Friday, August 03, 2007

Author, it's 9:00 a.m. Bookstore's open. Do you know where your books are? - O'Leary

You might be surprised ...

A reader wrote me at one of my other blogs, the Post-Darwinist to tell me that someone in Pasadena, California, angered by biochemist Mike Behe's new book, Edge of Evolution, decided to "reshelve" the book where she thought it should be. Of course, book-savvy readers wrote in to point out that Misshelver, as I dubbed her, was only creating work and trouble for others.

She had somehow got it into her head that the book "isn't science" and that it was her job to fix that. On the contrary, when I went next day to my local big bookstore to buy a copy, I found that Edge of Evolution was one of the relatively few science books in the science section.

Much of the section was speculation about the past and the future, how mind can come from matter or religion and morality from squabbling apes. And so forth. That is not science, it's magic.

Behe's book, which I had already read and reviewed, sticks to the facts of biochemistry in assessing what Darwinian evolution has and has not done in the long war between the human blood cell and the parasite that causes malaria.

The facts of biochemistry are not good news for Darwinism. That's remarkable news in view of the fact that so much of the speculation about religion and morality in the science section riffs off it, as we demonstrate in The Spiritual Brain. (Indeed, I have elsewhere referred to the busload of cranks, prophesying in Darwin's name. Sending that stuff up is fun, actually, but I wish it did not take up so much of the "science" section.

Anyway, if you are an author who writes about a controversial topic, be alert for Misshelver's helpful little brownies, hiding your books by pretending to put them in the "right" places. If you are a reader trying to buy such a book, pay attention when the clerk says "But the computer shows that there are four copies in inventory ... " You and the clerk may eventually find all four of them in the same out-of-the-way place, courtesy of someone wishing to "make a statement." Yawn.

Anyway, here are some other stories I wrote recently:

More surprising information from neurosurgeon Mike Egnor's caseload about how people can manage with greatly reduced brains.

Psychiatrist Jeffrey M. Schwartz on why The Spiritual Brain is different from your average book condemning materialism

Alexander Solzhenitsyn on fear of death

Review of Richard Weikart's controversial From Darwin to Hitler

Review of Frank Tipler's contrarian The Physics of Christianity

Earth to Jason Rosenhouse: People who doze gravel at a steep angle to pay your salary do not despise ID.

O'Leary visits a Toronto bookstore and finds that Edge of Evolution is a rare example of actual science in the science section.

The contented ignorance of the modern atheist - not like his predecessors

Instant sanity moment

More from historian Alister McGrath on the twilight of atheism.

Recent polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy - what do they really show?

It's too bad if we have to admit that we really don't have a good theory of how evolution happens, but apparently we really don't.

A physicist recommends some fun online "evolution" games.

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