Norman Macbeth

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Norman Macbeth is a Harvard-trained lawyer who became known for his criticism of the neo-Darwinian synthesis.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, he received his B.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He later moved to Vermont. Macbeth is an anthroposophistWikipedia and has translated some German writings of Rudolf Steiner and others into English.


Macbeth is known for his books and publications on anti-Darwinism. He is not anti-evolution he is only opposed to the Darwinian mechanisms of evolution. He also has advocated non-Darwinian evolution. In his book Darwin Retried (1971) he wrote that classical Darwinism is dead in evolutionary biology but that no one had informed the public about it. He has also criticised the neo-Darwinian synthetic theory of evolution.

Plagued by a long illness from which he is now recovered, Norman Macbeth, a lawyer by profession, began the study of Darwinian evolution. He finished his first book on the subject with the thought, "If I had to oppose that man in court I could get his case thrown out." Then began a course of some ten years in building and reading a library of books on evolutionary theory.
—Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason, Norman Macbeth, 1971, inside front jacket.

Macbeth is most well known for claiming natural selection is a tautology.[1] Karl Popper had supported the arguments of Macbeth against Darwinism.


Macbeth is not a biologist so some scientists dismissed his arguments[2] however some of the arguments of Macbeth about natural selection did cause a controversy amongst some scientists.[3] In a review in the NewScientist John Maynard SmithWikipedia wrote that Macbeth had highlighted some instances when Simpson, MayrWikipedia and HuxleyWikipedia contradicted one another or themselves, but that most of his arguments were nonsense and that Macbeth never made it clear if he is attacking classical Darwinism or the neo-Darwinian synthesis as he seems to confuse the two together.[4]

Creationist quote mining[edit]

Macbeth makes it clear in his books and publications he is not anti-evolution and that evolution is a fact however religious creationists ignore this and quote mine his works in an attempt to make out evolution is falling apart. Where Macbeth has written "Darwinism" is dead or wrong, creationists usually replace the word Darwinism with evolution.[5] Macbeth's criticism of natural selection is also a favourite of the creationists.[6] Creationists usually quote mine and spam quotes from Macbeth onto internet forums, unfortunately because of this some users involved in debates against creationists then become under the impression that Macbeth is a creationist himself.[7]


  • Darwinism: A Time for Funerals (1985)
  • Darwin Retried (1971)