Customer Reviews


17 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about sticking your neck out!
'What Darwin Got Wrong' is a critical analysis of the theory of natural selection by a philosopher and a cognitive scientist. The writers fully accept the fact of evolution but argue that natural selection, the primary mechanism by which Darwin thought evolution took place, is logically untenable.

Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini are two highly regarded senior...
Published on 4 April 2010 by Hud955i

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very little to recommend it
This is a relatively short book with an additional "Afterward and reply to the critics". The authors repeatedly say that they think natural selection is wrong, and in the afterward state that they thought that this book represents "a real scientific advance".

The reasons they believe natural selection is wrong are difficult to extract. They mostly talk in very...
Published 22 months ago by JamesJohnson


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about sticking your neck out!, 4 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
'What Darwin Got Wrong' is a critical analysis of the theory of natural selection by a philosopher and a cognitive scientist. The writers fully accept the fact of evolution but argue that natural selection, the primary mechanism by which Darwin thought evolution took place, is logically untenable.

Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini are two highly regarded senior academics in their own fields - or at least, they were until they published this book. Since then all kinds of curses have been rained down upon their heads and all kinds of vegetables have been thrown at them. As their argument attacks the theory of natural selection at a time when it is fighting a fierce action against the massed ranks of creationists, that is hardly suprising.

Given the controversy this book has stirred up I think I should say very briefly where I am coming from. I have no professional or academic expertise in evolutionary biology, I have always accepted natural selection as a fact and I call myself an atheist. I also have a very rusty degree in philosophy which has been useful in reading this book. I have given it five stars, not because I am bowled over by its arguments or committed to its point of view but because I believe that in science challenges are good and controversy is generally productive. A second reason is that 'What Darwin Got Wrong' is also a very enjoyable read: one of the most genial and well-written - I didn't say 'easy' - philosophy texts I have read in a long time.

So, why would you want to read this book? Well, unless you are a specialist, you will probably need to have at least several of the following: an interest in evolutionary theory; a thirst (or at least a capacity) for reading long, complex and closely argued philosophical arguments; a liking for controversy; an enjoyment of well-written theoretical texts; and a desire to take up an intellectual challenge. You might also be looking for an excuse to crow over the death of Darwinism, or, on the other side of the fence, you might be itching to take a pop at the authors.

First a warning. Interspersed with passages of easy and enjoyable narrative, the writing can sometimes get dense and difficult. If you are reading this book to understand its argument you are going to have to grapple with passages like this: "To a first approximation, the claim that, 'all else being equal, Fs cause Gs' says something like: 'given independently justified idealizations, Fs cause Gs reliably.' The intuition in such cases is that, underlying the observed variance, there is a bona fide, reliable, counterfactual-supporting relation between being F and causing Gs, the operation of which is often obscured by the effects of unsystematic, interacting variables.' Even genial philosophers talk like philosophers still!

The book also has an unfortuante habit of diving into side issues, which makes the main line of argument less easy to follow. The language can be difficult at times and the authors seem to have an unnecessary love-affair with Latin tags: "ceteris paribus"; "mutatis mutandis"; and so on. None of these problems are insurmountable, but they do demand a fair bit from any reader who wants to understand the arguments in detail.

On the other side, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini have not left the general reader without some help. The technical terms in the passage above are explained in advance. The book is mostly well (even attractively) written. Its prose is lean. Without becoming arch or irritating, it is punctuated by moments of wry, warm humour, and there are plenty of explanatory examples and some recapitulations.

Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini present two arguments to support their case. The first is built upon empirical discoveries in evolutionary biology, some of them old, some a lot more recent. This argument suggests that the operation of natural selection is limited by formal and other constraits. It does not undermine Darwin's major theory but does question its position as the principal explanation for evolution. (Few, of course, not even Darwin, have ever claimed it to be the only explanation). It is a controversial argument, not entirely new and not generally well received by working scientists.

