Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design

Overview

Humanity's physical design flaws have long been apparent—we get hemorrhoids and impacted wisdom teeth, for instance—but do the imperfections extend down to the level of our genes? Inside the Human Genome is the first book to examine the philosophical question of why, from the perspectives of biochemistry and molecular genetics, flaws exist in the biological world. Distinguished evolutionary geneticist John Avise offers a panoramic yet penetrating exploration of the many gross deficiencies in human DNA—ranging ...

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Overview

Humanity's physical design flaws have long been apparent—we get hemorrhoids and impacted wisdom teeth, for instance—but do the imperfections extend down to the level of our genes? Inside the Human Genome is the first book to examine the philosophical question of why, from the perspectives of biochemistry and molecular genetics, flaws exist in the biological world. Distinguished evolutionary geneticist John Avise offers a panoramic yet penetrating exploration of the many gross deficiencies in human DNA—ranging from mutational defects to built-in design faults—while at the same time offering a comprehensive treatment of recent findings about the human genome. The author shows that the overwhelming scientific evidence for genomic imperfection provides a compelling counterargument to intelligent design. He also develops a case that theologians should welcome rather than disavow these discoveries. The evolutionary sciences can help mainstream religions escape the shackles of Intelligent Design, and thereby return religion to its rightful realm—not as the secular interpreter of the biological minutiae of our physical existence, but rather as a respectable philosophical counselor on grander matters of ultimate concern.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wonderfully crafted."—The Journal of Heredity

Mention in Evolutionary Anthropology

listed in Birdbooker Report

"A wonderful trip through the workings—and non-workings!—of the human genome. The author opens the door to a view of life that is exciting for those who love science and theologically stimulating for those with religious beliefs. Everyone who cares about human nature should read this book."—Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University, and author of Darwinism and its Discontents

"Over millennia we have become experts in theodicy—vindicating the perfections of God despite the world's errors and evils. Having now discovered a great deal about life at and below the cellular level, we know that our genetic machinery is full of waste, mistakes, dead ends, and the molecular equivalent of evil. No intelligent designer would produce such a mess. But it works, and it is exactly what would result from genetic evolution. In this eloquent look at the human genome, distinguished evolutionary geneticist John C. Avise makes it all clear and accessible."—Paul R. Gross, co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design

"With characteristic insight, learning, and clarity, John Avise makes a compelling case for non-intelligent design. There is much to learn from this engrossing and profoundly original book-read on, your interest will never wane."—Francisco J. Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, and author of Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

"Avise dares to show his readers what's really going on with our DNA...a timely and important work."—BioScience

"Avise's account is concise but rich in historic and medical detail, and the prose is elegant and lucid. The book is a joy to read, and is suitable for anyone who is interested in science and medicine enough to be a casual reader of Scientific American or Discover magazines." — Reports of the National Center for Science Education

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195393439
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/12/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Avise is Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, at the University of California, Irvine, and an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Eternal Paradox 1

Ch. 2 Fallible Design: Protein-Coding DNA Sequences 41

Ch. 3 Baroque Design: Gratuitous Genomic Complexity 73

Ch. 4 Wasteful Design: Repetitive DNA Elements 107

Ch. 5 Intelligent or Non-Intelligent Design? 134

Epilogue 162

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