I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More Amazon.com reviews of "Monkey Girl"

I previously reported on Amazon.com's first customer review of the book "Monkey Girl" -- now Amazon.com has three more customer reviews.

Reviewer Fm "FM" wrote,
He [author Edward Humes] chooses utterly clownish figures (not that I doubt such figures exist) as the headline representatives of those who question the current orthodoxy, and he brings up "enlightenment" stereotypes of threatening intimidation and oppression by ignorant religious kooks over sensible, rational, modern-type folk. Using reasonably engaging storytelling skills, he sets an underlying tone to these characters that is filled with tendentiousness through and through and blind faith in doctrinaire Darwinism.

Two stars for story telling. Zero for objectivity and factual content on any level.

Reviewer The Professor wrote,
This book purports to be an accurate, balanced account of the Dover trial but is closer to an Inherit the Wind type of mocking parody. It remind me of the early books I have read on the Scopes trial, such as Ray Ginger's Six Days or Forever. Fortunately, we now have the far more accurate and balanced book by Edward Larson titled Summer for the Gods (which was awarded numerous prizes) which cover the Scopes trial. Someone needs to do an accurate book on the Dover Trial as well because this book is irresponsible . . . .This book demonizes one side and will only add fuel to the war that Humes notes goes on without end. I could not see any evidence that any Darwin skeptics reviewed this book for accuracy. All of the book's endorsers are well-known atheists or secularists known for their opposition to those who question orthodox Darwinism.

Reviewer William C. Garthright wrote,
It appears that the "culture wars" are playing out even in these reviews, and it doesn't seem likely that we'll get any neutral observations. I wonder if people who gave it poor reviews even read it. To my mind, "Monkey Girl" is about as fair to both sides as you can get . . . . .

. . . More importantly, perhaps, the writing is superb. I have rarely read a non-fiction book that kept my attention as well as this one. Honestly, I could not put it down. It covers not just the famous Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, but the situation leading up to the trial, including background on the entire evolution-creationism war. I learned a great deal from the book, while being even more greatly entertained by it.

I myself was amused by the buffoonery of some of the Dover school board members. For example, many months after these members voted to adopt the ID policy, they still could not give even the simplest definition of ID -- how was it possible that they were so poorly prepared for testifying at the trial? And I think that a response that former school board member William Buckingham gave to a lawyer's question is a classic -- "I don't know what you said you thought I knew" or something like that. To me that is even funnier than the title of humorist Art Buchwald's book "I think I don't remember," a spoof about shenanigans in government (but of course Buchwald presumably wanted to keep the title as short as possible while getting the point across). I joked that labeling Buckingham as a "hostile witness" implied that he testified while in a straitjacket or while wearing an electric stun belt. But there is a time for humor and a time to be serious, and I don't think that it is serious to stereotype ID supporters as being like these Dover school board members.

From what I have seen so far, I get the overall impression that "Monkey Girl" is well written, entertaining, and informative (within limits), but extremely biased and perhaps poorly documented. The book is obviously very popular and my biggest concern is that people may think that the book contains all that they need to know about the Dover case and I suspect that this is far from the truth. I am especially disturbed that someone who might have helped give more balance to the book, Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, declined to grant Humes a full interview. Also, I am wondering if other Discovery Institute people were interviewed for the book -- they have been the most active and prominent critics of the Dover decision.

I am afraid that this is one book that I will have to buy in order to properly review it (an added bonus if I buy the book from Amazon.com is that I will then become a customer and be able to state my opinions there).

I have switched to the new blogger.com setup and now have a new feature called "labels," which can be used to assign posts to different categories. I now have around 300 posts on this blog and it will take me a long time to label most of them. However, I have already labeled all of my posts about "Monkey Girl," so these can all be seen by clicking on the label below.

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