The second argument consists of an analysis of the logic underlying the case for natural selection. This is a purely philosophical (analytic) argument and is potentially more damaging - if shown to be valid. By using the concept of a counterfactual, the authors claim to have demonstrated that the terms in which natural selection is formulated contain a logical error - an intentional fallacy. To show the significance of this error, they draw parallels with other scientific theories (like B F Skinner's theory of Operant Conditioning) which follow an identical (and, they claim, identically flawed) logic. These other theories have, in consequence, been rejected by the scientific community as untenable, and for that reason natural selection is left looking extremely exposed.

The conclusion of this argument, and of the book, is that the theory of natural selection is not a scientific law. This means that it has no predictive power and therefore cannot lawfully govern all the myriad events of natural history. Instead, the authors argue, it is a (perfectly respectable) causal theory which allows us to provide plausible explanations of individual evolutionary events - after the fact - much in the way that historians provide explanations for historical events. The authors claim this is true of many scientific theories: "theories about lunar geography, theories about why the dinosaurs became extinct, theories about the origin of the Grand Canyon, or of the Solar System, or, come to think of it, of the Universe."

So, what is to be made of the controversy the book has raised? At this early stage in the debate (April 2010) the overwhelming response is hostile. One criticism repeatedly levelled at the authors is that they have strayed ignorantly into the field of evolutionary biology without understanding either its current state of knowledge or its methodology. Others have attacked the author's arguments directly. Unfortunately, along with some valuable comment there is also a great deal of heat and confusion. Many have made generalised attacks upon the arguments or dismissed them as nonsense. Others have accused the authors of hubris or of meddling where they are not wanted. Too often, accusers have themselves misunderstood the arguments they are criticising or failed to engage with them. Vague or ad hominem attacks of this kind are not very useful. If the arguments are flawed as most commentators assume they are, then we need to know precisely and clearly why they are flawed. The great majority of scientists and philosophers *believe* them to be flawed, but we are still waiting for the dust to settle and for a clear, detailed demonstration of the book's errors to emerge.

**************************************

Edited Update January 2011

Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's secondary argument has now been comprehensively dismantled in the literature and the early claims that the authors had failed to understand the science have now been pretty well demonstrated.

A clear consensus has now emerged within the philosophical community that their primary argument is logically flawed. Here is a passage from a representative review in "Philosophy Now" dated October/November 2010.

"Philosophers of science have long dealt with the intentionality problem that Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini pretend to have discovered out of the blue. The answer lies in distinguishing between selection *for* and seclection *of*. ... Incidentally, this difference is why, contrary to popular belief, natural selection is not an optimizing process - why it makes mistakes and is inefficient, yielding whatever outcome is good enough for survival and reproduction.

Yet another way to understand how strange Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's argument is, is to realize that if they were right and only law-like hypotheses supporting counterfactuals were to be given the status of science, then *all* the historical sciences would go done (sic) the drain, not just evolutionary biology. This flies in the face of all post-positivist scholarship in the philosophy of science."

On such small things are great philosophical storms raised! Darwin can now rest easy in his grave. Phew!

*********************************

Original conclusion to April 2010 review

Many of the commentators I have read so far have been antagonised by the book's methodology. That's unsurprising since most of its arguments are philosophical rather than empirical. The authors happily admit that the ideas in the book arose out of recent debates in contemporary philosophy and not evolutionary biology.

Those who are unfamiliar with the bodiless arguments of philosophers, or get impatient with their abstract methodology, or regard the whole philosophical enterprise as a bizarre, self-indulgent activity which has nothing to say to the world of hard-working empirical scientists, will quite possibly not even get as far as wondering whether the arguments are valid - it is quite likely they won't even find them very meaningful. Reviews on the web are bristling with opinions of this kind. Some are angrily expressing irritation over arguments more concerned with logical relationships and illustrative notional entities (like hearts that go `thump' and those that don't) than they are with presenting evidence from the natural world.

Those who appreciate that all scientific theories stand or fall not just upon empirical evidence but upon their own internal logic are more likely to give the book some head room. In point of fact, the kind of logical arguments Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini rely on are no different in principle from those used regularly by working scientists when they come, for example, to distinguish between rival theories. They are just not the sort of arguments that are generally found in books on evolution.

