A Knowingly False Claim of Authorship

About 18 months ago, I read Jonathan Wells' book "Icons of Evolution" and discovered that Wells had claimed that a 1996 LIFE magazine article on human embryos was written by "Brown University Biologist Kenneth Miller." Well, it wasn't. Turns out that LIFE has a staff writer who is also named "Kenneth Miller." I've got a very common first and last name, and this kind of thing happens all the time.

Friends, be assured that I didn't write the article.

I e-mailed Wells, pointing out that a careful look at the magazine article would have avoided the mistake, and asking him to correct it.

He promised to correct it immediately.

Such a correction was important to me, since he had used supposed "errors" in the LIFE article to make a case that I had misled readers about human embryology.

I picked up a copy of the new paperback version of Icons in March 2002, and saw the extent of his "correction:" The book (page 104) now simply says that the LIFE article was "written by Kenneth Miller."

Since Icons refers to me by name three other times, each time in reference to textbooks written by "Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine," his readers will clearly assume that I am also the author of the LIFE article, something that Wells now knows to be false.

To compound the error, Wells lists just one index entry for "Kenneth Miller," and the pages next to that entry indicate that the same guy wrote both the LIFE article and the textbooks. In plain language, since Wells has known the truth for more than a year, the "correction" he has made in his book now amounts to nothing more than a common lie. Is he so desperate that he feels justified in falsely slurring the scientific reputation of anyone who disagrees with him?

Why does his book persist in making a claim of authorship which he now knows to be false? You'd have to ask Rev. Wells, who claims to be interested only in fairness, accuracy, and truth why he feels justified in lying about the authorship of the LIFE Magazine article. I am sure you will get an interesting reply!




Kenneth R. Miller
Professor of Biology
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912