Richard Milton - Shattering the Myths of Darwinism

"most of what exists [he] does not see at all, and the little [he] does see [he] sees much too close up and isolated; [he] cannot relate what [he] sees to anything else and [he] therefore accords everything [he] sees equal importance and therefore to each individual thing too great importance" Nietzsche as quoted on p. 36 of The Social Construction of What?
shat·ter: to cause the disruption or annihilation of, to break apart, disintegrate
mis·use: incorrect or improper use

A book length treatment of the subject--longer than Milton's work itself--is required to provide a truly adequate critique. However, I will attempt to cram a few of the factual and methodological problems found in Shattering the Myths of Darwinism into my all-too-brief review on this web page so that people can get a flavor of what to expect from an author who delivers far less than promised in the title.

The less-than-three page Preface that begins the 1997 version of this book sets the tone for the constant contradictions and misstatements which fill the rest of the pages. On the very first page Milton makes the inaccurate claim that Darwinism is "always a touchy subject with the biology establishment". Yet, Darwinism (as he later admits) is actually a foregone conclusion with biologists. Where it is a touchy subject is with the fundamentalist religious establishment.

On the next page, Milton claims that his first edition of the book was misunderstood. Here he states his view that he doesn't think science is a myth, that evolution is false, and that natural selection is a pack of lies. He also says, on the very next page, that he doesn't think the earth is only a few thousand years old. The previous sentence says that he does not accept there being any (emphasis his) significant evidence for natural selection. And a couple of sentences later we find out that he has no idea (and nobody else does either in his view) how old the earth is. (We later find out that he thinks there is significant evidence that the earth is only a few thousand years old.) Milton's statements appear confusing, unclear, and two faced in just the first few pages. But the real confusion is yet to come.

The most common logical fallacy that Milton abuses is that of the "straw man". The straw man fallacy consists of creating a false scenario and then attacking it. The way Milton uses it is to say that Darwinism makes claims that it doesn't and then question, knock, or mock those claims. In so doing, he may convince readers who aren't well versed in Darwinism that there are pretend problems with the theory even when Darwinism is very different from the picture Milton tries to paint. For instance, on page 8, he states

And yet many people, both scientists and laymen, have entertained nagging doubts [about Darwinism]. Do we really believe that black people are black by accident? What kind of accident was it? Why don't we see such accidents happening today? Why does the fossil record not show us such accidents happening in the past? Once the questions begin, it is difficult to know where to stop.
How about stopping before raising any questions that create a false impression of natural selection? Blacks are no more or less an 'accident' than Milton is in the Darwinian sense. Raising the question in an attempt to turn Darwinists into racists is uncalled for to say the least. Skin color does not show up in the fossil record as Milton implies it should. To bring such a question up reflects that Milton's twenty years in the Geologists' Association and the "extensive geological research for this book" have largely been a waste of time.

Part of his problem is he doesn't accurately describe abiogenesis theory, evolutionary theory, or neo-Darwinism. For instance, on page 18-9 he pretends that scientists believe a protein containing 100 amino acids formed spontaneously. He then gives the odds against such a feat. Such odds would be more impressive if they were astronomically against a string of 99 amino acids turning into a string of 100. But no one is asking for 100 to come from 0 with nothing in between. A key factor to Darwinism, and possibly to abiogenesis, is the cumulative nature of biological events.

Not only are Milton's interpretations of Darwinism faulty, but his knowledge of the theory's history is also incorrect. He claims that by 1900 "Darwin's theory had been all but consigned to the scrap heap of history". This news would come as quite a surprise to those actually living at the time. Sure the theory didn't have as much evidence behind it a hundred years ago as it does now, but the vast majority of biologists and those who weren't fundamentalist in the religious sense were converts to be sure. Darwin's biographers even go so far to state that by the time of Darwin's death in 1882 his theory was universally accepted. Although this, too, is likely a stretch, it is closer to the truth than Milton's pseudohistory. Those whose theories are "consigned to the scrap heap of history" shortly after the time their lives are over aren't buried in Westminster Abbey. Perhaps reading A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by the president and professor of history at Cornell (who was also quite religious and a believer in Darwinism) at the time of its writing in the 1890s, published in 1898, will cause Milton to alter in future editions his assertion that natural selection was a dead theory a hundred years ago.

