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The Theory of Evolution: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Why It Works

The Theory of Evolution: What It Is, Where It Came From, and Why It Works

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  • Print Length:
    228 pages
  • Publisher:
    Wiley; 1 edition
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Description

Popular legend has it that the theory of evolution sprang fully formed from Darwin's brain, like Venus from the head of Zeus. Mills, an award-winning science writer and veterinarian, pulls back the curtain on the dozens of scientists who have contributed to our modern understanding of evolution. Even before Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, scientists contemplated the idea; Mills includes a poem by Darwin's grandfather that comes close to our modern understanding of the origin of life. Mills describes the evolution of evolutionary theory, along with the many pitfalls and theoretical dead ends encountered along the way. Darwin himself was not free from error, initially believing that inheritance was caused by a commingling of the parents' blood in the fetus. Any discussion of evolution must include the strong and ongoing anti-evolution movement, and Mills successfully weaves this into her narrative. In a section on eugenics and social Darwinism, Mills clears away confusion over what evolution does and doesn't claim about humanity and explores the theory's misuses and abuses at the hands of politicians. Mills's writing is concise and elegant, making a compelling story out of an avalanche of scientific papers and public debates. Even for a student of evolution, this book contains a few surprises. For the novice, Mills provides a complete glossary that demystifies scientific jargon. The discussion of the most recent debates on evolution is a little opaque, but readers will finish this book understanding what evolution is, where it came from and why it works, just as the title promises. And with a simpler style than Larson's, this will be accessible to a larger contingent of readers. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Popular legend has it that the theory of evolution sprang fully formed from Darwin's brain, like Venus from the head of Zeus. Mills, an award-winning science writer and veterinarian, pulls back the curtain on the dozens of scientists who have contributed to our modern understanding of evolution. Even before Darwin wrote ""On the Origin of Species"", scientists contemplated the idea; Mills includes a poem by Darwin's grandfather that comes close to our modern understanding of the origin of life. Mills describes the evolution of evolutionary theory, along with the many pitfalls and theoretical dead ends encountered along the way. Darwin himself was not free from error, initially believing that inheritance was caused by a commingling of the parents' blood in the fetus. Any discussion of evolution must include the strong and ongoing anti-evolution movement, and Mills successfully weaves this into her narrative. In a section on eugenics and social Darwinism, Mills clears away confusion over what evolution does and doesn't claim about humanity and explores the theory's misuses and abuses at the hands of politicians. Mills's writing is concise and elegant, making a compelling story out of an avalanche of scientific papers and public debates. Even for a student of evolution, this book contains a few surprises. For the novice, Mills provides a complete glossary that demystifies scientific jargon. The discussion of the most recent debates on evolution is a little opaque, but readers will finish this book understanding what evolution is, where it came from and why it works, just as the title promises. And with a simpler style than Larson's (reviewed above), this will be accessible to a larger contingent of readers. (May) FYI: ""This is the second volume in Wiley's What It Is, Where It Came From, and Why It Works series."" (""Publishers Weekly"", March 22, 2004)

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