This is an important book and should be read widely. Colin Tudge is a polymath, though a specialist in biology, who lives in Oxford but is not part of an academic establishment. He thus has no qualms about challenging current conventional wisdom in the university world, which frightens the donnish rank-and-file into conformity and inhibits original thinking.
Tudge’s language at the beginning is often rough, not to say brutal, which gives the impression, quite falsely, that his argument lacks intellectual rigour and may allow his critics an easy opportunity to discredit him. But once he gets into his theme his reasoning becomes terse, polite and formidable. For a shortish book of under 300 pages, not hindered with heavy academic apparatus, it covers a great deal of ground, all of it of interest and some of it of vital relevance to how we judge the universe and ourselves.
His main point concerns Darwin and the use made of him by popularisers such as Richard Dawkins. Darwin was a great scientist, and his On the Origin of Species, for a variety of reasons (some of them accidental), was a highly effective book which brought about a profound scientific revolution.