Just a dozen pages into the main section of the book we find out that Darwinian theory has been undermined by a "new generation of scientists, less concerned with authoritarian theories and more concerned with unravelling (sic) mysteries". The "authoritarian theories" one must suppose come from "virtually every eminent professional scientist appointed to posts in the life sciences in the last 40 or 50 years" as Milton puts it on the previous page. According to Milton all are "convinced Darwinists". Milton seems to think that they believe as they do because they trust in authority rather than the ample evidence Darwinian theory rests on. Who belongs to this "new generation" Milton trusts in? Well, he doesn't say. At least not yet. He never does provide the laundry list like he does for the supporters of Darwin. Using the rest of the book as a guide, though, the reader will come to the conclusion that the new generation consists of mainly two people--Melvin Cook and Michael Denton. Melvin Cook is the main character quoted throughout the book so let's take a look at him to see if Milton is correct in his assertion that Cook is "less concerned with authoritarian theories".

Melvin Cook was a fundamentalist Mormon (fundamentalist in the sense that he took Mormon scripture, including the Bible, literally--not in the sense that he was a practicing Mormon polygamist). Cook had many writings published in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s (hardly a qualifier for the "new generation"). His writings were mainly published by presses affiliated with Mormonism. The primary focus was to show Mormons that neo-orthodox Mormonism is completely compatible with the findings of modern science (even though nothing could be further from the truth). He believed in a large variety of strange things merely because Joseph Smith said so in the 1830s and 1840s. In other words, his authority was Joseph Smith and Mormon scripture. If Joseph Smith said it, then he needed to rearrange the facts of life to prove Joseph Smith was correct. Some of those beliefs can be found in the above link and this one.

Perhaps the main reason Milton uses Cook so much is that the editor(s) of Nature published a letter by Cook in 1957 without bothering to check all of Cook's facts, assumptions, etc. This is frequently the case with "Letters to the Editor". However, Milton uses this letter of Cook's as evidence that Cook's ideas are valid since they appeared in a peer-review journal. Milton doesn't bother to verify Cook's numbers and assumptions. Nor does he quote from or mention the refutations that have appeared since. He does mention one critic of Cook, Brent Dalrymple, but Dalrymple is missing from the Bibliography. The reference should likely be this one.

Chapter 4 is Milton's attempt to debunk radiometric dating. He parades a few items that are difficult to date or that have yielded different dates in different labs in order to "prove" that radiometric dating is completely and totally unreliable. He doesn't say as much, but those are the thoughts he tries to convey. He makes the false claim that evolutionary theory requires billions of years on page 30. While it is now believed that the earth is billions of years old, based on the evidence, this date wasn't arrived at because of evolutionary theory. Nor would the life forms (or their representatives) that existed on this planet more than three billion years ago claim that it took billions of years for them to evolve. It is conceivable that given the right circumstances the life we witness today could have evolved in far less than billions of years. The Cambrian Period, for instance, was only about half a billion years ago. But the fact of the matter remains that we do have fossils of life that are much older, and they were not known to Darwin nor dated until recently. Evolutionary theory, and especially Darwinian theory, did not hinge on their discovery and age. Nor was their dating based on evolutionary theory. He ends the chapter by using Cook's suggestion that the earth can't be older than 30,000 years (despite his claim in the Preface that he doesn't believe in a earth only a few thousand years old--perhaps he is defining "few thousand" as a number much less than thirty thousand in which case he is unclear, if not deceptive, in the telling of his beliefs) because the atmosphere is still in nonequilibrium even though this argument is easily answerable. He doesn't bother to look at non-radiometric dating techniques which clearly show an earth much older than 30,000 years.

