Signature of Controversy

Dr. Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell is an enormous success. It was named one of the New York Times Times Literary Supplement books of the year by a well-respected atheist. It was on Amazon’s top ten science books of 2009. It has been called a “landmark in the intelligent design debate” by a prominent professor of medical genetics, “a ‘must read’ for all serious students of the origin-of-life debate” by an accomplished PhD in ocean chemistry, and a “decisive case based upon breathtaking and cutting-edge science” by a chemistry professor who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Of course the real way you can see how successful the book has been is to read the hysterical reviews from those who disagree with its conclusions. Many of the reviews are quite comical. For example, on this blog I highlighted Dr. Francisco Ayala’s pathetic review where he not only displays his unfamiliarity with genetics, but he also displays the fact that he hasn’t even read the book.

Well, now you can go to one place to find many of these amusing reviews as well as how poorly they fare when they are evaluated based on science: the online book Signature of Controversy. This book is 105 pages of snarky (one section is called “Attack of the Pygmies”), detailed, and scientifically devastating arguments that show how poorly the critics of Signature in the Cell deal with the science related to the origins debate.

In some ways, this book is even better than Signature in the Cell. After all, the case made by Signature in the Cell is very impressive. However, while I was reading it, I kept asking myself, “What will the critics say about this?” After all, if you want to be truly educated on an issue, you must examine it from all sides. Well, with the help of this book, you can see what the critics have to say, and you can see how poorly what they say compares to science as we know it today.

Often, you can judge the quality and impact of a work based on what its critics have to say about it. The weaker and more desperate the critics’ arguments, the stronger and more important the work. Based on the criticisms leveled at Signature in the Cell, it is clearly one of the strongest and most important books related to the origins controversy.


  1. Norwegian Shooter May 25, 2010 12:47 am

    Thomas Nagel wrote in the Times (of London) Literary Supplement, and called it one of his books of the year, not the Times’.

    SitC was the #10 customer favorite for science books in 2009 (after Dawkins and Coyne, I might add). It was not on the 2009 Editor’s Picks list.

    As for the 3 quotes you listed, do you know that 1,138 scientists named Steve support evolution?

    Origins controversy? What origins controversy?

    • jlwile May 25, 2010 6:55 am

      Shooter, I know it bothers you when the successes of the intelligent design movement are highlighted. However, you will just have to deal with it. In the end, you can close your eyes, cover your ears, and yell as loudly as you want, but the intelligent design movement is causing a dramatic change in the science of origins, and it is clearly for the better.

      “Origins controversy? What origins controversy?”
      The one that you engage in almost every day on this blog. It shows how compartmentalized your brain is when you make absurd statements like that. You repeatedly try to argue for evolution on this blog, and you repeatedly lose. Then you try to claim there is no controversy. Only a severely compartmentalized brain could come up with such a ridiculous set of actions!

      As another example of your compartmentalization, on the one hand, you think it is more significant that A FEW editors didn’t pick Signature in the Cell as a “top ten” science book than it is that the population as a whole chose it as one of the “top ten.” Then, you think it takes away from the book that ONLY ONE person named it a New York Times book of the year. In addition, you seem to think it important that a lot of scientists believe in evolution. So..sometimes A FEW people are more important than A LOT of people, but sometimes ONE PERSON means nothing. Other times, A LOT of people are more important than A FEW people. Man…I’m glad I just look at the data. The kinds of mental gymnastics you do in order to preserve your unscientific world view would give me a serious headache!

  2. Norwegian Shooter May 25, 2010 9:36 am

    Man, you need to lighten up. (But I realize sarcasm is hard on the internet, so you can blame me if you wish). “Origins controversy” was a joke. Of course I know there is one and that I engage in it quite frequently with you.

    Perez Hilton is also beloved by millions, but that doesn’t make it good.

    Again, it’s the Times of London Literary Supplement, not the NYT. But the point is, an official book of the year selection from a group, such as the New York Times, carries more weigh than a single individual. The NYT does produce best books lists, but SitC didn’t even make the top 100 notable books in 2009. So stop your slander of the NYT.

    • jlwile May 25, 2010 10:59 am

      It is difficult to detect sarcasm in your comments, because you make many absurd statements that you actually think are true. If you didn’t believe so many absurd things, it would be easier to detect your sarcasm.

      You are correct that it was the Times Literary Supplement.

      But you claim that an official book of the year selection does NOT carry more weight when it is done by a large group, such as the general public. In that case, you think that the opinion of a few people, like the editors at Amazon, carries more weight. Once again, this is your compartmentalization at work. In order to keep your worldview intact, you must believe that SOMETIMES a large group carries more weight but at OTHER TIMES, a small group carries more weight. Once again, I am just glad that I follow the data and don’t have to engage in such mental gymnastics!

      As a side note, since you don’t know basic definitions in science, it is not surprising that you don’t know basic definitions in law, either. “Slander” deals with the spoken word. If you want to falsely accuse me of something, you should learn the subject well enough to understand what you are trying to say. You should have suggested that I was libeling the New York Times. Of course, by crediting the New York Times with Nagel’s insight, I was actually incorrectly paying them a compliment.