Expelled: “Intelligent Design” Advocates Gaming the System at Amazon

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William Dembski and Jonathan Wells authored the successor to “Of Pandas and People”, titled “The Design of Life”. The Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) released the book on November 19th. Since then, Dembski has made a point of bragging about five-star reviews on the The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence In Biological Systems Amazon.com website.

But that’s not all that the IDC advocates are doing concerning Amazon. They managed, for a time, to suppress a critical review by a Top 50 Amazon.com reviewer, John Kwok. For those who gave credence to the notion that IDC advocates were serious when they said that they wished to foster discussion and “teach the controversy”, this should be a reminder that actions do sometimes speak louder than words. Abbie Smith at ERV wrote an entertaining treatment of a number of issues involved here.

I’ve published book reviews before, primarily concerning things in the evolution/creation socio-political controversy. My review of Dembski’s “The Design Inference” back in 1999 even got notice in some of the antievolution venues as a serious review.

So on December 6th, I emailed the contact address for the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) and requested a review copy of the new book by William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, “The Design of Life”. I provided my work address at Michigan State University for shipping. So far, neither a review copy of the book nor any correspondence concerning my request has appeared there, nor even a note in email.

But apparently FTE does have a message for those it believes will provide critical reviews of their book: ‘Buy it yourself.’

Of course, not all of the reviews posted in the first month have been as exuberant as those above; some are venomous. We are receiving numerous requests for review copies from people we know intend to try to destroy it. (We do not intentionally send complimentary review copies to these people.) But we are greatly encouraged and delighted by the extremely positive reviews and accolades coming in from highly respected research scientists and science teachers across the country and from overseas.

I will be discussing the book’s contents in the future, probably on a shorter time-frame than Michael Behe’s prospective perspective on being a co-author on the book (testifying to that effect in 2005). But for now, I will just take up the ethical dimension of FTE’s actions here.

Let’s start with a bit from William Dembski’s post about “The Design of Life”’s Amazon page:

William A. Dembski Wrote:

An interesting thing is happening at Amazon.com under the reviews for THE DESIGN OF LIFE (go here). As of this writing, there are nine 5-star reviews and only one 1-star review (from the inimitable John Kwok).

So the relative numbers of positive and negative reviews seems to be of interest to Dembski. But later on, Dembski writes the following in a comment concerning a request from John Kwok to FTE for a review copy:

William A. Dembski Wrote:

Needless to say, FTE did not send Kwok a free review copy.

TDoL was released on November 19, 2007. The following information concerns the reviews at Amazon as they stood early in December.

ISCID Fellow Bruce L. Gordon wrote a review of TDoL giving it 5 stars on November 21, 2007. ISCID was founded by William A. Dembski and is run by William A. Dembski.

Ralph Seelke gave TDoL a 5 star rating on December 5, 2007. Seelke also happens to be a signatory to the Discovery Institute “Dissent from Darwin” list and a co-author of the Discovery Institute’s own antievolution textbook, “Explore Evolution”.

“Darwin Researcher” gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 29, 2007. While DR’s identity is not known, his review predilections are entirely predictable. DR has reviewed a number of books touching on “intelligent design”. All the books that credulously present or promote IDC get 5 star ratings; all the ones that approach IDC critically get 1 star ratings and review titles like “Irresponsible”.

Casey Luskin gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 22, 2007. Luskin is employed by the Discovery Institute and runs an IDC cheerleading website franchise.

Darbesio Eugenio gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 22, 2007. Eugenio runs an IDC cheerleading blog in Italy and writes IDC advocacy articles for sites like ResearchID.org.

Leif Asmark Jensen gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 22, 2007. Jensen is a leading European IDC advocate, according to Wikipedia, and created a petition to protest the adoption of an anti-IDC resolution in Europe.

“Stephen” gave TDoL a 5 star rating on December 4, 2007. Almost all of “Stephen”’s book reviews give each book 5 stars; TDoL appears to be the only IDC related book reviewed by “Stephen”.

