Re: Impact of Denton's "Nature's Destiny"

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Tue Jun 05 2001 - 11:20:03 EDT

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    I'm wondering with Tim the same thing here. Why do you say that *Evolution:
    A Theory in Crisis* was taken seriously by the scientific community?
    Personally, I've not heard much about it outside of Christian circles where
    the appeal to a non-Christian scientist supposedly lends some authority to
    anti-evolutionary views. As Tim points out the discussion of the molecular
    data is just plain wrong, but I hear it referred to all the time among
    Christians. The only reason I give attention to it is not because of the
    merits of the science but because of the influence it has on others: in my
    experience, these include: Johnson, Behe, the Pandas authors, A. Plantinga,
    the World Magazine crowd, etc. Personally, I lump it together with a group
    of books that has set the evangelical Christian community back 50 years in
    its coming to terms with evolution, just as that community was beginning to
    break free from the grips of young-earth creationism.


    >James Mahaffy wrote:
    >>I am thinking of annotating this book for my bibliography but I would
    >>like feedback from anyone who has an idea of the impact of this book
    >>on the broader scientific community. Is it taken seriously by the
    >>scientific community?
    >Generally speaking, no. Should it be? Not based on my reading of the book.
    >What do you think of the "tests" he proposed for invalidating his hypothesis?
    >Now, is Denton's work taken seriously by anyone within the scientific
    >community? That's a different question. I only know that it's taken
    >seriously by at least by one person: Denton.
    >FWIW, Denton's _Evolution: A theory in crisis" wasn't taken seriously by
    >the general scientific community, either. Most biochemists that I've known
    >haven't heard of him. Two post-docs I knew who had worked in the same
    >department as Denton in New Zealand and had attended his lectures weren't
    >even aware that he'd authored such a book. Basically, Denton didn't write
    >anything that hadn't already been published and discussed elsewhere. Further,
    >his description of molecular homology data was outdated and countered
    >probably before he'd set pen to paper. You might note that Denton did some
    >serious backpedalling WRT the data affirming common descent in this latest
    >Here's a potentially illuminating question: Why isn't Denton's latest book
    >-- in which he declares the evidence for common descent to be conclusive --
    >broadly discussed within the ID community, which had so solidly embraced his
    >first book? Is his scientific acumen less powerful today?
    >>He is really saying the world is designed for the life it has (in fact he
    >>sees himself doing something similar to natural theology) - but does not
    >>want as far as I have read (and I have not read all of it) and designer.
    >I thought he had a decidely deistic slant.
    >Tim Ikeda
    >Mail2Web - Check your email from the web at
    > .

    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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