Where he is less successful, as all other commentators have been, is in his insistence that the evidence for natural selection as the driving force of evolution is of the same inferential strength as the evidence that evolution has occurred. So, for example, he gives the game away by writing that when we examine a sequence of changes in the fossil record, we canThe text here is hard to parse at points, but he appears to be saying that Darwinists should not permit the slightest speck of doubt (to borrow a Chestertonian phrase) on their spotless machine. Lewontin even puts "theory" in double quotes, just to emphasize the term's status as scientific dogma.determine whether the sequences of changes at least conform to a step-by-step adaptive process. And in every case, we can find at least a feasible Darwinian explanation.But to say that some example is not falsification of a theory because we can always "find" (invent) a feasible explanation says more about the flexibility of the theory and the ingenuity of its supporters than it says about physical nature. Indeed in his later discussion of theories of behavioral evolution he becomes appropriately skeptical when he writes thatimaginative reconstructions of how things might have evolved are not science; they are stories.While this is a perfectly good argument against those who claim that there are things that are so complex that evolutionary biology cannot explain them, it allows evolutionary "theory" to fall back into the category of being reasonable but not an incontrovertible material fact.
And Lewontin is right, as a Darwinian dogmatist, to be upset at what Coyne seems to be admitting here (I'm relying on Lewontin's account, not having read the book), which is that any set of facts, if it can be given a Darwinian interpretation, must be given a Darwinian interpretation. This seems to be a common procedure: if a Darwinian interpretation is feasible, it is also, therefore, imperative.
Some theories get all the breaks.