Humes in huff over WSJ book review of "Monkey Girl"
Shame on the Wall Street Journal for publishing a review of Monkey Girl this week without revealing that the reviewer is a partisan anti-evolutionist.
Well, Ed, the Los Angeles Times published your op-ed "Dumbing down evolution to kill it" without revealing that you are a partisan pro-evolutionist. You were identified only as an author whose most recent work is "Monkey Girl."
Most of Humes' complaints about the book review are ad hominem attacks against the author, Pamela Winnick. He specifically criticizes only one statement in the review:
As she has done in the past, Winnick mischaracterizes Charles Darwin's theory as "the godless and random forces of natural selection that render the human species a mere accident of nature."
Winnick did make an error here: the random forces are in mutations, not natural selection.
Despite Humes' unmitigated condemnation of the book review, the review is in places supportive of Humes' views. For example, the review says,
During the trial, the plaintiffs' lawyers -- supplied by a prestigious Philadelphia law firm and the ACLU -- made monkeys of the school board's witnesses. Even Michael Behe of Lehigh University, a professor of biochemistry and one of ID's leading advocates, came off badly. He handled himself well enough on direct examination but crumbled on cross when he finally admitted that his book "Darwin's Black Box"--in which he argued that cellular structures are irreducibly complex in ways that natural selection cannot explain--did not undergo peer review. Other ID luminaries, like William Dembski, refused to testify, feeling at odds with the school board's actions.
BTW, the official reason for the withdrawal of Dembski and two others as defense expert witnesses is that the Thomas More Law Center, the defense counsel, would not allow them to have their own attorneys present during depositions.
The review also says,
Judge Jones decided -- appropriately, in light of the facts -- that the school board's statement about what should be taught in biology classes was motivated by religion and did not belong in the public schools.
Even many critics of the Dover decision concede that under the infamous Lemon test, Jones was obligated to rule against the defendants because of the blatant religious motivations of some of the school board members.
While I am at it, I would like to make some more comments about th WSJ review. The review said,
Humes did score one big interview, with Judge Jones himself. The judge is thoughtful, but the interview is inappropriate. Most judges feel ethically compelled to refrain from public comment on cases that have come before them.
Well, Judge Jones did not feel thus "ethically compelled." Despite his false claim to the contrary, Jones has made a lot of direct public comments about the specifics of the Dover case. His radio interview of nearly an hour around March 22 contains many such comments. And his commencement speech at Dickinson College gave an interpretation of the establishment clause that showed great hostility towards organized religions by essentially saying that they are not "true" religions -- that this speech did not raise more eyebrows is astonishing.
BTW, I don't think that it is necessarily frowned upon for judges to make out-of-court public statements defending their decisions. Supreme Court Justice Stevens made some public comments in defense of his majority opinion in the unpopular Kelo v. New London eminent domain decision.
The review said,
Mr. Humes claims that the Vatican has unequivocally embraced Darwin.
Prominent Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the chief editor of the Catholic catechism, said in a recent speech that he wants to correct what he calls a widespread misconception that the Catholic Church has given a blanket endorsement to Darwin's theories.
As apparently only the second book that is primarily about the Dover case (the Discovery Institute's "Traipsing Into Evolution" was probably the first) and apparently the first such book of its type, "Monkey Girl" has attracted a lot of attention. As Humes notes on his blog, it was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review. As just an unreviewed decision of a single judge, the Dover decision has arguably gotten more attention than it deserves.
To Humes' credit, his link list in the right-hand sidebar of his blog "Monkey Girl" includes a link to the Discovery Institute's Evolution News & Views, which has been very critical of him and the book. BTW, IMO the DI's Casey Luskin's refusal to grant a full interview to Humes was narrow-minded, irresponsible and unfair to Humes.