A. N. Wilson

Spectator Books of the Year: Why evolution is still a theory in crisis

Spectator Books of the Year: Why evolution is still a theory in crisis
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Michael Denton’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis (Discovery Institute Press, £16.80). A sequel to his 1985 book — Evolution: A Theory in Crisis — this takes us up to date with the dazzling developments of life sciences over the past 30 years. Denton is a sceptic about Darwin’s theory of evolution on purely scientific grounds. It is hard to see how anyone reading his book could not be persuaded. Palaeontology provides abundant evidence of evolution within species, but none of one species morphing into another. Denton is fascinatingly clear in his exposition of the science of genetics, and how it destroys the Darwinian position. A truly great book.

The best new novel of the year, for me, was The Huntingfield Paintress by Pamela Holmes (Urbane Publications, £8.99), about the Victorian wife of a Suffolk parson who paints the parish church in all the poly-chromatic glory it would have known in pre-Reformation times. The story is a true one, but Holmes has written a profound novel about Mildred Holland’s marriage, and her relationship with her times. A double treat, if you read the book, and then go to see Mildred’s stupendous work for yourself. Golden angels sing from the beams and technicolour saints halloo you from the roof of the nave.

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