Donald Ewert gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 20, 2007. Ewert is a signatory of the Discovery Institute’s “Dissent from Darwin” list and an antievolution advocate, one whom Abbie Smith has taken note of on the ERV weblog.

“Mark” at idnet.com.au gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 20, 2007. Mark is an enthusiastic online IDC cheerleader.

If I’ve done the math right, I get the following spread of days post-release to the posting of the 5 star ratings on Amazon for TDoL: 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 10, 15, 16. Only one of the reviewers does not have a documentable history of either involvement in or advocacy of “intelligent design” creationism. It appears that at least six of the favorable Amazon reviewers had to be working from advance copies of the book.

So the early positive review to negative review disparity is simply yet another instance of IDC advocates “gaming the system”. FTE, as implied by William Dembski’s comments, vetted copy requests, providing courtesy or review copies to known IDC sympathizers, and denying copies to known, or, as the recent FTE note implies, suspected critics.

Now, going beyond the unscholarly way in which FTE is treating requests for courtesy and review copies, there is the issue of IDC advocates putting pressure on Amazon to remove the (then) sole negative review, one written by John Kwok. Part of the argument to remove Kwok’s review was premised on William Dembski’s ability, through FTE, to track all the early copies of TDoL released by FTE, and deny that Kwok could have actually have seen the book. (It does not appear that Kwok had, at the time he wrote his review, seen TDoL. While Amazon has no policy against reviews written by people who have not read the book in question, this does strike me as inappropriate. Kwok’s actions notwithstanding, there is no excuse for the approach taken by FTE and Dembski.)

The attempts to game the system at Amazon appear to be deliberate, endorsed and abetted by FTE management (not just Dembski), and continuing. Denyse O’Leary, conservative commentator and “Uncommon Descent” co-blogger, had the following to say on December 19 about Amazon:

But if you think that the information service that Bill Dembski has provided you here for years - out of his own resources - is worthwhile, go to Amazon and vote up the reviews that sound like the person has actually READ the book. Vote the others down.

Like intelligent design? Hate it? No matter. This is a blow for civilization. Everyone who thinks they have a mind will be better off.

Given the fact that FTE has confessed to a program of restricting information flow, in the form of the book at issue to be read, O’Leary is either a willing part of the conspiracy to game the system at Amazon, or what used to be called a “useful idiot”, unable to recognize that her actions perpetuate a bias deliberately engineered by FTE. I would not expect O’Leary, as the IDC cheerleader her actions paint her as, to stand up to FTE and demand that they act like a responsible publisher of a serious text capable of withstanding critical scrutiny. But I wouldn’t mind being surprised.

Update: PZ Myers gave exposure to O’Leary’s Amazon-packing gambit on Pharyngula, and now the comments in the thread at “Uncommon Descent” are a smorgasbord of irony since the resulting approval numbers at Amazon are not going FTE’s way at all.

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47 Comments

we know intend to try to destroy it. (We do not intentionally send complimentary review copies to these people.)

You mean, you don’t intend to send copies to those who’d actually subject the book to critical review, rather than to praise it without any concern for honesty and truth.

But then again, scammers rarely do.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

“Darwin Researcher” is a sock puppet on Amazon. It’s showed up in reviews on Jonathon Well’s book and Behe’s latest one as well. It was linked to another Amazon identity in one of those comment threads. Immediately after this the information in the profile was changed. I can’t remember the other profile name. It might have been “The Professor” but I’m not positive.

O’Leary has a review up as well. Unsurprisingly, it’s a 5-star review.

So has anybody communicated this to Amazon?

I haven’t. If someone is in contact with Amazon, I’d appreciate it if you’d make them aware of this pattern of deliberate behavior on FTE and Friends’ part.

As long as it sells books, I doubt Amazon will do anything.

Is it just me, or is anyone else reminded of when Scientologists were buying from and then reselling L. Ron Hubbard’s books to bookstores in order to ratchet his lousy novels into the top 10 best sellers’ list?

Not only are reviews now averaging negative check this little piece of info from the web page: Most helpful positive review: 4 of 25 people found the following review helpful:

Most helpful negative review: 1,006 of 1,163 people found the following review helpful:

Ian said: “O’Leary has a review up as well. Unsurprisingly, it’s a 5-star review.”

