Amazing news from Evolution News about the new book on the Cambrian explosion by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer.
Judging the success of an idea in reaching and convincing a large audience is a tricky business. In putting your case to the public in books and articles, are you making progress, just holding steady, or losing ground to competitors? What you want is a solid, unambiguous metric. Hmm, as a measure of success in getting a particular argument before a large chunk of the thoughtful, book-reading public, how does a spot on the New York Times bestseller list sound?
That would do nicely. And in fact it is just what we are very pleased to report. As careful readers will already have discerned from the headline, Stephen Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, will debut this coming Sunday in the #7 place on the New York Times hardback nonfiction list. See it here.
[...]You’ll also see the book opening at #10 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Find it here.
[...]We attribute these indications of really impressive progress to the scientific, philosophical and yes, cultural and even spiritual importance of Dr. Meyer’s book, the unprecedented rigor and scope of his argument, combined with a lucidly accessible style that bestselling novelist Dean Koontz has praised, saying that Meyer “writes beautifully” and “marshals complex information as well as any writer I’ve read.”
It doesn’t hurt either that this broadly interdisciplinary book has won accolades from scientists representing a variety of relevant fields, including Harvard geneticist George Church, Mt. Holyoke paleontologist Mark McMenamin, State University of New York biologist Scott Turner, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research biologist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, and others, scientists whose own works are published by sources like Harvard University Press and Columbia University Press.
Excitement from the media has also played a role in getting out the word. Dr. Meyer has been on the Michael Medved Show several times, on the Dennis Prager Show, the Dennis Miller Show, and many other national and local talk-radio programs. Not trivial either is the decision by Barnes & Noble to feature the book with in-store displays in 300 of its bookstores across the country, likely due in part to the strong sales record of Meyer’s first book, Signature in the Cell.
The summary from the New York Times bestseller list web page is spot-on: “The theory of intelligent design best explains the appearance of animals in the fossil record without apparent ancestors.” That’s what the book is about, for certain.
Wow. It’s not every day that I link to the New York Times! But this isn’t surprising, considering that Dr. Meyer’s new book is picking up a lot of endorsements from mainstream scientists. Here’s the most recent one, by Dr. Mark C. Biedebach of California State University, Long Beach.
Recall that Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s first book was one of the best books of 2009 according to the Times Literary Supplement.
Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin. The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause. He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.
The person who nominated his first book to that list was non other than atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel. If you haven’t read the first book, get them both and read them both. These are the scientific issues that everyone who is considering theism versus naturalism should be reading about.