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Evolution: A Theory in Crisis Paperback – 1 Dec 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Adler & Adler Publishers Inc.,U.S.; 3rd Revised edition edition (Dec. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091756152X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0917561528
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Synopsis

The idea of evolution is the keystone of our modern world view. Yet the theory propounded by Darwin and elaborated into accepted 'fact' by the scientific establishment is coming under increasing fire. This authoritative and remarkably accessible book by a molecular biologist shows how rapidly accumulating evidence is threatening the basic assumptions of orthodox Darwinism. Although the theory appears to be correct regarding the emergence of new species, its larger claims to account for the relationship between classes and orders, let alone the origin of life, appear to be based on shaky foundations at best. Not only has palaeontology failed to come up with the fossil 'missing links' which Darwin anticipated, but hypothetical reconstructions of major evolutionary developments -- such as that linking birds to reptiles -- are beginning to look more like fantasies than serious conjectures. Even the currently popular theory of 'punctuated equilibrium' cannot adequately fill in the real gaps we face when envisaging how major groups of plants and animals arose. Dr Denton's book sets out to explain the gathering evidence against evolution in its traditional form.

It is a clear account of a growing crisis in biology and enables us to understand why an increasing number of research scientists are questioning strict Darwinism.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
(I was astonished to find Mr. Denton described as an agnostic. If this is true, this book is even more amazing for its intellectual honesty.)
A molecular biologist, Mr. Denton marshals various facts mitigating against the theory of evolution. Indeed, one of the strengths of this book is its "big picture" approach to refuting evolution - arguing for the existence of distinct classes of organisms by asking hard questions about homology, embryonic development, amino acid design, and, of course, the bugbear of evolution and origins science - DNA.
Although published before Behe's wonderfully controversial "Darwin's Black Box", Denton examines several black boxes - the astonishing complexity of avian feathers, the incorporation of the Page-Handley slot in avian wings, the specialized breathing system of birds; hard questions about supposed transitional forms such as Archaeopteryx; the mind-boggling, inexplicably different migration pathways of cells in metamorphosizing insects; the much-touted but misleading "horse series"; and so on. As one reads through this amazing dissection of these subjects, the disturbing (and sad) thought arises: Why aren't these questions being asked in public, as it were? Why do the textbooks and museums present such poorly understood (and sometimes outrightly false) material as fact? Why aren't more scientists thinking as critically? It's tragic that these questions are not raised in biology classes to sharpen and stimulate young (?) minds but that the "doctrines" he questions are routinely presented as gospel. Sometimes we can have too much faith, it seems.
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Having had a long standing interest in Evolution and having read a number of books on the subject (on both sides of the argument) I was very curious about this book as it has been cited in so many of the other titles. I was hoping it would be a bit of a ‘classic’ and as far as I am concerned this is the case. Regardless of your opinions, you can learn a lot about evolution (and science in general) just by reading and understanding Denton’s arguments. I have believed for a while to have a valid opinion on a subject it’s vital to understand both sides of a argument. This book does a brilliant job of explaining the case against evolution in a balanced, fair, honest and purely scientific way. Regardless, of whether you accept Denton’s arguments it’s important to understand them in order to be balanced and fair-minded. It is indeed a little out of date in a few areas where new discoveries have been made. Nonetheless, all the main points are still valid and it’s still well worth reading for anyone with a basic understanding of science. It certainly exposes a fair number of common myth’s and makes watching TV programmes on the subject far more interesting. Even though it did not teach me much I didn’t already know I would still recommend the book as a good introduction or reference book on the subject.
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Format: Paperback
"For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light." -- Psalm 36:9 (NKJV)

Michael Denton takes a mid 1980s look at what biology did at that time to document or to challenge Darwinism in terms of evolution. As a quick overview, Denton finds that microevolution (of the sort that Darwin observed) has been validated. He raises questions about macroevolution that emphasize:

1. Gaps in the fossil record of intermediate types that should exist to document the development of one major species from another one.

2. Similarities in structures from one species to another have underlying differences in DNA and biochemistry that belie the initial visual impression.

3. Life is so complex at the micro scale that the possibilities of random selection producing adequate varieties that would work is unlikely.

4. Some aspects of how life works depend on complex systems that are hard to imagine existing in any simpler form.

Denton appears to come from an agnostic perspective, trying to make sense of what the origin of life is. He concludes that neither Creationism nor Darwinism seem to be supported by natural evidence. He does point to there being a mystery about how life was established, without trying to come up with a possible explanation.

I have not read his more recent book, but I have read quite a few critiques of Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. I found this book to be less persuasive in marshaling the arguments than many of the others I've read. I think you can skip this book unless you are mostly interested in the views of Darwin's contemporaries, which Denton does a good job of characterizing.
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An absolute must read for anyone with a mind ready to think before you judge. Serious issues that need answers. If you have made up your mind before you think, then don't bother.
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This book contributes very sound scientific reasoning into a subject ussualy filled with religious argument of either evolutionism or creationism. It will challenge to deeper thought people of either point of view.
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