O’Leary’s review just got removed. I personally reported it to Amazon as inappropriate. She not only reviewed the manuscript of Design Of Life, but wrote the index and some of the end notes too, so this was a clear conflict of interest particularly since she wasn’t forthcoming in her review about her contribution. And this is not the first time she has tried something like this - she tried to post a 5-star review on her own book on ‘behalf’ of a friend until that was also removed. o

Of course, the Defenders of Truth and Light are gaming it right back: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]php#comments

I suppose that’s a fair response, but it doesn’t leave us much room to talk.

I have mixed feelings on this. Do you have any evidence for Kwok not having read the book at the time of the review? As one of the top reviewers on Amazon, our community does take it seriously. Certainly, Amazon has no explicit policy on it, but it *is* frowned on- unless there’s good reason for it.

For myself, I had good reason for it. I reviewed Darwin Strikes Back without having read it. However, I was explicit that I was rating it and reviewing it to give readers an understanding of what the book was about. I had just bought the book, under the impression it was an unbiased rendition of the history of the Intelligent Design and Literal Creationism movements. It wasn’t- it was highly pro-ID, and I put the book away after a few pages and returned it. The problem was, at the time, the official Amazon editorial description made it seem as if it was unbiased. So I explicitely detailed that my reason for reviewing the book was not it was not what one would think it was, and didn’t say anything else about the book. Anyone buying the book based on what Amazon said would be disappointed. When Amazon corrected the error, to indicate the book was truly pro-ID, I removed my review.

The postscript to this- I recently found out my former director at the school I used to teach at, the one who was pro-ID and began mandatory classes in ID that lead me to the decision to leave teaching there- has been spreading the word around the school that I review pro-ID books, give them bad reviews, without reading them!

I’ve reviewed three pro-ID books (Behe and Denton’s most famous works), including Darwin Strikes Back. The other two I read, and the reviews were so in-depth that one could not reasonably conclude I had not read them. I did a stastical analysis of Denton’s reference dates in Theory in Crisis to show how old the book was. As I said, the third book was explicitly not read but indicated one shouldn’t buy the book only if you thought it was about what Amazon said. And yet my former director sought to besmirch my integrity by claiming that my reviews of pro-ID books were done without reading them.

It would appear that the DI practices around Amazon and reviews extend down to the lowest trenches of their movement. I think those following ID don’t knowingly begin by lying (as do the leaders), but become progressively influenced by what they read and see, till they no longer know what is ethical and what isn’t.

If you are into relativism and think tu quoque isn’t fallacious, then what the Pharyngula reader base is doing makes a difference as to how you evaluate FTE. Otherwise, FTE’s actions can be evaluated without reference to whatever bad behavior those opposing them might be indulging in. You’ll notice that I don’t excuse Kwok’s apparent review-without-reading, but I don’t find that to give FTE a green light for suppression of critical commentary.

Wesley- I’m cross-posting your excellent article to the Amazon DB, where it should perhaps gain some notice from the Amazonian Powers That Be.

Whoops. Meant to include the link.

Does anyone have any numbers regarding how many copies have been sold?

I’m basing my statements on Kwok’s review on the exchange that occurred in comments on his Amazon review of TDoL. While nothing there could be said to have been a slam-dunk for either side, the problem is that it should have been a slam-dunk for Kwok, and wasn’t. I tried to correspond directly with Kwok on the issue earlier this month, but he has not returned my email.

Wesley R. Elsberry said:

“Leif Asmark Jensen gave TDoL a 5 star rating on November 22, 2007. Jensen is a leading European IDC advocate, according to Wikipedia, and created a petition to protest the adoption of an anti-IDC resolution in Europe.”

LOL. Jensen may be one of the leading ID bloggers in Denmark, but you claimed that he was leading European ID advocate. (According to Wikipedia he is leading ID voice in Denmark, or something). I googled his name + “intelligent design” (“Leif Asmark Jensen” “intelligent design”) and Google found 63 results.