Milton makes numerous claims throughout the book that could be tested and then accepted or rejected using scientific methodologies such as statistics. He doesn't bother to do so, however, even though he claims to be a believer in such methods. For instance on page 51, while bashing geological dating techniques, he states

If all the rejected dates were retrieved from the waste basket and added to the published dates, the combined results would show that the dates produced are the scatter that one would expect by chance alone.
How does he know this? Where is his scatter graph and the underlying data confirming this assertion? Since he claims on the dust jacket to have done "extensive geological research for this book", you'd think that the readers would be presented with his actual research that confirms his assertions. Why didn't his research include a statistical analysis to back up his claim? Instead his "extensive geological research" includes nothing but conjecture and a reliance on other creationists.

In the same chapter, he again uses Cook extensively. Some of the usage will strike those very familiar with Mormonism as almost comical. For Milton slides done the slippery slope of not only supporting Cook's speculations, but those of Mormon prophets from the 19th century. He states on page 52

Yet, as Melvin Cook has pointed out, the Earth may be made of materials that are 4,500 million years old and yet still have been formed relatively recently. Even if dates for meteorites and other celestial bodies such as the Moon and Mars could reliably tell us the age of the materials comprising the solar system, they still cannot tell us when the Earth itself was formed.
The reason Cook stated the above wasn't just to give himself wiggle room in light of the abundant evidence that his critiques of radiometric dating don't hold water. It was to further the belief held by some Mormons which probably started with Joseph Smith when he said, "This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broke up and remodelled (sic) and made into the one on which we live". So although Milton is likely to be ignorant of Cook's reasoning, and although he doesn't claim to be a defender of the biblical or Mormon view himself, he ends up becoming such by relying on what he thought was Cook's science when, in fact, it was really Cook's Mormon apologetics. In order to fit the Mormon doctrine of a 6,000 year old temporal existence of the earth in with obvious fossils and other items on the earth that are older than 6,000 years, Cook followed earlier Mormon speculation which doesn't jive with the evidence. Milton falls into the same trap, unknowingly, by following Cook. He ends up looking more like a Mormon apologist than a member of the Geologists' Association.

Getting back to Milton's straw man for a moment, let's take a look at his quote on page 66

Darwinists reject any geological findings that point to catastrophic rather than gradual formation of rocks, for they threaten to reduce dramatically the historical time scale available for evolutionary processes.
Who are these mystery Darwinists who reject any and every catastrophe in Earth's history? Milton doesn't say. A major portion of the book critiques the (virtually, if not completely, non-existent) view that catastrophes never happen--nor have they happened in the past few billion or so years. Milton makes the (false) assertion that catastrophes invalidate neo-Darwinism. He then spends chapter after chapter pointing out both valid and "invalid" catastrophes of the past. "Invalid" only because there is not nearly enough evidence to fully or partially conclude that all of his catastrophes did in fact occur just as he claims they did. Milton loathes the "uniformitarian model" he has personally created even though it bares little resemblance to the models of geologists who are called uniformitarians by creationists. In other words, much of the book is a waste of time as Milton is merely building a larger and larger straw man to demolish.

Like other critics of Darwin (Denton and Johnson come to mind), Milton misuses scientific terminology. He does so in such a way that non-critical readers will get his message without realizing the incorrect usage of important words they have just fed into their brains. For instance, on page 64 we learn that spontaneous creation (out of nothing) of 45% of the Earth's surface area during the past 10,000 years is a "theory since no one has ever observed or measured" its occurrence. Yet the geological column which has been observed, measured, compared, analyzed, etc. time and time again is merely a "hypothetical sequence" on page 71. You don't have to be an expert on scientific terminology to see the flip-flop he has done here. It is worse than a flip-flop of terms though. The geological column is beyond theory in many aspects and his spontaneous creation is less than a hypothetical.

In Chapter 8, the straw man raises its ugly head yet again. According to Milton's uniformitarians, .2 millimeters of deposits per year are accumulated. (see page 84) Therefore, the complete fossils of iguanodon that have been recovered and were several meters in height violate his uniformitarian theory as they wouldn't have been covered fast enough to fossilize at a .2 millimeter per year rate. And since neo-Darwinists are uniformitarians in his view, neo-Darwinism can't possibly be true.

