Thank you for joining me today for this interview, Ms. Shiel. Would you briefly introduce yourself to the readers here?
I research and write about everything strange, from Bigfoot and UFOs to alternative history. My latest nonfiction book, The Evolution Conspiracy, Vol. 1, marks the initial release in a planned three-book series. I have been interviewed for big-city newspapers, national magazines, drive-time talk radio shows, and TV news. I also have a master’s degree in library science and formerly served as president of the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association (UPPAA) here in Michigan. As a fiction writer, I developed the Human Origins Series—which includes the novels The Hunt for Bigfoot and Lord of the Dead. My other nonfiction books are Backyard Bigfoot: The True Story of Stick Signs, UFOs & the Sasquatch (a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year Awards) and Strange Michigan.
With such a large topic on hand, I’d like to start this interview in an unconventional way. What question do you wish interviewers would ask you/ask you more often either about you or your book?
Is The Evolution Conspiracy an anti-evolution book? Proponents of evolution generally label me anti-evolution, despite the fact they haven't read my book. If interviewers always asked me that question then I could set the record straight as often as possible. The term anti-evolution implies hostility, as if I oppose the idea in principle without examining the evidence. I am not opposed to evolution. I simply don't believe in evolution because the evidence has failed to convince me. When new evidence crops up I take a look, delving deeper than the press releases and the Discovery Channel specials to learn what the evidence really says. Invariably, up to this point, any new evidence has proven far less conclusive than its proponents claim. Could evolutionists one day convince me with solid new evidence? Sure. But the evidence will have to be firmer than Jell-O.
In the synopsis of The Evolution Conspiracy, it says, “Instead of criticizing evolution in an effort to promote my personal beliefs, I’ve chosen to critique evolutionary theories and the evidence attached to them through a secular lens.” If not to promote your personal beliefs, why did you write this book?
To empower people. Evolutionists cling to their jargon and their PhDs, using both to convince average people that they can't understand the science and they have no right to question it. I never tell people what to think. Instead I offer up the evidence, pointing out the flaws and contradictions, so you can decide for yourself what to believe. The Evolution Conspiracy contains everything you need to make up your mind—detailed references, a glossary, a thorough index, and relevant illustrations. Scientists try to duct-tape over the holes in the evidence and downplay the discord among their peers, painting a picture of unanimous agreement and utter certainty. Yet reality bears little resemblance to the pretty picture they've painted. In The Evolution Conspiracy I expose the real, and far more complex, world of evolutionary science.
Also, you end the synopsis with: “Read. Think. Decide for yourself.” Do you think there is too much of a blind acceptance to authority and what we are taught in schools today?
Yes and no. Geneticists imply DNA evidence is infallible, paleontologists suggest fossils contain all the answers, and biologists say evolution is a fact. These assertions belie the truth, which proves far more complicated. We tend to believe scientists because they have lots of abbreviations after their names, rather than because they present a rock-solid case for evolution. Average people have access to the evidence only when scientists deign to tell us about it. How can we know whether they give us all the evidence, or cut out the bits that don't suit them? Unless you have the time to do the research you can't know. That's why I wrote The Evolution Conspiracy, to give you the benefit of my in-depth research into evolutionary theories.
I imagine it can be quite difficult to get people to even listen to alternative perspectives on something that many children are now taught in school. Has this been true for you in promoting your book?
Diehard evolutionists refuse to consider other viewpoints, jumping into attack mode when anyone expresses the slightest doubt about evolution. Most people, though, are open-minded and curious. Not all scientists are rabid evolutionists even if they agree with evolution, in part or in full. When I leave comments on pro-evolution blogs of course I receive negative responses, as I would expect. But polls have consistently shown that the majority of the general public doubts evolution, a fact I witness every time I talk to people online or in person. Even people who think evolution is probably true still want to know more about the evidence. I wrote The Evolution Conspiracy for everyone, whether you believe in creationism or simply wonder about the accuracy of evolutionary theories.
Have you been surprised by any reactions to your book?
I knew what to expect from diehard evolutionists—they go into conniptions when they hear about the book! I have been pleasantly surprised by the reaction from open-minded scientists and mainstream book reviewers. Not only do the good reviews keep coming in but a microbiologist wrote the foreword for The Evolution Conspiracy, something I never would have expected.
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm working on my third novel, Ancient Ones, part of my Human Origins Series. I've already published two books in the series, The Hunt for Bigfoot and Lord of the Dead. After the novel I plan to start work on volume 2 of The Evolution Conspiracy, which I have already begun researching.
Where can people find out more about you and your book?
At EvolutionConspiracy.com you can find more information about the book, including free sample chapters and reviews, as well as new articles about topics related to the book. You can also find me at Twitter.com/LAShiel or on Facebook. And you can buy The Evolution Conspiracy at SlipdownMountain.com and Amazon.com. The Evolution Conspiracy is also available as an e-book in PDF and Amazon Kindle formats.
Would you like to mention anything else?
Don't believe something just because someone with a PhD tells you it's true. Look at the evidence, consider it, and decide for yourself. Questioning scientists and their theories does not make you anti-science. We all can and should question the mainstream dogma when the evidence fails to support it.
Thank you your time and this interview.