I see the 3rd comment down is Kwok saying that he did indeed read the book. Within the world of Amazon reviewing, I think that’s good enough for me. The burden then is on the other guys to prove that Kwok not only disagreed with it, but didn’t read it.

The funny part is this book is going to tank and the DI and Dipski are going to blame the “darwinists” for the lack of sales.

Bad sales numbers will be the evidence given by the losers at the DI for the darwin conspiracy.

There were obviously hostile “reviewers” of our book, Why Intelligent Design Fails that had never seen a copy. I seem to recall that one such even boasted that they had not. The recent hostile reviews of WIDF seem informed merely by the Amazon.com “look inside” feature.

There really cannot be much credibility given the “star” ratings, but rather attention paid the content and apparent quality of the review itself.

The FTE letter I linked to brags that Amazon ordered another 90 copies of the book from them. This is not the world of high-volume trade sales.

I notice the ID token moonie is not getting much coverage, no one seems to be mentioning him in the reviews. Has he become a non-person? Or maybe Dembski is such a huge IDiot all others pale in comparison.

I spoke too soon. Reading the comments below Kwok’s review more, it does appear that there is reason to question if Kwok read the book.

But I agree with you, that the DI is out of line. They are bragging about the positive reviews they are receiving. That’s fine. They also sent out books to people they like ahead of time. They’re welcome to do that, although it wouldn’t be as ethical. But when you put those two together, it becomes highly inappropriate, in the publishing world. Not to mention their attempt to vote-bomb positive reviews on the site, in flagrant violation of Amazon guidelines.

If I were FTE, and I’d seen how you guys tore Explore Evolution apart page-by-page, I’d probably be dodging your requests for a review copy as well ;-)

Wesley,

I teach science at a Bay Area high school. Do you think they would send me a review copy? I could then send it to you.

What do you think?

Don’t worry about me getting one. That will happen.

If you are interested in reviewing it yourself, though, please do so. Get in touch with me if you’d like your review to be posted. I can at least put it up on my personal blog, and can check with the rest of the crew here concerning a guest contribution.

“Tags customers associate with this product breathtaking inanity (67)”

Leif Asmark Jensen is a Danish Hare Krishna IDiot. He has translated Cremo & Thompsons “Forbidden Archeology” into Danish, but I doubt that many European creationists have ever heard about him.

I’m confused. I thought that “Explore Evolution” was supposed to be the successor of “Pandas.” What is the difference between it and “The Design of Life”? Is it that the latter is not targeted to public high schools, now that the DI favors the design-free phony “critical analysis” approach?

Reed A. Cartwright said: As long as it sells books, I doubt Amazon will do anything.

Comment #138247 on December 20, 2007 3:10 PM | Quote

I agree, I think Amazon is more interested in selling books that getting involved in controversy. Dave Briggs :~)

Boosterz: “Darwin Researcher” is a sock puppet on Amazon. It was linked to another Amazon identity in one of those comment threads. Immediately after this the information in the profile was changed. …the other profile name might have been “The Professor” but I’m not positive.

“The Professor” is the degree-collecting YEC, Jerry Bergman.

Can you believe it, Dembski is touting the following

I’ve been talking with the producers of EXPELLED (www.expelledthemovie.com) about making this book a companion volume to Ben Stein’s film.* Thanks PZ Myers, Wesley Elsberry, Peter Irons, and others for strengthening my hand in these negotiations.

I’d love to see Dembski’s book as a companion volume, after all the movie seems quite honest about the issues surrounding Intelligent Design, exposing how ID is nothing more than a religious motivated movement lacking much if any scientific content.

PZ is correct, Dembski is so much fun when he gets defensive.

If Dembski thinks that reading my essay above makes him look better to someone, he must have a really dim view of the subject’s cognitive capabilities.

“Explore Evolution” is the non-OPaP derived textbook that is supposed to be all “critical analysis” and no “intelligent design”. Unfortunately for the DI, all the arguments it musters have been seen before.

