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Was Darwin Wrong?
A selection of emails from visitors of the site

page : 1   2   3   4   5

24 Jun 2000
From: Robert Holloway
Subject: Monkeys and Typewriters

Some creationists claim that Huxley told the Monkeys and typewriter story in 1860 during the debate with the Bishop. However, the typewriter was not invented until 1873 and came on the market in 1874. It is not likely that an audience in 1860 would have ever heard of a typewriter and certainly it was not in common use. The story is a hoax.

Robert Holloway

Thanks Robert. Foster uncritically attributed the typewriter story to Huxley(1860), but the point of the story remains true: there are computable limits to the power of chance + time. [gk]

13 Jun 2000
From: Ralf Schroeter
Subject: Review on Lima-de-Faria

Dear Gert,

I myself did work on A. Lima-de-Faria´s theories which not only appeared quite reasonable to me but also exited me due to their coherence and logic. I just wanted to encourage you to have a look at de-Farias "Biological Periodicity: Its Molecular Mechanism and Evolutionary Implications" which is a logical follower to "Evolution without selection". The only thing I can tell you is that it took me months to get an idea of its vast and fascinating implications!


A table of contents of Biological Periodicity can be found at barnesandnoble.com [gk]

19 May 2000
From: "The Famous Brett Watson"
Subject: Darwin on Trial


I found your list of book reviews on matters of Creation and Evolution (via Google), and it looks like an excellent resource. Congratulations on a job well done. I myself have read a number of the books, particularly (but not exclusively) the ones in the category "Creationism and Intelligent Design Theory". Having read your review of "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip Johnson (plus his response), I'd like to challenge you on a point or two of your criticism.

First of all, let me disclose my bias and my area of knowledge. I am a creationist, and a Christian. My primary field of knowledge is computer science, but I also have a keen interest in philosophy, particularly epistemology. I'm a nerd in general, and take an interest in matters of science in the broad sense, but it's unlikely that I'll ever have any particular expertise in any of the "sciences" (like geology, physics, chemistry, etc, unless you count computer science as a "science", which I don't).
... ...
I conclude that science, as the study of nature, does not demand or need the absence of miracles in order to be valid and useful in its own right.

The mail was too long to post here completely. Contact TFBW for the complete copy. [gk]

15 May 2000
From: Don Cruse
Subject: Darwin's Logic

Dear Mr. Korthof,

I have only just become aware of your web site, and have much enjoyed my first viewing, and your very balanced approach. I am a semi-retired business man, and have developed in my spare time a different kind of Darwinian critique, one that focuses on the theory's underlying logic.
The text below is one of several articles I have written over the past two years on this subject. This is the most recent, and was the subject of a note that I received two weeks ago from Prof. John Polanyi (1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry), who commented favourably on the article, and on the references that I make in it to his late father's work [Michael Polanyi]. Your comments, should you find the time, would be most welcome.

Don Cruse.

Please contact DC for a copy of his article. About Michael Polanyi see also: Note 8 of my review of Denton and Note 9 of my review of Dembski. [gk]

7 May 2000
From: Cherif El Ayouty
Subject: Your website

Dear Gert,

I have admired very much your excellent website with the only in the world available clear presentation of all books related to the theories of Darwin and Genesis concerning the origin of life. I have also enjoyed your wonderfull review of some of the books.
Is it possible to send you my book GOODBYE DARWIN, which is a true first in the world to challenge, at the same time, both science and religion as far as the origin of life is concerned, in order to have it reviewed and posted on your website probably under the same section as Denton's book : "Evolution, a theory in crisis" ?
My book is written for scientists, clergymen and laymen alike in a simple yet pleasant language without losing any of its scientific integrity.

I truly wish that a man having a totally neutral position like you could review my book as I am fighting against a very strong tide. All authors of books, for or against Darwin, for or against Genesis have a political, religious or scientific agenda and they have to conform one way or the other to the rules of their group or they stand to loose a great deal. That does not apply to my case as I am a very lonely pioneer, very humbly indeed, and any support is welcome.
The only support I have received while writting my book came from the late Dr. Collin Patterson who, until his untimely death in 1998, was the Director of the Paleontology Department of the British Museum, one can hardly reach a higher position in the world of Darwinism and evolution. He was giving me hints, directions, secrets and encouragement until I finished my manuscript.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Cherif El Ayouty

I received the book from the author. Remarkably Dr. Collin Patterson's help is not acknowledged in the Preface. There are no references and no index in the book. [GK]
16 April 2000
William A. Dembski Ph.D.
Subject: Dr. Dembski's response to the review of Intelligent Design.

