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Nothing ‘Pseudo’ about Text’s Science

Letter to the Editor Original Article

THE AUTHORS and I are puzzled by Sally Lehrman’s characterization of the Discovery Institute’s biology textbook “Explore Evolution” as “pseudoscience” in her Aug. 9 op-ed “Understanding evolution is crucial to debate.” After all, we describe the main evolutionary mechanism much as Lehrman herself does as “natural selection acting on random mutations.” We also explain evidence and arguments for the creative power of this mechanism, basing our treatment on current and classical sources in evolutionary biology. How is that pseudoscience? Perhaps Lehrman judges our book pseudoscience because we also describe current scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory. Perhaps she is unaware that skepticism about the creative power of natural selection and random mutation is common in peer-reviewed scientific literature and in the scientific community. No less an authority than the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences published a recent paper stating: “Natural selection based solely on mutation is probably not an adequate mechanism for evolving complexity.”

“Explore Evolution” not only tells students about such skepticism, but offers the evidential basis for it. But it does so alongside a thorough discussion of the strengths of evolutionary theory. That isn’t pseudoscience, that’s good science education.

Senior Research Fellow
Discovery Institute

Stephen C. Meyer

Director, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He is author of the New York Times-bestseller Darwin’s Doubt (2013) as well as the book Signature in the Cell (2009) and The Return of the God Hypothesis (2021). In 2004, Meyer ignited a firestorm of media and scientific controversy when a biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published his peer-reviewed scientific article advancing intelligent design. Meyer has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBS's Sunday Morning, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, Good Morning America, Nightline, FOX News Live, and the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top-national media.