Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Abusing Amazon

(Happy New Year to all of my readers, and I trust that one of your resolutions for 2008 is to read more.)

In yesterday's post, I shared my review of Dembski and Wells' new book, The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems. That review enjoyed a brief stay on Amazon's review pages for this book, but you can't find it there now. And here's why...

As most of you know, Amazon publishes reviews of the books available through them. They also have in place a system whereby readers of those reviews can vote on whether or not each review was helpful. Apparently, that voting then determines the order of appearance--and even whether or not a review continues to appear there at all.

Soon after The Design of Life came out, there were about a dozen reviews that appeared there (mine included). All were 5-star reviews, and each was thoughtful, well-written, and informative. Each interacted in a meaningful way with the content of the book (as is required by Amazon's rules governing this review process), and it was clear that each of the authors had read the book in question.

Well, this was too much for the fundamentalist Darwinists. Once they realized what was happening, they began a sabotage campaign, flooding the review page with negative (1-star) reviews and voting down the 5-star reviews and up the 1-star reviews. It wasn't long before few of those thoughtful reviews by people who had actually read the book remained, and the review page displayed mostly 1-star reviews like the following (by E. Duran of San Jose, CA)...
I just finished reading this book without vomiting. I had to go back and read Darwin’s “Origin of Species” again to remove the bad taste out of my mouth.
Helpful and informative, right? That's the entire review, just as it appeared. And yet at one point (on 20 December 2007), 44 of 50 people had found this review helpful. As a result, some of the reviews by those of us who actually read the book were bumped from the list of those available.

As you might guess, other 1-star reviews trotted out ad hominem attacks, called the book fallacious without being able to identify any specific fallacies, and generally failed to interact with any of the actual content of the book. For anyone following this process on Amazon, it was yet another example of the vast differences (in intellectual integrity, among other things) between those seeking truth on these scientific issues (of the origins of life and of information in biological systems) and the idealogues who somehow feel called to defend Darwinism at all costs.

Such desperate tactics by Darwinists (which are not, of course, limited to the Amazon review process) represent one of the (apparently necessary) stages in a major paradigm shift as predicted by philosophers of science. At the highest levels, neo-Darwinism is being seen for the bankrupt system it really is, and many can't stand the idea of allowing God back into the debate.

1 comment:

Bill from Detroit said...

Hmmm ... I'm not so certain how Darwin got there. ;-)