Where then, is the poor non-specialist to go for help? There are some interesting and enlightening discussions taking place on the web (particularly between Jerry Fodor and Elliott Sober on Blogging Heads and the Leiter Report) but many are bogged down in a great deal of muddle and misrepresentation. A good example of this is to be found on 'Pharyngula', the highly popular blog of P Z Myers, Professor of biology at University of Minnesota. Typically it provides a mixture of enlightenment and confusion. Myers offers an interesting and pertinent critique of part of Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini's secondary argument. He demonstrates that there are well-understood genetic mechanisms which account for features of biological form that the authors claim are inexplicable by natural selection.

Unfortunately, when he begins to deal with their main thesis, he comes unstuck. Myers, who is a working biologist, misrepresents the authors' argument. Heaping scorn on their lack of understanding of genetics, he fails to appreciate that their argument is a logical, not an empirical one, for which the exact mechanism of genetics (or even the existence of genes) is entirely irrelevant. (Edit: it turned out that he hadn't read the book itself, just a summary)

On philosophical websites, where contributers are more likely to understand the book's methodology, things are not much better. There are a number of good articles emerging, but many which are clearly failing accurately to represent the authors' position. Darwin, it seems, arouses passionate partisanship even among philosophers.

The controversial nature of the work means that people are taking up strong positions for and against. Evolutionary biologists, having read through the book's 163 pages of abstract analysis and 59 pages of appendices and notes, are unlikely to immediately commit natural selection to the dustbin of history. And on the other side...? Initially, I doubted whether the book's technical arguments would give creationists and other anti-Darwinians much cause to cry for joy either. On this, it appears, I was mistaken. Over on the creationist 'Discovery Institute' website they are already breaking out the champagne. (I'm curious to know what the atheistical and anti-creationist Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini are making of this.)

For the non-technical among us, the options at present seem to be to skim the book and take up a position, to try to puzzle our way through the argument as best we can, or to retire to the side lines and wait for a result. I suspect we will have to wait a while for any kind of consensus to form.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very little to recommend it, 16 Oct 2012
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
This is a relatively short book with an additional "Afterward and reply to the critics". The authors repeatedly say that they think natural selection is wrong, and in the afterward state that they thought that this book represents "a real scientific advance".

The reasons they believe natural selection is wrong are difficult to extract. They mostly talk in very abstract terms, and many of the examples they give are made-up, rather than from the scientific literature. Where they do quote scientific literature, it is mostly stuff from the 60's and 70's. Furthermore there isn't a single reference that I could find to any of Darwin's writings, in fact I expect the title of this book was chosen just to stir up controversy and increase sales.

In the afterward they summarise (not particularly clearly) what they were apparently trying to say. I will attempt to summarise their summary, to save you the effort of reading the book. Their objections to evolution by natural selection appear to be:

1) It is an illusion that creatures are adapted to their environment.
2) The theory of natural selection cannot say exactly what features of a creature are actually selected for, and which features are "coextensive" (in some way linked to features that are actually selected for).

From this they conclude that natural selection is "simply untenable".

Note that the authors would probably object to the summarizations above. Apparently an awful lot of very educated people misunderstood the book when it first came out: "Our arguments and our conclusion were both widely and wildly misrepresented". This was, apparently, due to a "Culture War" rather than any fault of the book, for which they were apparently anticipating a warm reception.

I read it in one sitting. It does not feel like time well spent. A better title for this book than "What Darwin got wrong" might have been something like "A series of philosophical essays including a comparison of the theory of natural selection (NS) with Skinner's theory of learning by operant conditioning (OT)" - more accurate, and more likely to get the book the number of sales it deserves. (Don't buy it!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


55 of 68 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Staggering hubris, 2 Mar 2010
By 
Jonathan Birch (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
Ever since Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin launched their attack on the "Panglossian paradigm" of adaptationism, biologists have been cautious about claiming some well-adapted trait was shaped by selection for its current function. An adaptive trait, Gould and Lewontin argued, could simply be a lucky by-product of selection for some other trait.

They drew an analogy with the spandrels of San Marco: at first glance, these features linking the dome and arches look to have been designed for the sake of the beautiful images that adorn them. But further reflection reveals otherwise: they were actually a by-product of resting a dome on arches! The moral for biologists: take care to distinguish the real products of selection from the "free-riders".

