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Why is a Fly Not a Horse? [Paperback]

By Giuseppe Sermonti, Brendan White (Translator) & Jonathan Wells (Editor)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.42"
Weight:   0.62 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2005
Publisher   Discovery Institute
ISBN  0963865471  
EAN  9780963865472  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This book's Italian title, Dimenticare Darwin, means "Forget Darwin," and its prologue bears the title "Evolution is dead " The author, Dr. Giuseppe Sermonti, is a respected Italian biologist who boldly shatters the myth that all critics of Darwinian evolution are American religious fundamentalists. This delightful little book is loaded with scientific facts that aren't taught in standard biology classes, but it is also full of history and poetry. Why is a Fly Not a Horse? does not have all the answers, but it asks many of the right questions-in a style that is both entertaining and inspiring. Giuseppe Sermonti is retired Professor of Genetics at the University of Perugia. He discovered genetic recombination in antibiotic-producing Penicillium and Streptomyces and was Vice President at the XIV International Congress of Genetics (Moscow, 1980). Sermonti is Chief Editor of Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, one of the oldest still-published biology journals in the world, and he has published seven other books, including Dopo Darwin (After Darwin), with R. Fondi (1980-1984).

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Pathetic  Jul 12, 2007
If you really want answers to questions of this nature study biology
instead of getting your head filled with this ideological non-sense.
Brings Up the More Interesting/Less Talked About Topics in the Origins Debate  Dec 24, 2006
This is a good popular work that focuses on the more interesting/less talked about side of the debate. Dr. Sermonti, a famous and well-respected geneticist, speaks with much eloquence about the anomalies in nature that throw a monkey-wrench into Darwin's theory. However, he's not a creationist; rather, it seems that he takes more of a Platonist's view of biological organisms.

Such topics include:
A. The fact that organisms with varying complexity do not have proportional genome sizes. If neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory (NDET from now on) were true, shouldn't mammals have more DNA than amphibians, mollusks, or flowering plants? You would think so if NDET were true and an increase in DNA meant an increase in complexity, but you'd be wrong. They vary *widely*.
B. The sudden appearance and stasis of species in the fossil record. Though this is frequently discussed in other books in the origins debate, it is always good to throw it in.
C. How some animals seem not to be fitted for their environment, but rather, they seem to be works of art. As Sermonti put it: "In fish the colors can be bright and resplendent, even among species that never see the light of upper regions, but their patterning bears no relationship to internal structure; the colors just seem to be put there like paints on an artist's palette" (p.58). There are other things mentioned such as the beautiful mathematical shape of the mollusk's shell and the innate knowledge of some birds to know their bird-song without being taught it.
D. The fact that the same genes (such as hox genes) can create different structures in different animals. For instance, a cat's "eye" genes that are transferred to a blind fly's egg will create the multi-faceted eyes in a fly.
E. The ever-changing family tree of hominids.
F. The ever-increasing anomalies in molecular phylogenies. In fact, according to the molecular data, the mysterious "common ancestor" of chimps and humans should actually be much more closely related to man!
G. How the cell somehow innately knows how to make a certain enzyme even though most of the DNA molecule that codes for it is incomplete.
H. One of the more important ones in his book: the fact that the some of the biggest differences in body structure and function are not due to genes.
I. Homologies in unrelated species such as the mammalian eye and the eye of the octopus. Do Darwinists really expect us to believe that these very similar structures converged through evolution by chance?!?
J. The fact that protein folding occurs without instruction. This is very important since "the spatial information necessary for specifying the three-dimensional structure of a protein is vastly greater than the information contained in the sequence" (p.130).
K. Probably the most interesting one is the fact that some mimicking insects appear in the fossil record many of millions of years before the plants upon which they are supposed to mimic appear! Also, there are some insects whose mouths are made to eat a certain plant that also appears many millions of years before the plant they are supposed to eat appears. Any attempt to account for this in neo-Darwinian terms is absurd!

It is most certainly time for science to throw neo-Darwinism into the trash-bin of failed theories.