How to critique Darwinism

At this point I will take a step back from the review and explain to future writers of books aimed at convincing the public that Darwin was wrong what they need to do. As already stated, Milton believes in evolution--or so he says at certain points in the book. Strangely, he spends much of the book trying to disprove evolution. What he claims to focus on--but fails in the delivery--is Darwin's natural selection mechanism for evolution. This is what he doesn't believe in--or perhaps more accurately stated--he doesn't believe such a mechanism to be capable of explaining evolution. Therefore, he, and other authors of his ilk, should spend their writing time devoted to debunking some or all of the following points which make up Darwinism (Milton never clearly defines all of the basic aspects of natural selection):

The probability is 100% that evolution via natural selection will result with the above factors in place. This can be tested in real life situations as well as in computer simulations. (See Evolution or The Blind Watchmaker or this page for some examples.) So for someone to actually "shatter" Darwinism (not evolution), they will need to prove that some of the above factors do not hold true to our natural world. There are, of course, other factors and situations which cause Darwinian mechanisms to operate at faster or slower speeds and with greater or lesser chances of actual speciation events, but those are supplementary to the above basics and not critical for Darwinism to still be true.

Chapter 10 is a case in point for the above. Milton mistakenly goes to great lengths to critique evolution (while calling it Darwinism) even though evolution is supposedly the thing he believes in. He claims that there isn't a single transitional fossil. He specifically, and incorrectly, mentions the complete lack of transitional whale fossils. That was not a good species to pick. Various horse fossils, to him, mean that there were either many different isolated species or one species with immense variety within it--he isn't clear as to which is his belief. The only thing he is clear about is that among the wide range of horse fossils there aren't any he would consider to be "transitionals". He relies on selective quotes from texts produced in the 1950s and 1961 to come to this conclusion instead of more recent studies. His belief carries over with the same foregone conclusion for Archaeopteryx. He makes it sound as if there is only one or two specimens--initially stating there is "one spectacular fossil" before later saying the "two chief specimens" are said to be under lock and key. Actually, there are 7+ specimens. Milton claims that it should be easy for "Darwinists" (he really means evolutionists) to find transitionals if they really exist. What these transitional fossils need to be, in Milton's view, is a series of "progressive" fossils in a set of stratified rock. Since the horse fossils (and others he mentions like ammonites and sea urchins) do contain a series of different fossils, you'd think he'd be convinced. But, no. Since these fossils get bigger and then smaller and change back and forth in other ways over the millennia, they do not qualify. After all, doesn't "progressive" mean bigger and more complex? Don't Darwinists have to believe that evolution is constantly progressive? Milton thinks so. He obviously hasn't read Steven Jay Gould's Full House. Nor does he understand the difference between adaptive and progressive. Darwinists are adaptationists. They only believe in Milton's progress if you redefine it to mean adaptive (which isn't the way Milton uses the term).

Finally, in Chapter 11, do we get to an attempt to critique actual Darwinism (rather than Milton's typical criticism of evolution in general). The critique, however, sounds like it was written by someone who has never stepped out of their house to witness the behaviors, survival skills, and rates of death and sexual reproduction of real organisms. The ignorance of biology and nature are readily apparent to most readers familiar with life. Animals don't compete for resources in Milton's world. Essentially, Milton's contention is that there is little difference in the number of offspring left on an intra- or inter-species basis and this "observation [that some animals survive and prosper while others die out is] of limited value". For obvious reasons, Milton uses no statistics or historical analysis to back up his thesis because in doing so he would show that the differences in offspring left are of an incredibly significant value. Well, here is a statistic for Milton. A heritable characteristic that provides a mere 1% increase in offspring or survival and exists in only 1% of the population will exist in 80% of the population in only 1000 generations--an eye-blink in evolutionary time scales. In addition, he alludes to another Creationist trick to 'disprove' natural selection as a science. Here is the basic line of reasoning:

  • Scientific methodology relies on testing hypotheses.
  • Natural selection can't be tested.
  • Therefore, natural selection is not scientific.

  • What a minute, a Darwinist would say. Artificial selection is a test of natural selection and has been accomplished in numerous cases. Darwin himself used artificial selection to test his theory. Richard Dawkins provides an excellent example of sexual, artificial selection in The Blind Watchmaker (beginning on page 213). Since "artificial" is not "natural" though, Milton doesn't seem to count it as evidence or science. Artificial selection becomes merely an "analogy" (never mind that it is a damn good one) and "tautology".

