The trouble begins when he stops observing emergent phenomena and starts pumping for them as the ideal solution to any given problem. He makes a good case that education would be better off without bureaucrats. But elsewhere he overreaches.
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.
For a man so expertly playing off America’s current political moment...Ridley seems blind to one of the more damaging features of our current politics: the rush to cherry-pick facts that support a predetermined argument, casting aside—or never searching for—evidence that might challenge that argument. Like a cable-news junkie, he skips past volumes of rigorous scholarship and comes to rest on almost anything that supports his convictions.