Friday, July 05, 2013

A Review of Darwin's Doubt By Nick Matzke

Over at Panda's Thumb, Nick Matzke has written a review of Stephen Meyer's new book Darwin's Doubt.  To get an idea of what he thinks of the book, Matzke's post is called "Meyer's Hopeless Monster." For example:
As I read through Meyer’s book, though, in case after case I see misunderstandings, superficial treatment of key issues which are devastating to his thesis once understood, and complete or near-complete omission of information that any non-expert reader would need to have to make an accurate assessment of Meyer’s arguments.
He also chastises Meyer for his lack of understanding of unilineal versus collateral ancestry, and notes that this is a common problem with creationists:
Yet another confusion that Meyer exhibits relates to the idea of “ancestor”. As with all creationists, Meyer exhibits no understanding of the fact that phylogenetic methods as they exist now can only rigorously detect sister-group relationships, not direct ancestry, and, crucially, that this is neither a significant flaw, nor any sort of challenge to common ancestry, nor any sort of evidence against evolution. Distinguishing between a close sister-group relationship and an exact ancestor is just a level of precision that we cannot expect in most cases. It’s just a by-product of the method and the data available.
A common problem is the inability to understand that even if a species did not give rise to successor species, it can still be transitional by virtue of the number of derived and retained traits relative to its sister taxa.

The whole review is scathing and his examples devastating to the premises of the book.  Another ID hatchet job.  

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