About the Author:
British University professor Neil Thomas was a committed Darwinist and agnostic—until an investigation of evolutionary theory led him to a startling conclusion: “I had been conned!” As he studied the work of Darwin’s defenders, he found himself encountering tactics eerily similar to the methods of political brainwashing he had studied as a scholar. Thomas felt impelled to write a book as a sort of warning call to humanity: “Beware! You have been fooled!” The result is Taking Leave of Darwin, a wide-ranging history of the evolution debate. Thomas uncovers many formidable Darwin opponents that most people know nothing about, ably distils crucial objections raised early and late against Darwinism, and shows that those objections have been explained away but never effectively answered. Thomas’s deeply personal conclusion? Intelligent design is not only possible but, indeed, is presently the most reasonable explanation for the origin of life’s great diversity of forms.
Neil Thomas is a Reader Emeritus in the University of Durham, England and a longtime member of the British Rationalist Association. He studied Classical Studies and European Languages at the universities of Oxford, Munich and Cardiff before taking up his post in the German section of the School of European Languages and Literatures at Durham University in 1976. There his teaching involved a broad spectrum of specialisms including Germanic philology, medieval literature, the literature and philosophy of the Enlightenment and modern German history and literature. He also taught modules on the propagandist use of the German language used both by the Nazis and by the functionaries of the old German Democratic Republic. He published over 40 articles in a number of refereed journals and a half dozen single-authored books, the last of which were Reading the Nibelungenlied (1995), Diu Crone and the Medieval Arthurian Cycle (2002) and Wirnt von Gravenberg’s ‘Wigalois’. Intertextuality and Interpretation (2005). He also edited a number of volumes including Myth and its Legacy in European Literature (1996) and German Studies at the Millennium (1999). He was the British Brach President of the International Arthurian Society (2002-5) and remains a member of a number of learned societies.
A brilliantly synoptic, dispassionate overview of the controversies that have swirled around Darwin’s theory of evolutionary transformation over the past 160 years. The more that science has progressed, argues Neil Thomas, the greater the dissonance between Darwinism’s simplistic mechanism and the inscrutable complexities of life it seeks to explain. Thomas’s open-minded interrogation of the implications for our understanding of ourselves and our world is masterly and persuasive.
-James Le Fanu, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Taking Leave of Darwin bristles with righteous indignation. Retired British humanities professor and lifelong rationalist Neil Thomas believed the confident claims for Darwinism. Now he knows better. Writing in elegant, erudite prose, Thomas excoriates those who have robbed people of their right to grapple with our mysterious universe as best they can. I highly recommend the book.
-Michael J. Behe, Lehigh University Professor of Biological Sciences and author of Darwin’s Black Box
Professor Neil Thomas has written a brief, courageous, spirited, and lucid book. It shows the commendable willingness of a committed agnostic intellectual to change his mind about Darwinism, the great contemporary sacred cow, in the face of the large, accumulating body of new evidence against it and also to avail himself of the insights and arguments of intelligent critics of it since the very beginning and across 160 years-including Sedgwick, Mivart, Butler, A.R. Wallace, Agassiz, Max Muller, Kellogg, Dewar, Jacques Barzun, and Gertrude Himmelfarb. His intelligent, non-specialist survey of the contemporary state of the question is enriched by references to the insights of the distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel and the MD and award-winning science writer James Le Fanu, and by a quite moving rationalist commitment to “follow the argument where it leads,” however unexpected and uncomfortable this loyalty to logic and truth has made him. He provides a gratifying and illuminating case study in intellectual courage.
-M.D. Aeschliman, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, author of The Restoration of Man: C.S. Lewis and the Continuing Case Against Scientism