Pharyngula

The PIG-fest continues

The ongoing dissection of Wells’ The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design continues, with two new disembowelments on display.

Andrea Bottaro rips up Chapter 9, “The Secret of Life”. In this one, Wells makes the tired old argument that only intelligent agents can create information, therefore informational macromolecules must have been created by intelligent agent(s). It’s also got a sharp, succinct critique of the Sternberg affair, in which Stephen Meyer smuggled an ID paper into Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. (Don’t ask what those two subjects were doing together in this chapter. Wells is not big on logical organization.)

Mark Perakh takes on Chapter 16, “American Lysenkoism”. You can guess the subject from the title: the Darwinists are persecuting the proponents of heterodoxy, confining them to the gulags of right-wing think tanks, like the Discovery Institute, and not allowing them to be represented in the universities. Yeah, right. We also don’t let flat-earthers get professorships in geology.

Expect more in the near future. We divvied up the chapters a few weeks ago, and everyone is working through them at their own pace (for the record, mine was ready to go a week and a half ago, and I held off to give a few people a chance to catch up—doesn’t everyone whip out a few thousand words in a few hours?), and they’re getting released as they’re done. When they’re all organized, it’s going to represent a very substantial rebuttal of some extraordinarily shoddy scholarship.

One of the things all of us are noting that may not get communicated well in the rebuttals is how much is wrong in each of Wells’ chapters. We’d have to write a whole book for each chapter just to explain all of his foolish errors and dishonest cheats, and what we’ve all been electing to do (by necessity!) is to focus on just a few examples and shred those. This is a book that would be slashed to bits by competent reviewers—I have a growing sense of amazement that it got published at all. But then, all I need to do is note that it was put out by Regnery, where incompetence and lies are a prerequisite for publication.