“The Design of Life” does follow after OPaP, and apparently still pushes “intelligent design”, like the corpse in “Weekend at Bernie’s”. Dembski claims to have made it bullet-proof; amusingly, the FTE back around 1983 made much the same claim about OPaP itself.

Thanks, Wesley.

Although I’m still convinced that the DI cares more about spreading its propaganda through the media (including their websites and book stores) than public schools, it seems like from now on, when it comes to public schools, they’d peddle only EE and act like TDoL doesn’t exist. Then again, after Dover I can’t imagine that they’d seriously still pretend that anything they peddle doesn’t have some link to “cdesign proponentsists.”

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your support. I thought it was more important to emphasize my “dialogue” via e-mail with Behe, and especially, Dembski, in my review of the Dembski and Wells book, than to do a blow by blow “dissection” of it (I had done already a systematic “skewering” of Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution” at Amazon.com, for which I did receive a review copy from his publisher, Simon and Schuster.). Indeed, as a former paleobiologist, I am stunned by how much Chapter Three of “The Design of Life” misses so much important details with regards to the fossil record, such as the Permo-Triassic and K-T mass extinctions.

I had to compel Dembski to have my Amazon.com review of “The Design of Life” reinstated, or else he would have suffered some dire consequences from me (I’ve posted a copy of my ultimatum e-mail in one of the last comments posted after my Amazon.com review.). Unfortunately he refuses to admit that I issued him an ultimatum.

I was in the hospital the weekend of December 7th, which explains why some of you may not have been able to reach me (Though I am surprised that I didn’t receive an e-mail from Wes Elsberry.).

Hope you shall encourage others to vote accordingly on both of my reviews of “The Design of Life” and “The Edge of Evolution” at Amazon.com.

Appreciatively yours,

John Kwok

I’m surprised, too. I sent it on December 7th.

You guys are probably doing the Discovery Institute’s dirty work. They know that the acknowledged successor to Pandas and People is death to any creationist rube that wants to use it for the obfuscation scam that they are currently running. The FTE association is enough to kill it, but all anyone has to do is put up the FTE’s own propaganda about this books association with the previous creationist ID scam and you don’t have to guess about this book anymore. If the FTE and the ID perp authors have any brains they will have a disclaimer put in the books that go to creationist supporters warning them to not use the book as an acknowedged reference to run the critical analysis scam. Not only does it still have the old scam “Design” in the title, but the publishers and authors have already acknowledged that it is a continuation of the old ID scam.

If they haven’t burned all the old drafts of this book (they’d be stupid if they haven’t done that after Dover), you would probably see where it had been edited to try to make it look like it isn’t part of the intelligent design scam.

The worst thing that could happen to the ID perps is if a lot of creationist rubes bought the book and took it to their local school boards and tried to get it into the schools as a text “suppliment.” Well, not the worst. The worst would probably be if they got the funds to buy the book from the local church congregation, they tried to claim that they only wanted to critically analyze the science, one of the boobs on the board doesn’t know what the new scam is and claims that intelligent design should be taught as an alternative, and a second one is clueless enough to say that the board has to support the fellow that died on the cross 2,000 years ago.

Maybe someone should point the Florida school boards at this book. They’ve already done just about everything in the worst case scenario except mention the book.

The Polk County School Board has at least decided to go slow on adopting “intelligent design”, according to a news report in the Tampa Tribune. I hope that’s correct.

The article did not give any indication that the school board members had learned things that changed their minds on IDC, just that they figured out that it was going to open up a lot of trouble for them.

Wesley R. Elsberry:

The Polk County School Board has at least decided to go slow on adopting “intelligent design”, according to a news report in the Tampa Tribune. I hope that’s correct.

The article did not give any indication that the school board members had learned things that changed their minds on IDC, just that they figured out that it was going to open up a lot of trouble for them.

If you haven’t noticed it is the ID perps themselves that get these rubes to drop the ID scam and take the switch scam. People this far gone do not listen to the science side of the issue. Anyone on the board that doesn’t drop the issue once the switch comes in, can be classed as hopelessly incompetent and/or dishonest (science education obviously was not the issue for this type). That is how it was in Ohio and everywhere since the bait and switch started to be run. The only group or legislator that wanted to teach ID that hasn’t taken the switch or dropped the issue is Dover.