    Chapter 13 adds insult to injury when it comes to Milton's knowledge, and interpretation of, the biological sciences and biological world we live in. He "tackles" species by basically claiming that since no one can accurately define what a species is, i.e., there are many definitional frameworks, the science behind such a concept is useless. What he fails to see is that "species" is merely a human naming convention, and the fact that concrete definitions are not forthcoming may be yet another evidence for the bushiness of life's evolving tree-like structure. He adds nothing to the discussion in an attempt to clear the air and possibly prove that all species were created at a certain point in time and are not capable of change. Instead he makes silly claims about all dogs being the same since they have all been classified as Canis familiaris. Never mind the fact that most breeds do not breed with each other, look and act very differently, and are in some cases not even physically capable of mating due to genital size differences that have evolved over the years. On pages 144-6 Milton appears to be saying that he believes horses, mules, and asses are all the same species! No wonder it is impossible for him to ever believe in any transitional forms. Any transitional fossils someone may find, or any "living transitionals", will merely be united from multiple species into one species in his mind. He cites Ernst Mayr's classic work on taxonomy but apparently failed to grasp its message. On page 98 Mayr states (and Milton ignores)

    The picture of the species, as presented by the taxonomist, is, however, not necessarily a very accurate rendering of the situation as it exists in nature. It is merely due to the need of the museum worker to identify every individual and to place it in a definite pigeonhole. The species of the taxonomist, is like a jigsaw puzzle, consisting of a certain number of definite, clearly delimited, individual pieces. The species of nature is usually much more complicated, and all the work that we have reviewed indicates that even the infraspecific categories, such as the subspecies, are by no means the final "atoms" of the species.
    Milton's next attack is on the unlikelihood (in his opinion) of chance mutations adding to the varietability of chromosomes. Ironically, he states
    When she wrote that a rose is a rose is a rose, Gertrude Stein must have been unaware that roses exist with 14, 21, 28, 35, and 56 chromosomes. (p. 154)
    No possible explanation of why this might be the case is offered by Milton. Some simple math and basic molecular evolutionary theory would have gone a long way to a plausible explanation. Changing karyotype include fusion (the merging of two or more chromosomes into one), fission, where one or more chromosomes are divided to form multiples of the original chromosomes, and replication of particular chromosomes. So the fact that roses exist with chromosomes in multiples of 7 indicate a likely common ancestor coupled with chromosomal fission--something accounted for by both evolutionary and Darwinian theory.

    I haven't pointed out the vast majority of Milton's contradictory and inconsistent treatments of various topics to this point. However, there is an instance on page 157 that is completely executed within just the first half of a single paragraph so I will quote it here as a clear and concise example.

    No one has ever observed a spontaneous inheritable genetic mutation that resulted in a changed physical characteristic, aside, that is, from a small group of well-known and usually fatal genetic defects. Because no one has ever observed such an event, no one really knows whether they occur at all and, if so, how often.
    So the reader is treated to the assertion that there are "a small group of well-known" genetic mutations while at the same time being told that "no one really knows whether they occur at all". Well, contrary to Milton's second claim, they do occur, are not always fatal (in fact some have proven to be quite beneficial), and reasonable estimates as to their rates are also established in many cases.

    Like Michael Denton, Richard Milton's sources for information are "unique" for a recent publication that is supposed to be scientific. Out of over 200 sources cited in the Bibliography (only a small portion of which are actually referred to in the text) only about 10 are from the 1990s. Many of them are from the 19th century, and the bulk are from pre-1970. The footnoted sections of the book include an array of encyclopedias, dated (sometimes in the extreme) textbooks, and creationist material. As mentioned above, Melvin Cook is, by far, his favorite source of information. Recent publications are rarely cited, and when they are, the selections are out of context and omit the overall argument presented. For instance, when he mentions The Blind Watchmaker on page 159 he says that Paley can be easily refuted and highly improbable events are not necessarily impossible. What he fails to mention is how Paley is refuted by Dawkins and how events that creationists deem "highly improbable" are actually, not only possible but, probable--dare I say inevitable--given the forces of cumulative natural selection that Dawkins discusses. In other words, Milton's description of Dawkins makes Dawkins look like a cheap apologist without much to go on when such is the not the case when Dawkins is actually read.

