Evolution: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)

Evolution: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Author Burton Guttman
Isbn 1851683712
File size 1.61MB
Year 2005
Pages 224
Language English
File format PDF
Category Biology

Book Description:

Burt Guttman's book is a good introduction to the topic of evolution. He's especially adept at stripping evolutionary theory of many of its most common misconceptions--such as "survival of the fittest," a newer idea often wrongly attributed to Darwin, or the notion that evolution is a ladder leading inexorably to "higher" forms of life. I honestly struggled at times with some of the writing--particularly in the area of genetics--but overall Guttman makes the subject approachable and understandable.

I didn't find any of the condescension that troubled the previous reviewer. It is true that Guttman spends a fair bit of time comparing and contrasting evolutionary thinking with creationist thinking. I appreciate his writing in that area. In the 21st century it would be irresponsible to write a book introducing evolution without addressing creationism or its better dressed cousin, intelligent design. Both are dangerous to the general population's understanding of the world, and as part of a world view of a great many people who would turn America into a theocracy, both have sinister political implications. Creationism and intelligent design are to biology what astrology is to astronomy; evolutionary biologists observe phenomena, hypothesize about their causes, set about to disprove their hypotheses, and continue the process ad infinitum to add to the human storehouse of knowledge. Creationists start by assuming they know the causes of things, cherry pick those phenomena that support their view, and then too often close the "book" on the subject for good.

As for the author's assertion that the general public is woefully ignorant about biology (not to mention many other areas of knowledge), I fear that fact is about as scientifically sound as they come.


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