A few readers pointed out that the putative "review" of Nagel's Mind and Cosmos by Steve Fuller is full of bizarre howlers on top of everything else. Anyone familiar with Fuller's actual "scholarly" work knows that he makes up his history of science to suit the polemics of the moment:
Fuller's grasp of history of science, and of the sciences themselves, turns out to be equally interesting. A few examples will be worthwhile. Newton is supposed to have "presented his mathematical physics as the divine plan that was implicitly written into the Bible [emphasis added]" (p. 54). Fuller must have access to an otherwise unknown veridical edition of the Principia. In the early nineteenth century, Cuvier and Agassiz were supposed to have been thinking of climate change (p. 59). Around the same time, Lamarck is supposed to have held that "lower organisms literally strove to become higher organisms, specifically humans, who at some point in the future would be Earth's sole denizens" (p. 146), a view to be found nowhere in the Lamarckian corpus.
The "Darwinian doctrine" is supposed to consist of the belief that "chance mutations are the driving force of evolution" (p. 31). One wonders what happened to natural selection. Fuller has an answer: "compounded historical accidents" are also known as "natural selection" (p. 48). This issue is particularly troubling because what separates the neutral model of evolution from the selectionist or "Darwinian" model of evolution is the question whether chance mutations drive evolution: the neutralists claim they do whereas the selectionists argue for the primacy of natural selection. For some mysterious reason, Fuller has reversed the selectionists' position.
Returning to Fuller's book, Mendel is supposed to have had his work rejected by scientific experts before he published it in a local journal in Brünn (p. 61), a rejection of which no other historian is aware. Pearson and Galton's biometry is supposed to have been based on a "blending theory of inheritance" (p. 145) even though Pearson explicitly denied assuming any theory at all and Galton reported experiments to refute the blending theory. William Jennings Bryan is supposed to have been an "expert witness for the prosecution" (p. 115) in the Scopes trial, rather than what he was: the prosecutor who famously agreed to be an expert witness for the defense. Thanks to molecular biology, genes are supposed to have been "[broken] down into ordered strings of amino acids" (p. 135); one wonders what happened to DNA nucleotide bases. All microevolution is supposed to have been designed by humans (p. 141); presumably ancient humans were privy to enough biological warfare techniques to design malaria and cause the spread of the sickle cell allele in tropical and subtropical populations.
The modern theory of evolution is often interpreted to be a synthesis in the 1930s of Mendel's theory of inheritance with Darwin's theory of natural selection (along with natural history). But, for Fuller, it was a synthesis "between molecular genetics and natural history" and it is supposed to have happened a decade before 1955 (p. 58) even though there was no possibility of a molecular genetics before the Watson-Crick double helix model of DNA which, incidentally, appeared in 1953. (Elsewhere in the book he accepts the standard interpretation of the synthesis [e.g., p. 134].)
Now in the "review" of Nagel, Fuller declares Kripke a functionalist and, even more bizarrely, writes,
Fodor and Nagel were the leading non-naturalist philosophers of mind of the 1980s, in relation to which students such as myself had to stake out their own positions. Interestingly, both wrote their doctoral dissertations in the 1960s exploring Existentialism from an analytic-philosophical standpoint - Fodor on Kierkegaard, Nagel on Sartre.
Put aside the weirdness of calling Fodor a "non-naturalist," what's even stranger is that Fuller simply makes up out of whole cloth the claim that Fodor wrote a dissertation on Kierkegaard and Nagel on Sartre. No, they didn't. Fodor worked with Hilary Putnam at Princeton, and Nagel with John Rawls at Harvard, and neither wrote one on Kierkegaard or Sartre. No wonder Fuller was an expert witness for the Intelligent Design folks in the Dover case: facts don't matter!