For the first few bait and switch scams after Ohio the Discovery Institute even bragged about getting the rubes to take the switch (Wisconsin and Minnesota). They even named the DI lawyer involved in perpetrating the switch scam in those two instances. They don’t make much noise about it anymore (can anyone guess why?), but the switch still goes in.

Anyone that doesn’t believe that the switch will come in, just get your local school board to teach the science of intelligent design and sit back and wait. Heck, just watch what happens in Florida.

It won’t be very long before some of these Florida rubes will be talking about teaching the controversy, or more about evolution, critical analysis etc. These things will not have been beamed into their heads. Someone has to clue them into the switch scam, and it isn’t the science side of the issue. Someone has to convince them that continuing to claim to teach ID is a lost cause and that they have to take the replacement scam. It has happened in every case except Dover. The ID perps were actively running the bait and switch scam on their own supporters years before they lost in court. If that doesn’t tell any thinking human being that ID is bogus nothing will.

It looks as though at least one of the key posters at Uncommon Descent is proclaiming victory:

“22 December 2007

Darwinist Negative-Review Spam Campaign Backfires at Amazon GilDodgen

Last week, The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence In Biological Systems was in the 17,000-20,000 range at Amazon.com. Since the Darwinist-sponsored negative-review spam campaign (with “reviews” written mostly by people who obviously had not read the book), and as of this writing, the book is sitting at about 3,000, and is:

#1 in Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology #1 in Books > Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology”

I don’t really see much of a difference, statistically speaking, between the “17,000-20,000 range” and “sitting at about 3,000”. Do you?

For those of you who haven’t voted yet, please take a look at my review of the Dembski and Wells book and vote yes. I’m hoping Bill will suffer an acute form of heartburn (or worse) if he sees more than 1,000 yea votes for my review, which he had tried to have Amazon.com delete permanently back on December 6th.

Best regards,

John

OK, I thought I will take a look at amazon.com, and compare “The Design of Life” with “The God Delusion (Hardcover)”.

[Sorry I am not able to line up the columns.]

Comparison TDoL TGD

Stars 3 4

Num of reviews 48 1044

Sales Rank 3007 212

Usefulness of 5* review 43/440 2099/2557

Usefulness of 1* review 1530/1729 31/57

N 5* review 21 569

N 4* review 0 150

N 3* review 1 119

N 2* review 0 76

N 1* review 26 130

TGD popular in: Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)

#1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

#3 in Books > Science > History & Philosophy > History of Science

#4 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Atheism

TDoL popular in: Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)

#1 in Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology

#1 in Books > Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology

#29 in Books > Professional & Technical > Medical > Basic Sciences

It appears that the Dishonesty Institute has very strong vocal following among a very small number of people. It is achieving a larger than life image through loudness of the followers and bought out shills. Even with such a strongly provocative title like “The God Delusion”, its most critical review is voted “useful” by just 31 people.

I think we, the science supporters, should bypass the gang at the Deficient Intellectually and engage with the shills and the rubes. Most of the shills are rational when it comes to self interest and if they perceive the cost of supporting ID more than the benefit they get from DI they might choose other scams to push. Even those who continue to shill might demand a more pounds of flesh from DI.

We should rubes should be told to see what happened to others who bought what DI was selling. That might help science a little.

Caveat: I am making the assumption that the support base of DI/ID would have the same percentage of amazon account holders as pro science crowd. That could be drastically wrong. And all my “insightful” :-) analysis would come crashing down then.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1RPVY[…]RPVYFWXKH27F

Whoever did this, thanks. Brilliantly done. Had to give a five star but it is well worth it. The most favorable review, 14/22 finding it useful, reads thus:

14 of 22 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd Best Book Ever, December 23, 2007 By The Spinozanator I must reluctantly admit, I was teetering on the brink of being seduced by Satan’s evil theory of evolution. Then I read Dembski’s and Wells’s inspired book, which ranks right up there with astrology in exposing science and its ridiculous reliance on evidence and the outdated fuddy duddy scientific method; instead of the Bible and other privileged sources.

