Jonathan Wells
Jonathan Wells Jonathan Wells is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. He holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California-Berkeley and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. His books include Icons of Evolution (2000), The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (2006), and The Myth of Junk DNA (2011). He has published peer-reviewed articles in many journals, including Development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, BioSystems, The Scientist and The American Biology Teacher.
  • Misrepresenting the Galapagos Finches According to the online critique of Explore Evolution by the National Center for Science Education: (A) EE claims that natural selection produced only oscillations in beak size in Galápagos finches, but “in the course of a few years, the size changes within species were large enough to explain the differences among the various species of Galápagos finches,” and “the size and shape of finch beaks did change over the course of the 30 years that biologists have been studying the populations.” [1] (B) EE claims that Galápagos finch species are merging rather than diversifying, but “the hybridization observed in the finches is not enough to merge two species, and observations in the field have actually shown substantial evidence of incipient Read More › February 23, 2009
  • Haeckel, Darwin, and Textbooks According to the online critique of Explore Evolution by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE): (A) EE falsely claims that Darwin accepted Ernst Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” In particular, the claim in EE that “Darwin thought that the observable similarities in different embryos revealed what the ancestors to these organisms would have looked like” [p. 66 of EE] “contradicts the majority view of prominent Darwin scholars (including Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, David Hull, and Peter Bowler).” [1] (B) EE “falsely asserts Darwin thought the similarities between embryos were greater at the earliest stages of development,” and falsely suggests “that common descent and Haeckel’s Biogenetic Law require that the earliest stages of animal development are most Read More › February 23, 2009
  • The Problem of Evidence If it isn’t testable, it isn’t science. The present controversy over evolution is often portrayed as the latest battle in a centuries-old war between science and religion. According to this stereotype, Darwin’s theory was a milestone in scientific progress, based on evidence that is now overwhelming, and its principal opponents were–and still are–religious fundamentalists committed to a literal interpretation of Genesis chronology. That stereotype, however, is false. First, the “warfare” metaphor is historically inaccurate. With rare exceptions, such as the Galileo affair, science and religion got along just fine before Darwin. Second, the problem is not “evolution”–which means many things–but rather Darwin’s theory that all living things are descendants of a common ancestor that have been modified by random variations ... February 5, 2009
  • Darwin’s Straw God Argument Charles Darwin called The Origin of Species “one long argument.” The whole point of it was to show that living things are not special creations, but modified descendants of common ancestors. Although The Origin of Species listed many facts from nature, Darwin’s argument was basically theological, and it took this general form: The facts of nature are “inexplicable on the theory of creation,” but make sense on the theory of descent with modification. By “the theory of creation,” Darwin did not mean “creation within the past few thousand years.” Young-earth creationism was not the issue. The issue was whether a creator was necessary — after the origin of life itself — to explain the features we see in living things. Read More › December 31, 2008
  • The Design of Life About the Book The power of Darwinian evolution on the modern mind lies mainly in its contention that natural selection can account for the appearance of design without a designer. In this comprehensive overview of intelligent design (ID) in biology, mathematician William Dembski and biologist Jonathan Wells make a compelling case that design in biology is real, not an illusion. Dembski and Wells offer clear, direct, and readable discussions drawn from current science research. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the status of the ID versus Darwin debate. This book is published under the imprint of FTE Books. About the Authors William A. Dembski is a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and a Senior Research Read More › September 5, 2008
  • Is the “Science” of Richard Dawkins Science Fiction? Atheist Richard Dawkins is hopping mad at the makers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Dawkins accuses the filmmakers of “lying for Jesus” because they make it seem that he believes in intelligent design and space aliens. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID). In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins defined biology as “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Design is only an appearance, because (as the subtitle of the book indicated) “the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design.” According to Dawkins, evolution shows that the universe and everything in it can be explained by undirected natural processes such as random mutation and survival of Read More › April 21, 2008
  • Darwin of the Gaps On June 26, 2000, President Bill Clinton announced the completion of the Human Genome Project, which had just deciphered the sequence of DNA in a human cell. “Today,” he said, “we are learning the language in which God created life.” At the president’s side was Francis Collins, director of the project, who had helped to write Clinton’s speech. “It is humbling and awe-inspiring,” Collins said, “to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.” As its subtitle indicates, The Language of God presents evidence for Christian belief. Curiously, however, that evidence does not include DNA, which according to Collins provides “compelling” evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution instead. In the Read More › March 26, 2008
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design Darwinism — like Marxism and Freudianism before it — is headed for extinction. In the 1925 Scopes trial, the American Civil Liberties Union sued to allow the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools. Seventy-five years later, in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the ACLU sued to prevent the teaching of an alternative to Darwin’s theory known as “Intelligent Design” — and won. Why did the ACLU turn from defending the free-speech rights of Darwinists to silencing their opponents? Jonathan Wells reveals that, for today’s Darwinists, there may be no other choice: unable to fend off growing challenges from scientists, or to compete with rival theories better adapted to the latest evidence, Darwinism — like Marxism and Freudianism before it Read More › August 21, 2006
  • Survival of the Fakest [Originally appeared in the The American Spectator – December 2000/January 2001. PDF Version.] If you had asked me during my years studying science at Berkeley whether or not I believed what I read in my science textbooks, I would have responded much as any of my fellow students: puzzled that such a question would be asked in the first place. One might find tiny errors, of course, typos and misprints. And science is always discovering new things. But I believed — took it as a given — that my science textbooks represented the best scientific knowledge available at that time. It was only when I was finishing my Ph.D. in cell and development biology, however, that I noticed what at first Read More › January 1, 2001
  • Icons of Evolution Written by developmental biologist Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution has become a modern classic. Taking aim at 10 common “icons” used to bolster Darwin’s theory in widely used biology textbooks, Wells shows how they turn out to be scientific urban legends, long-refuted fakes, or misrepresentations of the scientific data. Wells’ book spurred revisions to a number of biology textbooks, and it has been translated into Polish, Czech, Chinese, and Japanese. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how high school biology textbooks present modern Darwinian theory, and particularly for anyone planning to teach evolutionary theory. Laden with extensive references to peer-reviewed scientific literature, Icons of Evolution will be impossible for a fair-minded reader to ignore. The Icons The Read More › January 1, 2000