Puck reviews "Taking Leave of Darwin"

Two days ago the DI published its latest book, a short volume by one Neil Thomas titled “Taking Leave of Darwin.” It’s sort of astonishing how bad this one is, and the only explanation I can offer is that because Thomas identifies himself as an “agnostic” they’re hoping that this somehow mitigates the stain of their obvious commitment to Christian fundamentalism. The book manages to fail even to explain more or less what ID Creationism is, which is a new low mark. Here is my draft Amazon review, due to be posted there soon.
thomasrev.pdf (420.6 KB)


That was a good read.

I can’t really say whether it is a good review, since I haven’t read the book. I did see the blurb for the book at the ENV site a couple of days ago. That blurb already persuaded me that this book is not worth reading.

Thanks for that review.


Loved the lines about the small hoofed animal skittering on ice.


By the way, I note that the same author had a book published in the UK in 2020 called “Darwin Disproved?” which may well be the same book. On the jacket of that book is the note: “The unexpected conclusion: Darwinism is a philosophical construct with its roots in Classical Antiquity – not science.”

The title alone does it for me. Another tedious addition to the infinite collection of books titled Something Bad Darwin, all regurgitating the same threadbare verbiage covered in the first volume as if it’s something new and fresh. Only the byline changes.

Link to the ENV promo:
Taking Leave of Darwin


The subtitle for each new DI book should be “This Time With More Cowbell”


That reminds me: I keep these on a shelf where they can be seen by guests to my home. While most of those guests know my views on these subjects, I probably should move the books to a less conspicuous location, lest someone misunderstand why I have a shelf full of this absurd garbage.


BUT that’s when the fun starts! :wink:

When it comes to fleecing the rubes, originality is not a priority.

Extra points for using “Darwinism” in a sentence.

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You know, I do know people who could have a great deal of fun with that. I can’t keep a good humorous deception up for very long. The thing I’d fear is that they’d just see the books and say nothing, giving me no occasion to explain.

Indeed not. While each of these books has its own special features, I think that the appeal of them is just a drum-drum-drum of familiarity. I doubt that very many of the true believers even read these all that closely. That, of course, does not stop them from going to Amazon in droves to report that this particular repetition of familiar creationist themes is going to be the one that breaks the dam, and is going to be cited by scientists for centuries to come as the seminal work in the field. I have had to point out to people more than once that the mere fact that the pages of your copy are stuck together does not make it a seminal work.


Indeed. Though one thing I have to grant Neil Thomas is that when HE says “Darwinism,” he literally means he has never read one word of biological science which updates Darwin (or, at least, his rough understanding of Darwin). So in his case the term might be ever-so-slightly more defensible. Who says ignorance is no excuse?

This reminds me of a few years back when the DI made a huge deal out of pushing the opinions of Dr. David Gelernter. Gelernter is another non-scientist who offered nothing beyond regurgitating the standard ID-Creationist talking points. All the DI needs is for the Darwin critic to be an “authority”, doesn’t matter if the field isn’t even remotely connected with evolutionary biology


That seems to be a transparent admission that what ever they mean by Darwinism, it isn’t modern evolutionary science. That’s good, right?

Technically, he is a computer scientist. So perhaps that “non-scientist” designation isn’t quite right. However, he somehow manages to be wrong about almost everything outside of computer science.

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As you know, anything that has “science” in its name isn’t actually a science.


More to the point, however sciency Gelernter is, he didn’t manage to come up with any argument the D.I. hadn’t used a zillion times before.


Well, I don’t think their audience – who, it must be remembered, are generally about twelve neurons short of a dozen in any event – would think of anything that complicated. And saying that Darwinism has its “roots” in antiquity doesn’t mean that one is excluding modern evolutionary theory from “Darwinism,” only that the idea originates there. Having its roots in some sort of illegitimate or corrupt ground, we are to suppose, means that no good fruit can come of it; or, alternatively, having its roots in some non-scientific ground is supposed to mean that no science can ever come out of it. Utter tosh, but we are not dealing here with highly cautious thinkers.

I think it’s plain that the intent, as always, is to blur the distinction between “Darwinism” in the historical sense and modern evolutionary theory. That’s easy, since the audience doesn’t understand there to be any distinction between the two anyhow. And then any criticism of Darwin is deemed to be an effective criticism of the whole of evolution. That this wouldn’t fool a smart third grader is not a problem: there are very, very few of those in the intended audience.

The one question that seems to me to be open would be whether this strategy is the author’s, or whether the author was himself fooled by others pursuing this strategy. He clearly has gone completely off the rails in terms of his own thinking here, and his appeals to Lucretius suggest that he, as a literature guy, is one of those people who only has a hammer and to whom everything looks like a nail.


On this topic, by the way: I now see that after I suggested that Neil Thomas had a slightly stilted writing style and an affection for fancy words, it is now obligatory for all five-star reviews to include praise for his writing style. I guess it shows they do read the review…


The other two reviews currently posted apparently didn’t understand this book. Each approached it with clear prejudices that prevented proper comprehension (and one apparently doesn’t have an appreciation for high quality prose).

It appears the other one-star review have been removed.