None of my friends down at the Church of the Divine Sepulchre of Spiritual Holiness believe in that stupid ape story either. Among the high spots in this fine book was the sensitive support given in the bibliography to Santa Claus, Mother Goose, and the Stork. Those 100% of Nobel prize winners and 99% of other scientists who believe evolution’s hogwash are most certainly going straight to Hell. Top Notch!

For those who haven’t heard, Kwok’s review was reinstated. But it took the following ultimatum to do it:

Dear Bill: You have until NOON EST tomorrow to have Amazon.com reinstate my review of the “The Design of Life”. If you do not, then I will write to Dr. Robert Zimmer (Stuyvesant HS ‘64), formerly Provost, Brown University, and currently, President, University of Chicago, to insist that he initiate a course of action that will result in having you stripped of your 1988 Ph. D. degree in Mathematics for an ongoing series of actions - of which this is but the latest - which demonstrate that you lack the moral turpitude to retain possession of this degree. You should also be aware that I have bcc’d copies of this e-mail to two reporters from prominent USA newspapers : The New York Times and The Washington Post. I have also bcc’d a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and a fourth journalist as well. Respectfully yours, John Kwok

Kwok also wrote in the comments section of his review,

Bill D. asked Amazon.com to delete my review. So I decided to issue him an ultimatum to have it restored by NOON EST the following day (see either two in tents’ post or especially mine for the text of the ultimatum) or else suffer the consequences. The Discovery Institute fascist had no choice but to comply with my ultimatum. Best regards, John

Um, neither I nor search engines can find Kwok’s review at the book site. It is easily found under John Kwok’s reviews.

It was a valuable review, and I hope Kwok will continue to endeavor to get it past censorship.

Dear Jay, Torbjorn and everyone else,

Hope you are enjoying a great Christmas - which I am in the midst of - or something else that’s wonderful and appropriate for this day. I simply couldn’t believe that a distinguished senior fellow of the so-called “democratic” Discovery Institute would respond to my review by resorting to techniques favored by Nazis, Fascists, Communists and other admirers of totalitarian dictatorships. I’ve sarcastically referred to Bill Dembski as the “Josef Goebbels of the Intelligent Design movement”; it seems he clearly lived up to that nickname earlier this month (Elsewhere at Amazon.com, I have observed that had Bill D. lived in Deutschland back in the 1930s, then he would have willingly become a member of the Nazi Party and sing, with ample enthusiasm, the Horst Wessel Lied.

Bill D. has yet to admit that I issued him an ultimatum to have my review reinstated by Amazon.com (BTW, please vote yea on its behalf and ask others to do so; I’d like to see him howl with rage as soon as the yea vote count exceeded 1,500.). Regrettably I don’t think he’ll ever make such an admission.

I’ve had had my problems with Amazon.com over censorship issues regarding my harsh, but accurate reviews of books praising Intelligent Design and other flavors of creationism. They deleted my tag “mendacious intellectual porn” (This is my apt description of Intelligent Design, and one which anthropologist and author Richard Milner agrees completely with.).

With my best wishes for the remainder of the holiday season and for the new year, I am…

Appreciatively yours,

John Kwok

Earlier today I created at Amazon.com a Listmania! List entitled “Worst Books of 2007”. You’ll recognize some rather familiar names and titles:

http://www.amazon.com/Worst-Books-o[…]r_title_full

All the best,

John Kwok

The book briefly touched rank 2200, and is steadily falling since. Probably helped by the fundies gifting the book to one another to wallow in ignorance. Anyway currently (3 Jan 2008) is south of 16000 in ranks.

# Average Customer Review: 3 stars

65 Reviews

5 star: 46% (30)

4 star: (0)

3 star: 3% (2)

2 star: (0)

1 star: 50% (33)

See all 65 customer reviews…

2.9 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews (65 customer reviews) # Amazon.com Sales Rank: #16,654 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)

#5 in Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology

#6 in Books > Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on December 20, 2007 2:50 PM.

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