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Why Evolution Is True

Why Evolution Is True

3.9 73
by Jerry A. Coyne

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Why evolution is more than just a theory: it is a fact

In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant “intelligent design,” there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned—the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection. Even Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, while

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Why Evolution Is True (Custom) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
geo_grad_student More than 1 year ago
This book has it all! From speciation to adaptation and everything in between. I love the way he presents the fossil record and shows that a prediction about ancestry can be proved true. The author actually states creationists arguments and then proceeds to blow them out of the water with multiple examples to support every point of his discussion! Bravo!! This is a great read and I recommend it for anyone wanting to gain more insight into why evolution really is true!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic read, but it's not for everyone. If you're not convinced about evolution, but you're capable of having an open mind, it's a wonderful book. If you believe in evolution conceptually but have never been aware of the astounding amount of evidence supporting it this is a wonderful book to read. However, if you're close-minded or intent on believing in creationism regardless of the evidence all around us then this is a terrible book for you. Another reader review on this site describes the book as a "reminder of the far strech of the human mind to rationalize belief" and I couldn't agree more. However, he's trying to defend creationism. This book helps the reader realize who is really warping reality here, and it's clearly not those who know evolution is true.

This book is extremely well put together, interesting and easy to read. Every chapter is packed with facts and interesting explanations that not only gets the reader thinking about the world around him, but helps him realize the extent to which evolution binds our world together. Reading this book has given me a greater appreciation for nature and the world around me.

