7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2011
As an exercise in philosophy, this is a very interesting book. It presents a narrative that questions the established paradigm of the correctness of the synthetic theory of evoluton, and is, theorefore, an exercise in free thinking. The author, at the time of writing this book, describes himself as a scientific journalist, and explains that his association with the scientific community has given him an insight into the structure of neo-Darwinian thinking, and as a consequence, into what Richard Milton views as terminal flaws in the theory. Essentially, Milton is presenting the idea that the theory of evolution, although presented as 'proven' beyond doubt, is infact a collection of disconnected biological facts, held together by scientific supposition. The book is named after the final chapter in the main body.
The hardback (1992) edition contains 267 numbered pages, and is separated into an Introduction, a Postscript and five parts:
Part 1) Chaos.
Through the Looking-Glass.
A Matter of Conjecture.
The Key to the past?
Rock of Ages.
Footprints in the Moon Dust.
Part 2) Clay.
Tales from Before the Flood.
Fashioned from Clay.
An Element of Unreality.
When Worlds Collide.
Part 3) Chance.
The Record of the Rocks.
Survival of the Finest.
Green Mice and Blue Genes.
Of Cabbages and Kings.
Part 4) Creation.
Angels Verses Apes.
Down From the Trees.
Hopeful Monsters and Other Optimists.
The Facts of Life.
Part 5) Afterword - An Evolutionists' Apocrypha.
On Being Thick-Skinned.
The Fish that Walked.
Each section is comprised of four or five chapters that attempt to systematically deconstruct the established theory of Darwinian evolution, as represented by the synthetic theory of evolution (post-WWII), but in establishing this paradigm, Milton surveys the broad history of the theory, from Darwin up until the end of the 20th century. Milton explains to his critics that he has no religious beliefs and that the motivation behind is work is one of establishing scientific clarity (Milton believes broadly in evolution), and can not be limited to a Creationalist agenda, although he remains open minded on the subject. This is a selection of ideas selected from the book:
'Is the Earth billions of years old? Recent evidence suggests it could be as young as 175,000 years.
Can species change by selection? Experiments at Harvard and Columbia show there is a natural limit to change.
Can acquired features be inherited? Darwinists say no, but nobel prize winning research in the US shows how they can.
Is there proof of a "missing link" between man and ape? Darwinists say yes, but the latest evidence says no.'
This book is not really an argument against the principle of evolution, the author readily admits that he thinks evolution has occured, but rather is the presentation of what the author thinks are the academic/scientific inconsistencies implicit in one particular theory of evolution, namely the modern descendent of Charles Darwin's 'Origin of the Species'. In short, Milton presents the evidence that he feels shows clearly that the case for Darwinian evolution is unproven.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 1998
This highly controversial, yet well written, book has one aim in mind: to challenge the basis of contemporary darwinian and neo-darwinian evolution, a theory which provides the basis for many modern creation beliefs. The author (an agnostic, incidentally) provides many pieces of evidence which seem to have been covered up by the scientific establishment, and uses them to show how, despite all the evidence there is for evolution, it cannot be right.
The author does not, however, make any attempt to provide an alternative theory - this is not the objective of the book - but he does show that even modern scientific ideas need to be challenged and scrutinised, and we can still get things wrong even today!
Worth a read if you have an open mind and are willing to be surprised!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2014
I found this book hugely impressive. Obviously the reviewer who gave it one star and claimed it had no facts hadn't read it and was just trying to put people off reading it. Milton gives good support to his argument and addresses some of the key issues that support Darwin's theory, including the dating of rocks using radioactive dating techniques and the central problem of how creatures acquire genetic information. There are a number of non-religious scientists who raise their own questions about evolution; Milton is a journalist, but he seems to have drawn many of their points together. Well worth reading if this is a field that interests you.
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2010
As extreme as Richard Dawkins' views are, I at least get the impression his books have good grounding in reality.
This tome by Richard Milton offers little in the way of the "facts" suggested in the title. Avoid unless you've already made up your mind about the subject.