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Why Evolution Is True Hardcover – Jan 27 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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: 4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #159,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[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."
-Boston Globe

"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

"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 the past twenty years, where he specializes in evolutionary genetics and the origin of new species. He is a regular contributor to The New Republic, The Time Literary Supplement, and NPR. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his autobiography, 'godless', Dan Barker details the distinction between 'belief' and 'fact'. The first requires no scientific verification while the later does. In a kind, gentle, non-combative manner in 'Why Evolution is True', Coyne lays out the facts of evolution. He does not preach, threaten, or insist that you accept or decline his research. It's there for you to read, fact and fact. Its up to each reader to decide.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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Format: Paperback
I'm no scientist, and I'm of a background sympathetic to intelligent design. From my point of view, Coyne's book is the most convincing and best written option for proving the case for evolution. He effectively starts from the best evidence, creating a firm foundational case before moving to areas where there are more questions, or in the case of human evolution, where the greatest controversy lies.

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.
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Format: Hardcover

"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.
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Format: Hardcover
Evolution is a scientific fact.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Natural Law, Science, and the Social Construction of Reality

As a philosopher who has written on evolution, both from a scientific and ethical viewpoints, I found this book to be extremely clear in explaining what evolution is, and what it isn't, and why we all not only should, but MUST accept the truth of evolution.

I have two minor quibbles with the book, quibbles only a philosopher would have. One has to do with the use of the term 'theory' and the other with Coyne's discussion of values in the last chapter.

Coyne is essentially correct in stating that the scientific use of 'theory' is not the same as everyday usage. In science theories explain facts. For example, atomic theory explains why boiled water turns to steam. Evolution is a fact. The evidence is overwhelming. Yet people refuse to accept the truth of evolution by calling it a theory.

As Coyne points out, there are some problems with explaining certain aspects of the evolutionary process, but that, in no way, diminishes the truth of evolution. My minor quibble with his use of the term is that he sometimes uses it a bit imprecisely and sometimes comes close to everyday usage.

The book is set out in 9 self chapters, each presents what is needed to convince the reader of the truth of evolution. And, in the process, he demonstrates the shortcomings and fallacies of anti evolution arguments.

In chapter one he defines what evolution is: "Life on Earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species....more than 3.
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