Dear Gert,

I did owe you the courtesy of responding to your emails. The main objection you raise, and one you raise repeatedly, is the supposed ability of Darwinian selection to produce what I attribute to design. It can't, and the arguments I give in my previously published work do, I think, argue for this effectively. Nonetheless, the argument can be made even more effective, and I'm currently writing a book showing that the Darwinian mechanism is not the magic design bullet it is made out to be. Send me your mailing address. I may wish to send you some chapter drafts.

Best wishes,
Bill Dembski
William A. Dembski, Ph.D.
Director, Michael Polanyi Center
Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science
Baylor University

Address:  William A. Dembski
          The Michael Polanyi Center
          P.O. Box 97130
          Baylor University
          Waco, TX 76798-7130
Phone:    (254) 710-4175 (Waco)
          (972) 570-3751 (Dallas)
Fax:      (254) 710-3600 (Waco)
          (972) 258-5235 (Dallas)
E-mail:   William_Dembski@baylor.edu
Web:      www.baylor.edu/~William_Dembski (personal)
          www.baylor.edu/~polanyi (Michael Polanyi Center)

I wish to thank prof Enezio E. de Almeida Filho from Brazil for being an intermediary between me and Dr. Dembski.
Please note that Dr. Dembski refers to his previous and his next book, hardly to the current book I reviewed. Indeed I did defend, among others things, the ability of Darwinian selection to produce 'design', but Dembski ignored the rest of the review which is a critical analysis of his concept of information applied to biology. Furthermore Dembski ignored my False Positive case of Intelligent Design. [GK]
23 Mar 2000
From: William Seager
Subject: histone H4

Your site is very interesting and useful.
I notice that in your discussion of Hoyle and Maynard Smith's review of Hoyle's Mathematics of evolution you give the rate of change of histone h4 as .01 replacement per billion years. The correct figure is .01 replacements per million years which makes a big difference obviously. If you check the web there is quite a bit of research on the genetic variability underlying histone h4.
For example, Histone H4 has been characterized as one of the most conserved proteins in eukaryotes. It is commonly accepted that with a central role in the cell, only a very limited set of mutations to histone H4 can still produce functional proteins. However a considerable amount of variation exists in ciliate histone H4 genes. We are currently developing a technique to analyze the extent of permissible variation in a highly conserved region of the Tetrahymena thermophila histone H4. The T. thermophila histone H4, a protein of 102 amino acids, contains 18 amino acid differences with respect to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However even with this large number of differences, we have previously demonstrated that the T. thermophila histone H4 can successfully replace the endogenous S. cerevisiae histone H4.
See: Histone H4 Research

Bye for now,
William Seager, Philosophy
University of Toronto at Scarborough

The number .01 per billion (109) is from Maynard Smith(1998), page 148. What is the source of your 'correct' figure?
According to the Histone Sequence Database there is >95% identity across all known histone-H4 sequences. It seems that variability is limited to single cell organisms.[GK]
10 Mar 2000
From: Razel Remen
Subject: Neo-Darwinism

You might want to add The Web of Life. A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems by Fritjof Capra to your "Was Darwin Wrong" web page. The book gives a lot of insight into why Darwin was wrong.

Razel Remen (Evergreen State College)

28 Feb 2000
James M Kaleta
Subject: YEC book reviews

Love the site. I know that you can't cover every single book written on the subject but I note that your reviews tend to cover those written by what is sometimes referred to as the "Old-Earth-Creationist" crowd (Behe, Johnson, etc.) but don't really touch the Biblical literalist "Young-Earth-Creationist" bunch. Since the latter makes up the majority of the creationists who are politically active in the United States, why not cover one of their books? One that seems to pretty much summarize their thinking is Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati. I'd be interested in seeing your opinions on that one.

James Kaleta

I will have a look at the book [GK].

21 Jan 2000
Subject: Archaeopteryx

I read the stuff from 10 years ago that Archaeopterx was a 'hoax'. This appeared to be the claims of Lee Spetner and Fred Hoyle. Can you point me to a site which more conclusively answers that?


I don't know of a site, but Arthur Strahler mentions in his Science and Earth History, p426, that the British Museum examined the specimens and published a report:
A.J. Charig et al (1986), Science, vol 232, pp 622-26.
They publish evidence that their specimens cannot be a forgery [GK].

17 Jan 2000
From: Phil Ord
Subject: Ken Wilber's work.

It amazes me that there's no mention of Ken Wilber's work on your site. In my opinion Wilber's work provides a resolution to the whole debate in having respect for science, religion, and philosophy. See, for example,
  • Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution
  • A Brief History of Everything
  • The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science & Religion.

Philip Ord.

It is mentioned now. [GK]

30 Nov 1999
From: Jill Neimark
Subject: your site

I'm going to look at your site as I'm profiling Lynn Margulis for Discover Magazine.

Amazing, absolutely stunning, that you left her out. She's only one of the greatest thinkers who put together one of the most important pieces on evolution this century!