In their provocative new book, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini want to draw a different moral from this story. What it really shows, they argue, is that the idea of a trait being "selected for" is incoherent. To say the spandrels were put there to hold up the dome is, after all, to make a claim about what the architect had in mind. Since, by contrast, there is no mind in charge of natural selection, it makes no sense to say that some trait was "selected for" while another was a "free rider". Though they add a lot of complicated extras, this is the core of their master argument against Darwinism, as set out in Chapter 6.

So here's the obvious reply: the difference between selected-for traits and their free riders is a causal difference. Selected-for traits causally contribute to the reproductive success of organisms, whereas free riders don't. To say some trait is a "free rider" is to say that, regardless of its current function, it evolved without contributing to the success of its bearers. This is going to be hard to find out, of course, but the conceptual distinction is clear enough. No minds are needed.

This is what Fodor's critics have been saying for years. Yet it's not an objection explicitly addressed in the book, despite being, as far as I can tell, a perfectly good one.

It is important to realize the full scope (and extraordinary arrogance) of what Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini want to achieve here. Their ambition is not merely to downplay the significance of selection in evolution, as defenders of "evo-devo" often seek to do. Rather, they intend to annihilate the entire theory of evolution by natural selection a priori, from the recesses of their armchairs, with a knockdown objection at the conceptual level.

If they were right, biologists would certainly finish the book with egg on their faces. How stupid! To spend 150 years thinking some incoherent nonsense was the best idea ever! Unsurprisingly, all the egg goes the other way. In Daniel Dennett's words, "What could drive Fodor to hallucinate the pending demise of the theory of evolution by natural selection?"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing and Irritating, 10 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. P. J. Davison (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
When I started reading it I was genuinely interested, but as I read on I became less interested and more irritated- my criticisms are as follows:

1)Too many words that are clearly used to make the aurthors feel superior and constantly having to consult a dictionary is incredibly annoying.

2)None of the arguments made are either new or convincing in the radical way they are made (though they are right to point out evolutionary constraints etc, just not to make the absurd leap to the conclusion that natural selection is unimportant).

3)They constantly quote Ernst Mayr from 1963 (I thought we were in 2010) and they seem to suggest that real scientists believe in bean bag genetics. Nobody believes in bean bag genetics, it is just a way of explaining an idea.

4)As I understand it they argue that because you can't tell which trait is being directly selected for and which is a hitchhiking trait, then by some logic it means that selection can't be important. They raise an interesting point (though it's been around for over 30 years) but the degree to which they take the argument is absurd.

5)Their criticisms of game theory are weak. Game theory is a way of simplifying interactions between individuals/species and is thus a model. No model is taken as literal truth.

6)They seem unable to explain their argument in simple terms. The second half (the harder of the two parts) seems to be full of philosophical smugness at their own power of reasoning and as such comes across as elitist (not helped by the continual use of latin, french phrases and Jerry Fodor's jacket photograph)

I have to say the more I read the more I found myself shouting "that's not an argument against natural selection".

I recommend reading it as an intelectual exercise, but don't expect the current concensus of evolution (largely) by natural selection to be blown apart. One consolation is that it is a very nicely produced book and will look good on the shelf.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


56 of 71 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very "philosophical" work, 20 Feb 2010
By 
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
Written by two atheists, "What Darwin Got Wrong" is an attack on natural selection but not evolution (i.e. they think evolution proceeds by other, unexplained mechanisms). Generally, the text is quite hard to follow; the authors' ideas are never presented in clear, simple language.

There are two sections. The first aims to convince you that biology is very complex, with multiple interactions between genes, environments and traits; and so evolution is much more complex than one might imagine. That's fine as far as it goes.

The second section is where the book falls over. Here the authors present a very peculiar, "philosophical" argument that natural selection is meaningless. Traits, they tell us, often coexist. For example, a frog's trait of snapping at flies is also the trait of snapping at small black objects. Since these traits come together, there's no way to tell which trait is being selected for; thus natural selection is nonsense.

