Customer Reviews for

Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Clarification

This is an outstanding book, providing good, detailed evidence about the theory of evolution. Evolution is a theory, I'm afraid, albeit a supremely well-supported one. As far as 'facts' in science, ask any real scientist and they will tell you: there is no such thing. ...
This is an outstanding book, providing good, detailed evidence about the theory of evolution. Evolution is a theory, I'm afraid, albeit a supremely well-supported one. As far as 'facts' in science, ask any real scientist and they will tell you: there is no such thing. Nothing in science, other then solid, readily observable objects, is certain. There is this round earth, there is this hot sun, sure. But as far as scientific PROCESSES, we have no guarantees that scientific laws tomorrow will work in the same way that they work today. Ideas about PROCESSES in science can be disproven, but they cannot be proved. Evolution is not an observable body like a planet, it is a theory about a process of gradual organismic change. Even studies that attempt to 'disprove' evolution admit that much. Organismal change, and change of everything else for that matter, is inevitable as far as what mankind has observed. I don't understand why it causes people so much discomfort. This book details the processes of change, focusing on replicable studies and experiments conducted in credible settings by well-qualified scientists. And obviously, there are inherent limitations to this, one being that experimenting with evolution, in the scientific method sense of the word ¿experiment¿ is extremely difficult. Evolution doesn't lend itself well to being studied in experimental settings. One of evolution's major premises is that this process takes TIME, and a lot of it, to be observable. (This is particularly true of Macroevolution, which is impossible to even begin test within any one or even one hundred persons¿ lifetimes). Also, principles of natural change are driven by the environment, which itself changes, producing nothing but uncertainty about the 'direction' of evolutionary change. And when you can¿t predict something, it is quite difficult to construct an experimental hypothesis, which one then tests. Testing predictive hypothesies is what a scientific experiment is, by definition. The only way to do this, as far as evolution is concerned, is to control the experimental environment. If it is not controlled, the study is not an experiment, it is an exercise in observation from which inferences are drawn. But, observational studies, when considered in the aggregate, and combined with small scale experiments, do provide very credible support for the hypothesis of how evolution works. Organismal change in response to environmental stimuli is an extremely well-documented phenomenon, as this book describes, and starting with Darwin's own finches. It's pretty simple really, and it makes a lot of sense. Also, evolution doesn't require anyone to 'believe' in it. Science is a rational discipline, it doesn't ask anyone to take anything on faith. In fact, it requires scepticism. You want religion? Butt out of criticizing what you don't understand and feel free to read books about religion.

posted by Anonymous on March 17, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Interesting, but lacking

This book had a tighter story dealing with evolution that most others have had, but the book still tended to present evolution as fact instead of a theory. In addition to this, it glossed over/ignored the evidence that tends to disprove this theory. As you read this, ...
This book had a tighter story dealing with evolution that most others have had, but the book still tended to present evolution as fact instead of a theory. In addition to this, it glossed over/ignored the evidence that tends to disprove this theory. As you read this, it becomes quite evident that the major purpose is to convince you that evolution is 'fact' and that the major purpose is NOT to educate you on evolution: giving you the unbiased evidence for and against. I would suggest this book to anyone who already believes in evolution or wants to believe in evolution. I would not suggest this book for anyone who is wanting an unbiased, whole picture of what evolution really is.

posted by Anonymous on October 22, 2001

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Informative yet Interesting!

    Most of the unflattering reviews stem from the fact that this book addresses evolution from the standpoint that it's true, rather than that it might be true. The fact of the matter is, a scientific theory is the closest thing involving an explanation to absolute truth. They're *all* well-validated to the best of anyone's ability. The book is about evolution; it should address evolution as truth. This had all the information of a textbook and all the interest of a novel. It was exciting, concise and well-rounded. It gave solid facts alongside theory and addressed all of the major challenges to theory of evolution. I finished it feeling satisfied in every way.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    Clarification

