Matt Ridley:
"The Evolution of Everything" (2015)

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I called a previous book by the same author "the least professional of all the books Ridley has written". I need to update that. "The Evolution of Everything" is now his worst book (yet). Matt Ridley argues that there is a universal principle of evolution that affects not only species but also technology, culture, morality, society, religion, and the whole universe. He credits Lucretius as his inspiration, but he must have missed a few millions of us who already knew this via thousands of distinguished philosophers, sociologists, economists, etc. Ridley should read more books, so he would avoid embarrassing himself pretending that he was suddenly enlightened about something that... everybody else already knew. This is coffee-house chat. It is pseudo-science because none of us can really prove what that universal principle is: we just know that things change.

I cannot put it better than John Gray did in the Guardian: "If The Evolution of Everything has any value, it's as a demonstration that, outside of science, there isn't much progress - even of the vaguer sort - in the history of thought. Bad ideas aren't defeated by falsification, and they don't fade away. As Ridley's book shows, they simply recur, quite often in increasingly primitive and incoherent forms."

His fascist ranting against the government will certainly appeal to the Tea Party and assorted white suprematists. He is utterly ignorant of how highly centralized states like Japan have created peaceful and prosperous societies that his country, the USA, with its dysfunctional fragmented government can only dream of; or of how quasi-socialist states like those in Scandinavia have created not only peaceful and prosperous societies, but also an enviable welfare net that his country, the USA, with its dysfunctional fragmented government can only dream of.

His "scientific" method mostly consists in recycling old ideas from social darwinism and piles up a lot of questionable and self-serving anecdotes.