If this seems like a good argument then I don't know how to help you. I've seen much more coherent arguments from bona fide creationists.

Strangely, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini say that artificial selection makes sense (unlike natural selection) because there is a mind doing the selecting. Yet it's unclear why that matters: in both cases organisms vary in their reproductive success, and the ones that do reproduce are the ones that pass along their genes.

Having finished the book, I'm happy that evolutionists can still sleep safely in their beds.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars After Darwin, 12 April 2010
By 
Moon Michael "Green D" (Lund, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
Last year saw the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the origin of species which was commemorated with the appearance of any number of articles, books, TV programmes etc just about all of which were more or less totally uncritical of the Great Man and his masterpiece. This book coming as it does one year later is refreshing in its dissenting approach.
To a large extent the debate around Darwin's ideas is a hoary one; the boring old story of whether or not his views represent the definitive rejection of the biblical concept of Divine Creation. In this context no distinction is made between the two aspects of Darwinism: its theory of evolution and the mechanism it proposes, natural selection. Neither being mentioned in the Book of Genesis, they are lumped together so that problems with the latter are commonly seen as counting against the former. Foder and Piattelli-Palmarini do not fall into this error; they are not concerned to defend the biblical version from attacks from modern biology - quite the contrary. In other words they fully endorse science's belief in evolution, but they find several grounds for questioning the role and significance of natural selection.
One of their main objections to the concept of natural selection is that, in their opinion, it contains vestiges of purposiveness (or to use their term "intentionality"), for example in the parallel Darwin draws between natural selection and the artificial selection of domestic animals. Here there is a sentient agent, the animal or plant breeder, but there is nothing like that lurking behind nature. I quote from the final paragraphs of the book proper:
[... P]erhaps you would prefer there to be a unified theory - natural selection - of the evolutionary fixation of phenotypes. So be it; but we can claim something that Darwin cannot. There is no ghost in our machine; neither God, nor Mother Nature, nor Selfish Genes, nor the World Spirit, nor free-floating intentions; and there are no phantom breeders either. What breeds the ghosts in Darwinism is its covert appeal to intensional biological explanations, which we hereby propose to do without.
Darwin pointed the direction to a thoroughly naturalistic - indeed thoroughly atheistic - theory of phenotype formation [i.e., speciation]; but he didn't see how to get the whole way there. He killed off God, if you like, but Mother Nature and other pseudo-agents got away scot-free. We think it's now time to get rid of them too. (What Darwin got Wrong, p. 163).
This all might seem very rigorous but what we are left with, on the authors own admission, is no theory of evolution at all; instead of natural selection they would leave us with only natural history, or as they say "one damn thing after another". To these two cognitive scientists this may seem quite OK, but I doubt if most biologists will feel satisfied.
But there seems that the authors have misunderstood where Darwinism sees the roots of innovation. It is not, primarily, in natural selection but in the occurrence of mutations in the genotypes of the organisms that are the well-spring of evolutionary change, and these mutations are chance happenings, whose effects are accumulated over very many generations to give rise to new species. This being the case the main action of natural selection is to retain the (few) beneficial mutations and to dispose of all the deleterious ones. To my mind this does not amount to implicating any ghosts in the evolutionary machine; the question that needs to be asked is does this proposed mechanism offer a reasonable explanation of what Darwin set himself out to explain: the appearance of new species. Implicitly, in the first part of their book, the authors also ask this question. And their answer there is "No it isn't". They point out that many an adaptation is so exquisitely intricate and complex that the chances that they might have come into being as the result of chance mutations, however cumulative, are infinitesimal - mind-bogglingly so. Moreover, the gradualism that this would involve would also be in clear evidence in the fossil record - and it's not! In other words, Darwin was undoubtedly right in embracing the concept of evolution; he was in all probability right too, in positing the existence of natural selection, but he backed a loser in supposing this in combination with chance mutations was the means by which new life-forms come into being.
But does all this mean that we should be as pessimistic as Foder and Piattelli-Palmarini are when it comes to understanding how evolution takes place? I think not. What Darwin could not reasonably have understood, and what modern-day neo-Darwinists ought to understand but do not, is that change is not one-dimensional. There is the kind of change that is necessary for maintaining the stability and durability of systems (in this context, read species) in a variable environment. Such changes, if they originate as genetic mutations, will indeed be the subject of natural selection. But these are not the changes, however numerous they might be, that typically give rise to new species. Here we are talking about higher-order (meta-)change and the mechanisms involved here are only recently coming into view. One such mechanism is so-called horizontal heredity in which large chunks of DNA or RNA are transferred from one species to another, perhaps a totally unrelated one. Evidence is accruing that such transfers, mediated by non-pathogenic viruses, are not only common but seem to be involved in some of the most momentous leaps that have occurred in the history of organic evolution.
These matters are only touched upon in passing in the book under review, but there are other sources to which one can turn for more information. One such is Darwin's Blind Spot. Evolution Beyond Natural Selection by virologist Frank Ryan (2002).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pigs might fly?, 19 Jan 2011
By 
Jonathan Green (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
This book was hard work to get through. In my view, it had no flow (until the close of part 2), or level of engagement, that you get from the best of the popular science writers, such as Dawkins. I persistently found myself re-reading paragraphs to understand the points they were making, even though I'm familiar with a lot of the terminology and metaphor that often accompanies neo-Darwinian exposition.