I couldn't recommend this title more, especially for those who aren't already well versed in the field of evolution. This well written and enjoyable book is great for anyone with an open mind or who needs more background on evolution. However, the close-minded individual who can't wrap his or her head around the truth in this book will not be able to appreciate it.
DicranurusMD More than 1 year ago
Given the raging culture wars, there is an abundance of misinformation being disseminated. This book lays out in a very clear and understanding manner the irrefutable evidence that establishes that all animals, including humans, share a common ancestor and that evolution is a scientific fact. A must read for anyone interested in science and science education.
Sapient More than 1 year ago
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of evolution before reading this book, but after reading it... I know I do. Great book for those who get evolution, but would like to really understand it. Imperative for those who do not get it and even claim it to be untrue. Useful and informative for all.
Rachaelreader More than 1 year ago
Evolution is a fantastic book and is meant to be informational.
Good Book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A summary of the latest research on this topic. Fascinating science in an easy to read book. Full of facts and, as an added bonus of digital books, full of links for subsequent reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellently documented and easy to understand presentation of the evidence for biological evolution. Every individual wanting to understand the importance of science for learning about nature and ourselves will benefit from the education this book provides.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read. Should be a textbook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazingly insightful, it was occasionally difficult to read (reads almost like a textbook, sometimes) but it had plenty of examples to balance out its large vocabulary.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
In this superb book, Jerry Coyne, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, makes what the New York Times called 'an unassailable case' for evolution. He sums up the modern theory of evolution: "Life on Earth evolved gradually beginning with one primitive species - perhaps a self-replicating molecule - that lived more than 3.5 billion years ago; it then branched out over time, throwing off many new and diverse species; and the mechanism for most (but not all) evolutionary change is natural selection." The theory has six components: evolution, gradualism, speciation, common ancestry, natural selection ('the non-random survival of random variants' - Richard Dawkins), and nonselective mechanisms of evolutionary change. Coyne writes, "Given the gradual pace of evolution, it's unreasonable to expect to see selection transforming one 'type' of plant or animal into another - so-called macroevolution - within a human lifetime. Though macroevolution is occurring today, we simply won't be around long enough to see it. Remember that the issue is not whether macroevolutionary change happens - we already know from the fossil record that it does - but whether it was caused by natural selection, and whether natural selection can build complex features and organisms." He continues, "creationists often claim that if we can't see a new species evolve during our lifetime, then speciation doesn't occur. But this argument is fatuous: it's like saying that because we haven't seen a single star go through its complete life cycle, stars don't evolve, or because we haven't seen a new language arise, languages don't evolve." Coyne argues, "If we want to see selection in action, then, we should look in species that have short generation times and are adapting to a new environment." He cites Galapagos finches, soapberry bugs in the New World and wild mustard plants, then writes, "There are many more examples, but they all demonstrate the same thing: we can directly witness natural selection leading to better adaptation." He sums up, "we've seen new species form, both in real time and in the fossil record, and we've found transitional forms, between major groups, such as whales and land animals." As he points out, "Despite innumerable, possible observations that could prove evolution untrue, we don't have a single one. We don't find mammals in Precambrian rocks, humans in the same layers as dinosaurs, or any other fossils out of evolutionary order." He concludes, "Selection is both revolutionary and disturbing for the same reason: it explains apparent design in nature by a purely materialistic process that doesn't require creation or guidance by supernatural forces."
TyJK More than 1 year ago
I recently finished this book and I liked the level of information it provided. This was my first book that I have read on theory and I wasn't surprised when there were two main theories that were debated. The quality of this book was good and the reading level was higher than I had hoped. This book proved difficult to read. There were many pace slowing words like "paleoanthropologist" and many words in latin. That is what you'd expect in a book about the evolution of species, their scientific names. Overall I enjoyed the book and surely learned a thing or two. The information was acurate but narrowed. He included the theory of natural selection and the theory of intelligent design. I know for a fact that there are many more theories than just these two. Coyne also highly preferred the theory of natural selection and might as well have left the theory of intelligent design out of his book. He is athiest afterall. I myself have no preference to any evolutionary theories and respect the fact that many people believe in a certain theory. Throughout the book, Coyne quoted Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" that I didn't like. I might just read some of it, maybe the half that he didn't quote. I didn't mind reading the quotes but Coyne could have proved points without Darwin's input. I believe that Coyne used too many examples and could have proved his points with a lot less examples. The quotes were helpful, plentiful, and somewhat unneeded at certain points. I liked the fact that Coyne does his own research. He breeds gnats or Drosophila and this helps him study evolution as well as other things. He gives examples of sexual selection and sexual dimorphisms through his own exoerience. I like this because it makes me feel like I'm reading a book written by someone who knows what they are writing through first-hand experience. I also liked the fact that He added the chapter "What About Us?" Most books on evolution do not include humans. Schools aren't allowed to teach in depth about evolution and specifically the evolution of humans which he gives an example of in his preface. This is for reasons like religion and beliefs. I have first-hand experience with a legal topic in schools that caused problems. In my fifth grade class, there was a Mexican student that is a decendant of Aztecs and had similar beliefs. My class was learning about a war spain had with the Aztecs and this student had to leave the class before the teacher taught us. Just imagine a teacher asking all Christian and Jewish students to leave the classroom before they taught about evolution. I myself am Catholic but do not mind learning things against religion. Some people are highly offended by those teachings though. I learned many interesting facts in this book like the fact that Lactoseintolerance is genetic. I personally liked this book and think that it was worth the time it took to read. I recommend this book to all who can accept an athiest theory based book on evolution, and to all who want to learn something new. even if you skim through this book, you might just learn something.
joepr More than 1 year ago
Creationists always fear the evolotuion theory,,,Reason?,,It will shake the very foundation of their belives.Nothing else,,and if so,,will end their ca$hy bu$$ine$,simple.One needs to look to the sky and if you have your eyes open,will see the greatness of the universe,if you look around on earth,you will see that life as we know it,not only is diverse but unique and beatifull.The author explains in a very simple way,how life comes from a very simple begining,evolves and becomes complex,and now,we as a species are(for good or bad)the crown jewel of evolution,self aware of our existence.If creationists doubt or deny the existence of the big ban,the universe,all the forces,and laws,the begining of earths life and our existance,just look at you cell phone and you will see how "we"as a evolved dominating species,harness all the universe forces,into a every day thing that even them cant live without.I read this book and now i see life in a diferent way,its diversification and yet its similarity.Thank Mr Coyne,its a great job.I highly recomend it.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Good read for anyone wanting accurate knowledge on evolution. Real science in layman terms and explained very well.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
In this very accessible volume, Coyne presents the major aspects of evolutionary theory and their evidence in juxtaposition to the claims of creationism and intelligent design (ID). Coyne includes many explications of important research, especially as related to natural history, biogeography, and ecology – which makes for a fascinating read. Having presented the scientific evidence, Coyne concludes with a chapter addressing the core problem with what many who reject evolutionary theory struggle: a sense of loss of human nature especially with respect to morality. He does a decent job presenting these concerns considering he is not a philosopher nor a theologian. I enjoyed the book but am left wondering for whom did he write it. He suggests that he writes for those who don't understand the evidence and those accept it but still are not convinced. I do not think his treatment will address these because he has gone after the straw man – creationism and ID which are so obviously not science. Coyne appears to place all religious views in the same kettle while at the same time wanting to almost embrace their basis for morality. To fully address this would take another book and a different author. Despite my criticism, Coyne has done his job well. This is a good book for summarizing the basic evidence for evolution and how this evidence counters creationist/ID claims but it is also valuable for his great examples. I think this would make a great supplemental text for introductory biology classes – this is far more readable and interesting than even the chapters on evolution in the classic text by Campbell and Reece. I highly recommend this book to those caught in the debate or struggle and those interested in the history of evolutionary theory with respect to religion and broader history.
dwellNC More than 1 year ago
One of many books I've read on Evolution, but it is certainly one of the best. 
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If you like dawkins, read this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the perfect way to fix most of my curiousity when it comes to evolutionary theory.
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