Book Briefly Noted, Title Why Evolution Is True, Author Jerry A. Coyne, Rating 3.5,
Why Evolution Is True
Jerry A. Coyne
This book has been hailed by some as a clear-eyed exposition of modern evolutionary biology. I found it strong on the science, and disappointingly weak on the intellectual discipline.
The author Jerry Coyne, along with Dawkins and other evolutionists, spend way too much time and passion in their ongoing battle with New Creationists. Too many emotional jabs at New Creationism are interspersed throughout the book (hint: when Creationist arguments are countered, the New Creationist side of the argument is often presented with colored, negatively weighted adjectives), which creates an unnecessarily defensive posture, and makes the overall arguments sometimes appear rhetorically weak and less rigorous than they actually are.
We get it: New Creationism is not science.
The best defense of evolution comes from making the case for its science, and being forthright about the holes in evolutionary theory and knowledge. In the first part, the author shows his mettle – this book does an admirable job of spelling out the structure and strength of the Theory of Evolution. This alone makes it worth the read.
The Theory of Evolution has some elements that are necessarily difficult to test, and it has some inconsistencies, not unlike other well-established scientific theories, to include the Standard Model of particle physics and General Relativity. Would that Coyne had delineated the problems of the Theory, and embraced it more forthrightly as typical of the workings of science, this book would have been a standout.
Creationists seem to seek the security of an absolute model. There is no such thing in science, which is ultimately why it is more realistic and valuable than religiously based and unverifiable stories which purport to describe our world. Coyne here is both brilliant and embarrassing, as it would appear sometimes that he holds the Theory of Evolution closer to an absolute model than he knows it to be.