    Chapter 16 relies completely on the flawed analysis of Michael Denton's earlier anti-evolution writings. Denton was a former anti-evolutionist who now believes in Darwinian evolution, albeit a guided-by-god version. Milton claims that Denton is a molecular biologist, but I find this hard to believe given that the molecular portion of his first book was more error prone than the rest. I believe I read somewhere that Denton is a family physician.

    Chapter 17, entitled "Paradigm Lost", falls prey to the "fallacy from Kuhn". Milton has either not read Kuhn and merely heard about Kuhn's ideas, or he has forgotten much of the content. For Kuhn specifically stated that in order for a paradigm shift to occur, an old theory must not only be critiqued but a better theory which more accurately describes the facts must be presented. Milton presents no new theory. He brings up many old ones which have been discredited for good reasons and which are themselves sometimes mutually contradictory. He asserts that one need not provide a better theory to shatter Darwinism and claims he shouldn't be criticized for offering nothing new. He has no new theory, with evidence to support it, for us to investigate.

    The sources are used without questioning their assumptions or explanation as to why the given source is the best source to use. Milton will use mathematicians when it comes to an issue of biology in order to derive the answer he seeks rather than the most correct one. For instance, since one source says water appeared on earth 3.8 billion years ago and another says early organic life can be found in rocks 3.8 billion years old then biogenesis had -0- time to occur and must therefore be false. Never mind the fact that he previously and later states that "scientific" dating can't be trusted and the fact that the book is supposed to critique Darwinism and not biogenesis.

    Part four of the book entitled "Creation" doesn't get any better. Milton, again, critiques evolution even though the book is supposed to critique Darwin and he is supposed to believe in evolution. He claims that there are no hominid transitionals. He gets numerous facts wrong in the story of Eugene Dubois (p. 197)--preferring to stick with the creationist version rather than the true story. Milton deceptively quotes words of Richard Leakey (p. 201) which were made prior to the Turkana Boy discovery--making no mention of the latter find even though Leakey published articles and a book on the subject before both editions of this work of Milton's.

    On page 199, Milton puts forth a sly paragraph designed to make it look like there are no links in the fossil record between the ancestors of chimpanzees and humans to those who don't read his words very carefully.

    The position today is that all the fossil remains which were previously assigned some intermediate status between apes and humans have later been definitely reassigned into the categories of either extinct ape or human, and this reassignment has been accepted by all but the most fanatical devotees of this or that fossil.
    On first reading, I thought he was blatantly lying. Then I thought about his usage of the word "extinct" and it came to me how clever his word usage is. Since he classifies all the transitionals (which he denies in numerous places) as extinct apes, he can say that all the intermediates were dead ends. In effect, he is turning himself into a creationist insofar as the human species is concerned. The only thing that is clear is that when he says he is a believer in evolution while at the same time denying it, he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

    In the very next chapter he claims to believe in evolution. The only problem for him is that the mechanism is unknown. He believes it certainly has nothing to do with Darwinism. Contenders for the mechanism that are paraded around include Lamarckism, macro-mutational jumps, and aliens. Milton won't commit to any or all of them.

    In Chapter 20 the reader is finally treated to Milton's "theory"--or rather, his god. (Actually, it is more of a vague hypothesis--one of several he throws out but doesn't really toss much backing behind.) It is the god of "global program control" who mysteriously creates and controls everything that Milton doesn't understand. This "global supervisory function" turns out to be yet another god-of-the-gaps theory. Milton's god was careful to evolve marsupials similar to mammals on different continents only to let them later go extinct.

    Also in Chapter 20, we see Milton's previous skepticism disappear. While observed and repeatable Darwinian principles remain a fantasy to Milton, the mind carrying out "morphogenetic action at a distance" becomes "conceivable" without a bit of evidence. He goes on to confuse the micro and macro world hinting that the key to finding the true cause of evolution lies in quantum mechanics.