Better get a review of Five Kingdoms and Symbiosis in Cell Evolution on that page soon!


Jill Neimark
Webpage: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/neimark

It takes time to write a good review! [GK]

2 Nov 1999
From: Tom McIver
Subject: Evolution: for and against

Dear Gert Korthof:

I came across your web page today and read some of your very balanced reviews. I notice you mention the anti-evolution bibliography1 I wrote in 1988. If you don't have a copy I could send you a photocopy of the entire work (I only have one copy of the actual book). The paperback edition is available through Amazon.com and other online sellers.
I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Hayward, author of the later bibliography2 which you discuss, at the Seventh-day Adventist university where he teaches. I was researching a bibliography of books on the End of the World3, which has recently been published. On the other hand, I was most interested in seeing your knowledgeable treatment of some NON-religious anti-evolutionists and anti-Darwinists.

Tom McIver

1. Anti-Evolution. A Reader's Guide to Writings before and after Darwin, by Tom McIver
2. The Creation/Evolution Controversy. An Annotated Bibliography, by James L. Hayward.
3. The End of the World : An Annotated Bibliography. by Tom McIver, 1999.

The book has been reviewed now (17 Mar 2000) on this site [GK].

11 Oct 1999
From: Brig Klyce
Subject: review of Mathematics of Evolution

Dear Gert --

I have just only glanced at your review. The review looks great. It is thorough, and shows that you have not only read the book, but are very familiar [with] lot's of related material and are well qualified to review it. I will add a link to your review today or tomorrow.

My only quibble is with your comment, "A few sections are about his 'Life from space' (Panspermia) hypothesis." I don't know which sections you mean. Of course your readers who are familiar with Hoyle will be interested in his views on panspermia, but does he really discuss them in this book?

Thanks again for the review. It's the first one I know of, and it is a good one!

Brig Klyce * http://www.panspermia.org
Acorn Enterprises LLC

06 Aug 1999
From: James Graham
Subject: My book 'Cancer Selection'


Having just come across your site I write to ask if you would seriously be interested in a review copy of Cancer Selection: the new theory of evolution.
amazon.com's page on the book or this provides quotes from some relevant reviews:
The book is an expansion of the idea published in Journal of Theoretical Biology.

James Graham
Lexington Virginia USA

I have read the book, but did not yet had the opportunity to write a review.
22 Mar 03: The book is favourably mentioned in the superb review article
Armand M. Leroi, Vassiliki Koufopanou & Austin Burt: Cancer Selection.
Nature Reviews Cancer 3, 226-231 (2003) March 2003 Vol 3 No 3.
17 Apr 03: There is a nice story about the rediscovery of Cancer Selection: Life's Lethal Quality Control by Geoff Watts.
27 May 04: Here's the link to James Graham's web site.
see also: recent mail [GK]
5 Aug 1999
From: Scott Page
Subject: ReMine's 'discussion' area....

Hello Gert,

I just recently discovered your excellent site - you are a more patient man than me.... However, I was intrigued by your comments on ReMine's 'discussion' area. Some time ago - over a year, if I am not mistaken - I and at least one other person that I know of experienced a similar thing. I had an extended email exchange with ReMine's 'publisher' (I have been lead to believe that the publisher is ReMine himself, as his publisher publishes no other books), and was treated the same way. I brought up several aspects of his claims (I have not read the book, though I was commenting on excerpts that had been posted on a discussion board by someone sympathetic to his cause) and was similarly 'ignored' - and angered - to see that the claim that no questions had been raised remained. I asked specifically why this was so, and for a long time received no reply. When I did finally get a reply, I was told that my questions were 'not valid' and that the 'publisher' would no longer respond to my messages.
All part of his self-promotion, I conclude.

keep up the good work!
Scott Page, Ph.D.

27 May 1999
From: ds4359
Subject: Irreducible complexity

Interesting review of Behe's Darwin's Black Box.
However, you don't take Behe to task regarding the concept of "irreducible complexity" itself, and how he has defined the concept. It has been amply demonstrated that a mousetrap is most certainly NOT irreducibly complex. Likewise, Behe's examples of biological systems as "irreducibly complex" fail if it can be shown that similar systems, or the same system in related organisms, works in a slightly different way, has slightly different structures or compounds, or has more or fewer steps. Has Behe addressed this issue??? A good example would be the eye, certainly a complex organ and a favorite topic of the creationists. Yet is it irreducibly complex? Of course not. A full range of eyes, all fully functional, all quite useful to their owners, can be found in organisms today, ranging from a simple light-sensitive eyespot to the complex camera-like human eye. The full continuum of eyes, from simple to complex, is out there and they all work. I find Behe's arguments quite less than compelling.

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Copyright © 1997/98/99 G.Korthof . First published: Jul 3 1999 Last update: 1 aug 06