Atheists Aren’t the Only Readers

Those Intelligent Design folks are having a banner year.

Seattle's Discovery Institute, the nonprofit think tank that's become infamous locally and in national media for fomenting the anti-Darwin "intelligent design" movement, is crowing about a successful year in selling (literally) its ideas.Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, published in June by Discovery Fellow Stephen Meyer, has cracked Amazon's list of top-10 science books of 2009. The list is ranked by customer orders through October.But the news isn't all good for Discovery. Jerry A. Coyne's Why Evolution Is True is holding down the #5 spot. Robert Wright's The Evolution of God (which argues that a divine being is basically a notion we've evolved to believe in) is at #4. And Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution is a strong #2. Darwin himself, with countless editions available of his 150-year-old On the Origin of Species, is outselling them all (though the Amazon best-seller list is limited to books published in '09).Still, holding the #10 slot is not half-bad. Especially for a book that, according to Amazon reviewers, can be enjoyed even by readers with a "relatively weak background" in biochemistry and statistics. (For the record, no biochemistry is required to appreciate science book #9—The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik.)A graduate of Whitworth College in Spokane, Meyer is perhaps best known for having managed to place a pro-ID article in a peer-reviewed biological journal several years ago—an event that resulted in many calls for the sacking of the peer who did the reviewing. Scientists seem equally unimpressed with Meyer's latest work, which argues that the complex coding in our DNA "points powerfully to a designing intelligence." Following a recent appearance by Meyer at the University of Oklahoma, his views were summed up by one commentator as follows:1) This shit [i.e., biology] is confusing2) ???3) GOD DID IT!Meanwhile, Meyer has become a favorite guest on Dennis Miller's radio show; on Dec. 2, he'll be in the studio with the neocon comedian for a full hour. Meyer has not had equal luck getting Richard Dawkins to engage in a debate.

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