    This is an outstanding book, providing good, detailed evidence about the theory of evolution. Evolution is a theory, I'm afraid, albeit a supremely well-supported one. As far as 'facts' in science, ask any real scientist and they will tell you: there is no such thing. Nothing in science, other then solid, readily observable objects, is certain. There is this round earth, there is this hot sun, sure. But as far as scientific PROCESSES, we have no guarantees that scientific laws tomorrow will work in the same way that they work today. Ideas about PROCESSES in science can be disproven, but they cannot be proved. Evolution is not an observable body like a planet, it is a theory about a process of gradual organismic change. Even studies that attempt to 'disprove' evolution admit that much. Organismal change, and change of everything else for that matter, is inevitable as far as what mankind has observed. I don't understand why it causes people so much discomfort. This book details the processes of change, focusing on replicable studies and experiments conducted in credible settings by well-qualified scientists. And obviously, there are inherent limitations to this, one being that experimenting with evolution, in the scientific method sense of the word ¿experiment¿ is extremely difficult. Evolution doesn't lend itself well to being studied in experimental settings. One of evolution's major premises is that this process takes TIME, and a lot of it, to be observable. (This is particularly true of Macroevolution, which is impossible to even begin test within any one or even one hundred persons¿ lifetimes). Also, principles of natural change are driven by the environment, which itself changes, producing nothing but uncertainty about the 'direction' of evolutionary change. And when you can¿t predict something, it is quite difficult to construct an experimental hypothesis, which one then tests. Testing predictive hypothesies is what a scientific experiment is, by definition. The only way to do this, as far as evolution is concerned, is to control the experimental environment. If it is not controlled, the study is not an experiment, it is an exercise in observation from which inferences are drawn. But, observational studies, when considered in the aggregate, and combined with small scale experiments, do provide very credible support for the hypothesis of how evolution works. Organismal change in response to environmental stimuli is an extremely well-documented phenomenon, as this book describes, and starting with Darwin's own finches. It's pretty simple really, and it makes a lot of sense. Also, evolution doesn't require anyone to 'believe' in it. Science is a rational discipline, it doesn't ask anyone to take anything on faith. In fact, it requires scepticism. You want religion? Butt out of criticizing what you don't understand and feel free to read books about religion.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2001

    a theory is a fact

    This is an excellent, let me repeat, excellent text rich in information about evolution esp., as the previous reviewer had mentioned with disgust, pro-evidence to evolution. True, it may seem like this book presents the Theory of Evolution as a fact, but what is a fact? Something that can be proven true or false is it not? Yes, and therefore it is a FACT. Hence, the book is not nefarious for presenting it as such. Besides, evolution is the only substancial theory for the, ahem, origin of species--not life. The Theory of Evolution remains a theory, but an ever progressing and developing one. Is it supported by experimental results? Yes. Is it disproved by experimental results? Yes. But the pro evidence tremendously outweighs the ones against it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2001

    Comprehensive and easy to read

    Zimmer does a great job of presenting evolution. This book is clear, concise, and a wonderful introduction to the process of evolution.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    This is one of Carl Zimmer's masterpiece books. Highly recommen

    This is one of Carl Zimmer's masterpiece books. Highly recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Solid and sound

    This book is a comorehensive look at evolution and the vast body of evidence that supports the most important theory in biology. It won't convince those who have proven so able ti ignore evidence, as reviews will indicate. But for those who want to understand this elegant theory and why scientists have no problem regarding evolution as true, this book is as good a place ti start as any.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2004

    Well written and comprehensive

    This book is an excellent primer on evolution and the travels of Darwin. It provides ample examples and illustrations of the development of the theory, and should give more than enough information to understand how evolutinary science applies to everyday life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    Misguided and outdated

    It is irresponsible to continue to present evolution theory as FACT. In the last century there has been mounting evidence each decade that MACRO-evolution is statistically absurd/impossible.Molecular biology,Cosmology,Astrophysics and statistical probability mathematics have disproven macro-evolution. Darwin himself was 'gravely' concerned of the lack of intermediary links in fossil records that still do not exist to this day.Macro- Evolution is based on soft science and crumbles under the weight of the above stated hard sciences of physics.A more appropriate title to this book is MacroEvolution: A hoax beyond a reasonable doubt.

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2001

    Interesting, but lacking

    This book had a tighter story dealing with evolution that most others have had, but the book still tended to present evolution as fact instead of a theory. In addition to this, it glossed over/ignored the evidence that tends to disprove this theory. As you read this, it becomes quite evident that the major purpose is to convince you that evolution is 'fact' and that the major purpose is NOT to educate you on evolution: giving you the unbiased evidence for and against. I would suggest this book to anyone who already believes in evolution or wants to believe in evolution. I would not suggest this book for anyone who is wanting an unbiased, whole picture of what evolution really is.

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    To: evolutionists: read open mindedly

    If there is proof of evidence then prove it. Most people just believe it cause that is what there taught, supposed "facts" from a thesis that cannot be proven but can be disproven in every aspect. For instance how come its been over 5000 years and we have seen adaptions to environments at best but we are still in the same species when stars(our sun) could not possibly live long enough for humans to evolve let alone form into living organisms not to mention the bible says that God created the earth and all the creatures living on it.please don't believe the lies they (our culture) will tell you.P.S. please don't just get mad read with as open a mind you can manage and also reply to "that jesus freak"P.P.S. we can debate about other topics such as the big bang theory or how you know God is real or even why you think someone hates you.All this coming from a 14 year old missionary's kid who has saved one person from suicide.Jesus loves you whether you care, want him to, or even if you hate him.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Listen

    This book is 100% false. God is the creater of all things. Stop trying to force lies down peoples throats. God created everything, eben you who is reading this. I'll pray for you all, hoping that one day you will discover the truth.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    By Lifthrasir; Bookmaster

    By Lifthrasir; Bookmaster
    Who created us in the first place? How did combustion create perfection? Dont diss religious people, we can read what we want and say what we wish. PS Darwin said "I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science. . .it is a mere rag of a hypothesis, with as many flaws as sound parts."

    0 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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