I gave the book only four stars for two reasons. First, although he is a great writer and is very eloquent, there were times when I felt that he would write a couple paragraphs just for the sake of being eloquent without any topic in mind. Second, he tries to say that Judges 14:8 in the Bible would lead one to believe in spontaneous generation. However, when you read the passage, all it says is that a swarm of bees had taken up residence in a lion's carcass. On the other hand, Sermonti is (or, perhaps, was) a Roman Catholic layman. So, I guess he's excused for not knowing the first thing about Biblical exegesis.

Overall, a very good and interesting book.
Can Darwin Explain Life's Most Basic Questions?  Jun 21, 2006
Discovery fellow and editor of the prestigious Italian biology journal "Revista de Biologia," Giuseppe Sermonti explains why evolution resembles a "paradigm" more than it does an explanation. Scientists assume that the theory and its implications (such as universal common descent) are true, but no one can ever explain the details of precisely why it is. According to Sermonti, naturalistic theories of biological origins are science-stoppers.

Sermonti explains that biology has advanced greatly when naturalistic theories of biological origins have been disproved. For example, in 1688 Francesco Redi performed an experiment which refuted the notion that flies come from rotting meat--Redi discovered that flies actually come from worms that hatch from eggs laid in rotting biological matter which subsequently develop into flies. The recognition that flies come from eggs rather than meat fostered our early understanding of biological development, but one theory of spontaneous generation had to die before the advance was made.

Sermonti recounts that the field became stalled when the early evolutionist Comte de Buffon imagined that everything from fleas to the hippopotamus emerged from the primordial slime. Providing an Italian perspective on the history of biology, Sermonti explains that an Italian naturalist named Spallanzani refused to just accept spontaneous generation as the easy answer, and through a series of carefully observed experiments, came to the conclusion that "omne vivium ex ovo" (all life comes from eggs). Spontaneous generation was finally disproved by Pasteur's experiments nearly a century later. This was a fact lamented by Darwin, who claimed that Pasteur "denied spontaneous generation." Despite Pasteur's "denial," biology progressed.

Sermonti turns to the primary question of his book: Why is a fly not a horse? According to Sermonti, developmental genes are widely similar across various species. Providing a tour of genetic development, Sermonti finds that genes alone may not be enough to account for differences among the species, something that would pose a profound challenge to Darwin's theory.
Utter anger, not science  Jun 17, 2006
It's quite impressive how certain reviewers can be full of irony and verbal violence making very clear for me that his/her intention is more to protect his position than defending science.
I remember quite well when the ID movement first began. Most of the scientists at that time not even admitted discuss about Intelligent Design.
A reviewer, as a scientist, should use only facts and not so many fallacies trying to disqualify an author. Giuseppe Sermonti may have committed some mistakes, but this can not be used to completely disqualify his book.
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.." Mahatma Gandhi
On errors and/or inaccuracies  Mar 20, 2006
Just a few hopefully short comments I wanted to make after having read the reviews of this book (which I have not read yet):

One reviewer claims, as those who accept evolutionary theory always do, that the book contains factual errors, inaccuracies, etc. This may or may not be true (I do not know), but it should be pointed out that it is well known that there are many books published by evolutionary supporters which ALSO contain many gross factual errors and inaccuracies. Evolutionary scientists are contradicting and correcting each other all the time. This does not necessarily mean or prove by itself that evolutionary theory is false. Conversely, when books about intelligent design contain them, it similarly does not mean or prove that intelligent design is false either.

Factual errors and inaccuracies in scientific texts (of whatever persuasion) are common and unavoidable, it is simply going to happen. In addition to that, it often turns out that the alleged error was not an error at all, and that the author can show why.

With that said, I would urge readers to form their opinions based on having read widely about the issue so that they have an informed perspective. Forming opinions based solely on the claim (as one reviewer seems to want people to do) that this book or that book contains an error(s) or some inaccuracy, is not the best way to learn the truth, especially considering the fallacy of scientists and the ever-changing theories and explanations they put forth.

The moral of the story is: Read the book yourself, read other books on the same subjects, and don't be scared away by claims of errors and inaccuracies made by the opposing side.

Write your own review about Why is a Fly Not a Horse?

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