Most of the book, put simply, concludes that 'natural selection' can't be the full story in terms of how phenotypes are expressed within a given ecological niche.... So what, Darwin didn't either!

Worse, they didn't 'replace' the idea with anything testable, so it was quite frankly useless as a defining 'tool' to evaluate evolutionary ideas.

As a purely intellectual challenge, it gets my two stars. If it hadn't offered that, well......
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unqualified, 2 Mar 2010
By 
Duncan Fraser "Duncan Fraser" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
I have a huge problem with non-specialists "debunking" facts/theories etc in fields in which they have no discernible expertise.

This book is a prime example of this.

Neither of the authors are evolutionary biologists and therefore they are forced to frame their arguments in non-evolutionary terms. It's a bit like a Sociologist attempting to debunk Einstein. I have no doubt that both authors are esteemed in their own fields however Darwin's theory of evolution by Natural Selection is a scientific argument and therefore should be interrogated, examined, and if necessary disproved using scientific methods. Not these incoherent and badly argued musings.

This book uses weak verbal twists and turns in its attempts to pick holes in a theory that has long since been proven to be supported by scientific study after study. It fails miserably and does the authors scholarly credentials no end of damage. I'm sure however that the controversy and resulting sales will benefit their bank balances.

Come on guys, be serious. If you want to have a go at Natural Selction then you're going to have to do a MUCH better job than this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A risky book to write, 25 May 2013
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Paperback)
The authors are very brave, stupid or calculating and I can't decide which. They challenge a central belief in evolutionary theory, and I assume knowingly, that will either open evolutionary theory to fatal attacks from creationists or make themselves scientific outcasts for peddling bogus ideas. Other reviews have outlined the detail of the book and its arguments. The contribution I would like to make is simply, if you have the time, read it. The argument is interesting and as other commentators have said science only progresses when challenged and evolutionary theory has gone unchallenged from within for too long.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A criticism of Darwinism, 4 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: What Darwin Got Wrong (Hardcover)
Certain Biblical fundamentalists, supporting Seven-Day Creationism at related in the Bible criticized Darwin for his failure to observe signs of design in things and attributed everything to random variations of matter and called their critique 'intelligent Design'. It is of course possible to criticize Darwin and uncritical adherents to his theory without subscribing to Seven-Day Creationism.

Various scientists have endeavored to criticize Darwinism but without endorsing Creationism.

In this interesting book the authors examine various points and show that random variation and natural selection do not explain all phenomena. It is not a book for beginners and depends heavily on scientific jargon which presumably current in American universities. I am afraid most of the arguments go over my head. The authors insist however that the book is not about God, the Bible, or intelligent design. It is a scientific critique of Darwinism, though they admit they themselves have little to supplant it
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

What Darwin Got Wrong
What Darwin Got Wrong by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Hardcover - 4 Feb 2010)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews