Amazon reviewer Gordon posted this question:
Perry, why have you not referenced any of Stephen Meyer’s books (“Darwin’s Doubt” or “Signature in the Cell”) or William Dembski’s books (“Debating Design” or “Signs of Intelligence”)? Please respond.
In Chapter 17 of Evolution 2.0 I give a full explanation:
In 2009, the famous atheist Richard Dawkins published his thick, best-selling book The Greatest Show on Earth. In it, he states that evolution is driven by random changes in genes.
It is worth noting that in all of 450 pages of The Greatest Show on Earth . . .
- Symbiogenesis is never mentioned.
- Horizontal Gene Transfer is briefly touched on once, downplayed and presented as scarcely ever crossing from one species to another.
- Epigenetics gets one tiny footnote in chapter 8. He breezily shrugs it off as a “modest buzzword” and “confused theory that will enjoy 15 minutes of fame.” (At the time of this writing, “Epigenetics” is a major focus in genomics and appears 129,000 times in Google Scholar. The number of entries has doubled in the last two years—clearly a hot field of research.)
- Transposition is never mentioned.
- Genome Duplication is never mentioned.
Why didn’t Dawkins grant so much as three pages to the five best- documented mechanisms of evolution? Why does he act as though the last 50 years of microbiology and billions of dollars of research never happened?
Oxford University’s former “Professor of the Public Understanding of Science” wrote one of the most popular evolution books of the last decade, for which he received large advances and rode huge waves of media publicity.
So why isn’t he disclosing this?
On the other side of the fence, Stephen Meyer, in his pro–Intelligent Design book Darwin’s Doubt, makes an eerily identical set of omissions.
Epigenetics gets decent airtime, but there’s no explanation of Lynn Margulis’ work on Symbiogenesis. Barbara McClintock, Transposition, Horizontal Gene Transfer, and Genome Duplication are touched on only briefly, mostly in footnotes.
I debated Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute last year and afterward wrote a blog post called “Is Intelligent Design Really Just Old-Earth Creationism?”
Much of the scholarship in Meyer’s books is very good, but in the end he concludes that evolution and common descent are not true.
I firmly disagree.
Meyer and Dawkins are both missing the biggest story in the history of science. It’s the spectacular engineering capabilities of cells.
Most ID people immediately reply “Sure, but that engineering has to come from somewhere.” And I say: Yes it does have to come from somewhere, so I have a $5 million prize for finding out.
I’m searching for an ANSWER. Not just a philosophical framework.
And even if we give the ID guys the benefit of the doubt – let’s suppose all life does not come from a common ancestor, and life has appeared multiple times, even miraculously – they’re still taking an anti-evolution stance and missing the biggest story in science! After all, we DO observe dazzlingly sophisticated evolutionary steps every day, and we only understand 5% of what’s going on.
If the ID guys want to say the prize will never be won, they should make that bet. Someone should put skin in the game and set up a wager on www.longbets.org.
Similarly, any self-respecting atheist should vote that the prize WILL be won. It’s just a question of when. Atheists, place your bets. (If you believe naturalistic Origin Of Life is real science and not just pseudo-scientific myth-making.)
Meanwhile, no scientist can earn a dime by saying “God did it.” A scientist gets paid to understand exactly how evolution works. Right now we only have maybe 5% of the answer.
So while the ID guys point out many flaws in old-style evolutionary theory that I often agree with, ultimately they are out to win a philosophical argument more than they’re interested in furthering the science.
This is why I was in the ID camp ten years ago but am not now.
P.S.: A longbets.org wager is a great idea. Will anyone win the Evolution 2.0 Prize in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? 25 years?
Set up a wager and throw your hat in the ring.