    Conspicuous by their absence are critiques of some of neo-Darwinism's most robust evidence. To "shatter" a scientific theory you have to dismantle all the lines of evidence pointing to it. At the very least you have to show why the items that still might point towards Darwinian theory can also be explained by other causes or theories. Milton makes no such attempt. He omits discussion of sexual selection, patterns of DNA, pseudo-genes, ring species, geographically isolated or removed subspecies, and numerous other evidences which have been dealt with around the time or before the time Milton wrote his book.

    In Chapter 22, Milton performs the typical creationist attack on the evolution of the eye--forgetting, once again, that he believes in evolution. He concludes the "assault" with the assertion that if Darwinists are correct "we should expect to find creatures with eyes... on the flanks or the base of the spine... today or as fossils." (p. 248) He seems to have forgotten that it is more efficient for eyes to form and evolve near brains and that we don't find eyes in the fossil record for fairly obvious reasons.

    On page 251, Richard Goldschmidt's 1940 "challenge" is quoted. Darwinists are asked to explain how natural selection can account for a variety of items such as teeth, shells (even though currently living species alone display a wide variety of shells which vary in size, substance, thickness, etc.), hair (ditto the shell remarks--more hair offers protection in colder climates, etc.), and feathers. Milton claims that no Darwinist that he is aware of has tried to explain such features and answer Goldschmidt (who was a macromutationist/lamarckian). Apparently, Milton just hasn't bothered to look (again) because explanations exist for most, if not all, of Goldschmidt's "challenges". Milton also claims that Goldschmidt is taken "a great deal more seriously today". "By whom?" the reader should ask. A quick internet search will show that Goldschmidt is most admired by creationists (even though Goldschmidt was an evolutionist--not a creationist).

    Near the end, Milton proudly takes credit for his role in The Mysterious Origins of Man--a TV production aimed at creationists and New Agers who want someone who claims to be a scientist to back up their beliefs (even when many of the theories presented directly conflict with some of their beliefs--in essence, they just want someone to bash science). Basically, Milton seems to want to be a renegade who can feed off of those who aren't pleased with "the establishment".

    Just a couple more things to point out before I close... Stephen Jay Gould is incorrectly called a Darwinian defector on page 213. Milton claims on page 202 that "Neanderthal man is classified as a member of the species Homo sapiens and any of us could be among his descendants." Technically speaking Neanderthal man is classified as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and it is not generally believed that any of us could be a direct descendant.

    In summary, Milton falls woefully short of the title's claim. It would take a book longer than the one Milton wrote to fully debunk and analyze his errors. I have merely scratched the surface in this too-brief review. He is unfocused, unclear, and hypocritical. He offers no alternative theory, doesn't adequately do away with any aspect or aspects of neo-Darwinism, and his fact gathering skills need work. Milton flaunts his Mensa and Geologist Association memberships in an attempt to get people to appeal to his "authority" while he ignores the crucial evidence found and disseminated by those who really are authorities in the field.

    from the publisher:
    Compelling evidence that the most important assumptions on which Darwinism rests are wrong.

    The controversial best-seller that sent Oxford University and Nature magazine into a frenzy has at last come to the United States. Shattering the Myths of Darwinism exposes the gaping holes in an ideology that has reigned unchallenged over the scientific world for a century. Darwinism is considered to be hard fact, the only acceptable explanation for the formation of life on Earth, but with keen insight and objectivity Richard Milton reveals that the theory totters atop a shambles of outdated and circumstantial evidence which in any less controversial field would have been questioned long ago. Sticking to the facts at hand and tackling a vast array of topics, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism offers compelling evidence that the theory of evolution has become an act of faith rather than a functioning science, and that not until the scientific method is applied to it and the right questions are asked will we ever get the true answers to the mystery of life on Earth.

    Richard Milton is a science journalist and design engineer based in London. He is a member of Mensa, the international high-IQ society, and writes a column for Mensa Magazine. He has been a member of the Geologists' Association for twenty years, and did extensive geological research for this book. He has been featured on the BBC, NBC, and other television networks. He is also the author of Alternative Science.

    Richard Dawkins' commentary on previous version of this book.