were a bit silly and impulsive. Overall a good and enjoyable read and one I would certainly recommend.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit light weight for me., 1 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
Written by an Australian academic largely for an Australian readership I would guess. I found some of the references rather obscure for a British reader. I found the quirky style and prose rather lightweight for me, although it may suit others.

I was looking for a serious discussion of a serious topic, but I did not find it here. Might suit those who are looking for a a light travel or holiday read.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity through muddled presentation., 24 Feb. 2008
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
Robyn Williams begins by having everything on his side and then throwing it all away by slap-dash presentation and a facetious and flippant style of writing. In chapter after chapter he waffles around the subject instead of setting out his argument succinctly step by step and then striking it home. He has truth on his side and then fails to make it tell against the falshoods of fundamentalism by failing to provide either source information or index. Religious literalists have nothing to fear from this book simply because it fails to present the case against god as a viable alternative to theocentric religion.

Hopefully Mr Williams will consider using his undoubted talents, knowledge and experience to compile a work that captures the high ground for a moral code based on compassionate atheistic truths concerning how everything actually is and functions. If you are the kind of person who enjoys taking pot shots at the nonsense believed by some of your oponents and getting a laugh out of doing so, by all means read this book and enjoy it. However, if you are looking for well reasoned arguments based on carefully presented evidence and irrefutable facts for a workable, moral, no-god pattern for how everything works, then don't waste your time reading this book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Design and Everything Else You Could Imagine, 10 July 2010
By 
JeremiahA "JeremiahA" (Tokuyama Shi, Yamaguchi Ken Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Unintelligent Design (Paperback)
Mr. Williams apparent writing method...cut and paste paragraphs, and then write something between them.

From the preface, he makes it clear that he views any Intelligent Design research as harmful lies. From there, however, he covers a wide range of topics, from Communism to Christ, which have little to do with Intelligent Design.

These are some of his general views that he presents throughout the book:

*He claims that the New Atheism is a myth.

*He states that ID should not be given official sanction until it has earned its place...but that day will never come because, in his opinion, ID is inimical to the truth.

*He states that Neo-Darwinism is proven but is unable to explain why faults in that model exist.

*He claims that in order to determine that anything is designed, the design must be perfect and the designed object must last forever.

*He states that the existence of evil is evidence against design without addressing any arguments, such that the existence of true evil points to an objective moral standard which points to a Being.

*He states that excellent designs exist because of the amount of time evolution has had to work.

*He then dismisses bad/detrimenal designs as evolution not having enough time to work yet, even when such designs are hundreds of millions of years old.

*He claims that ID is a conspiracy.

*He states that religion is divisive but atheism will harmonize the world.
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Unintelligent Design
Unintelligent Design by Robyn Williams (Paperback - 1 Feb. 2007)
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