Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ten Worst Science Books

John Horgan has upped the ante with his Ten Worst Science Books. I haven't read most of the ones on his list but I certainly agree with Consilience. I disagree with The Tipping Point 'cause it's not a science book and I disagree with Rock of Ages 'cause when you read it carefully you see that Gould has a valid point.

PZ Meiers adds Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe and The Language of God by Francis Collins. I'm not sure if the Collins book qualifies as science. It's in the superstition section of my local bookstore.

John Lynch over at Stranger Fruit has an even more interesting suggestion for John Horgan's list of worst science books. Lynch would add The End of Science by John Horgan. Ouch!

I have three suggestions. The one everyone is forgetting is Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells. This one's a no-brainer.

One of my personal favorites is Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species by Jeffrey H. Schwartz. This is a really, really, bad science book.

Another book that gets my vote is Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett.

6 comments:

  1. What was it about the Dennett book you didn't like? Haven't read it yet myself, but I haven't heard the criticisms of it from the pro-science camp yet.

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  2. I'm not sure whether it's intentional, but you spelled PZ's last name wrong. He had a touchy post about it a while ago.

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  3. At least Sudden Origins also Suddenly Disappeared. It seems to have been a minor inanity that flared briefly and sank without a trace.



    I don't get touchy about misspelled names...I'm used to it, and it's become a standing joke.

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  4. martin wagner asks,

    What was it about the Dennett book you didn't like? Haven't read it yet myself, but I haven't heard the criticisms of it from the pro-science camp yet.

    You haven't? Well, let me be the first to educate you. :-)

    Dennett, also known as Dawkins' lapdog, does not understand evolution. He has fallen hook line and sinker for the Dawkins version of Ultra-Darwinism only he (Dennett) goes even further. Everything is an adaptation, according to Dennett, and those who attribute evolution to anything other than natural selection are fools.

    A good part of Darwin's Dangerous Idea is devoted to a misinformed, ignorant, attack on Stephen Jay Gould. Dennett demonstrates his lack of scientific expertise in so many ways I can't describe them all in a short comment. He even accuses Gould of being a closet theist!

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  5. Anything by Jeremy Rifkin fits on that list...

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  6. I haven't read the E. O. Wilson and Gould books on the list, so I won't offer an opinion there. PZ Meighurs chose much better candidates for "worst books", as did several commenters at Pharyngula (one of whom astutely pointed out that this question, though interesting, is not really well-posed).

    As I posted on Horgan's blog, the rationale he gave for choosing Greene's The Elegant Universe was very, very bad.

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