- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Viking USA (Jan. 27 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670020532
- ISBN-13: 978-0670020539
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #464,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Why Evolution Is True Hardcover – Jan 22 2009
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Coyne's book is the best general explication of evolution that I know of and deserves its success as a best seller."
-R.C. Lewontin, New York Review of Books
"[Coyne] makes an unassailable case."
-New York Times
"In nine crisp chapters...the respected evolutionary biologist lays out an airtight case that Earth is unspeakably old and that new species evolve from previous ones."
"I recommend that Mr. Coyne's insightful and withering assessment of evolutionary studies of human psychology and behavior be taped to the bathroom mirrors of all those (perhaps especially journalists) inclined to be swept into excited announcements of What Evolution Shows About Us."
-Philip Kitcher, Wall Street Journal
"With logic and clarity, Coyne presents the vast trove of scientific evidence that supports Darwin's theory."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
"It's always a pleasure to tell people about a wonderful book, especially when the subject of the book is of universal and critical importance. Evolutionary geneticist Jerry A. Coyne has given us such a book...A book that may change the way you look at things-if you dare."
-The Huffington Post
"In this 200th anniversary year of Darwin's birth, Why Evolution is True ranks among the best new titles flooding bookstores."
-Christian Science Monitor --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jerry A. Coyne has been a professor at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution for twenty years. He specializes in evolutionary genetics and works predominantly on the origin of new species. He is a regular contributor to The New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and other publications.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
Coyne dismisses creationist arguments, but he avoids belittling religious beliefs or the values that might cause people to resist the case for evolution. Therefore, this is a book to give a creationist interested in seeing the best opposing arguments (better than Dawkins' "Greatest Show on Earth"), or to someone who is wavering on the edge, just needing a little more convincing. Obviously a dyed-in-the-wool creationist won't read it.
The story that's outlined here is truly astonishing and awe-inspiring, and hardly diminishes anyone's avenues for exploration. Some people think this is a non-magical explanation of origins, but to my way of thinking, natural selection is magic, considering its power to shape and create species, at least as outlined here. Just because you can invoke "natural selection" doesn't mean that you understand what it is. Anymore than invoking "God" increases understanding.
Anyway, a wonderful book that will give me much to think about in the future. At least I know what evolution really teaches, as opposed to some caricatured variation alleged by a dishonest creationist.
If that statement troubles you in any way, you owe it to yourself to read this book.
There is no more reason to doubt the Theory of Evolution than there is to doubt the Theory of Gravity.
Darwin first came up with the theory over 150 years ago, but keep in mind that even with the incredible amount of knowledge that has accumulated since then in anthropology (mountains of new fossils), genetics (Darwin knew nothing about DNA), geology (plate tectonics and the movement of continents), and physics (new methods of dating), not a single piece of evidence has contradicted evolution; on the contrary, we just keep finding data to support it.
The realization that in a way the universe has become self-aware through us, is an awe-inspiring and, given the size of the Universe, a humbling experience. It belittles Life to attribute it to magic.
I am proud to know that I am the product of an unbroken line of descendants linking me to the first form of life. Every single one of my ancestors, over the last 3.5 billion years, has managed to survive and reproduce. Awesome.
"Darwin looked beyond the obvious, suggesting--and supporting with copious evidence--two ideas that forever dispelled the idea of deliberate design. Those ideas were evolution [genetic change in populations, often producing changes in observable traits of organisms over time] and natural selection [see below]...[His book] "On the Origin of Species" [first edition published 1859] turned the mysteries of life's diversity [on Earth] from mythology [and the supernatural] into genuine science...
I hope you're convinced [after reading my book] that evolution is far more than a scientific theory...We've looked at evidence from many areas [such as:]
(1) the fossil record
(2) biogeography [the study of the distribution of animals and plants on the Earth`s surface]
(3) embryology [the branch of biology dealing with the formation and development of embryos]
(4) vestigial structures [a structure that is the evolutionary remnant of an earlier structure once useful in an ancestral species but that is no longer useful in the same way]
(5) suboptimal design [imperfect design is the mark of evolution and is, in fact, expected from evolution. The idea of perfect design is an illusion]...
[A]ll of that evidence show[s], without a [trace] of a doubt, that organisms have evolved. And its not just small "microevolutionary" changes either: we've seen new species form, both in real time and in the fossil record and we've found transitional forms ["missing links"] between major groups, such as whales and land animals. We've observed natural selection in action, and have every reason to [logically infer] that it can produce complex organisms and features."
The above comes from this fascinating book by Jerry Coyne who has been a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution for the past twenty years (where he specializes in evolutionary genetics and the origin of new species).
This book can be thought of as a modern, easy-to-read, and extremely evidence-based book that explains in modern terms Darwin's magnum opus, "On the Origin of Species." Thus, it's all here and explained clearly in a well-written narrative the essential processes and mechanisms of evolution:
(1) Adaptation: a change in structure, function, or form that improves the chance of survival for an animal or plant within a given environment. Example: the flowers of plants are adaptations to attract pollinators (like bees).
(2) Macroevolution: major evolutionary change where there is large changes in body form or the evolution of one type of animal or plant from another type. Example: the change from our primate ancestor to modern humans.
(3) Microevolution: minor evolutionary changes, such as the change in size or colour of a species. Example: evolution of different skin colours or hair types among human populations.
(4) Speciation: the evolution of new populations that are reproductively isolated from other populations.
(5) Natural Selection: process by which those individuals of a particular species with characters that help them to become adapted to their specific environment tend to leave more offspring and transmit their characters, while those less able to become adapted tend to leave fewer offspring or die out, so that after many generations there is usually a progressive tendency in that species to a greater degree of adaptation.
(6) Mutation: a small change in DNA.
(7) Genetic drift: a random change in gene (a segment of DNA) frequency within a population, resulting in mutations which, regardless of their adaptive value, become fixed within that population.
The last chapter of this book explains, among other things, why we still have people that say, "I find all the evidence for evolution very convincing--but I still don't believe it." I found this chapter to be well thought out.
Which brings up a question. Who is this book written for? Answer: For those who are uncertain about explanations of life's diversity. It is also written for those who want a good, comprehensive review of evolution with new, startling evidence. It is NOT written for those who do not value evidence, observation, logic, reason, and rationality.
Peppered throughout this book are illustrations that make the written narrative yet more easier to understand. And there is an glossary of essential terms to aid even more in understanding.
Some people might get the impression from hearing about this book that it is out to attack Creationism (and all its types like Intelligent Design). NO. This book's main emphasis is to explain evolution. What the author does do occasionally is to present evidence for some event and then he presents what creationists believe about the same event. This juxtaposition may have the reader saying to himself/herself: "How could anyone believe that?"
Finally, I recommend after reading this book, the excellent, easy-to-understand book "Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA" (2007) by Daniel J. Fairbanks.
In conclusion, this is a clear, easy-to-understand book (in fact, this book is so easy to read that a caveman/cavewoman can understand it) that shows that evolution has occurred, the evidence is overwhelming, and that no other rational explanation for what we see around us makes sense.
It also explains why the late scientist Carl Sagan stated in his 1980 landmark series "Cosmos" the following:
"Evolution is a fact, not a theory...Natural Selection...makes the music of life more beautiful as the eons pass."
(first published 2009; preface; introduction; 9 chapters; main narrative 235 pages; notes; glossary; suggestions for further reading; references; illustration credits; index)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews