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Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne

Why Evolution Is True (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Jerry A. Coyne

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8762410,122 (4.35)31
Title:Why Evolution Is True
Authors:Jerry A. Coyne
Info:Penguin Books (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Read but unowned, Non-fiction
Tags:American, English, Non-fiction

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Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne (2009)


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Evolution is the most beautiful, astonishing and splendid thing to contemplate in all of creation. To me, it is more extraordinary than the workings of the cosmos or the details of the subatomic realm. I consider it a priviledge to have read enough on the topic to finally grasp it. Thanks to the crystal clarity and masterful giving-overness of this book, I feel I am now finally able to successfully debate this topic with anyone who has chosen the devil's advocate position. If challenged, I will keep Darwin's words in mind: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." A thoroughly enriching book.
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
WARNING: This book has the potential to make you start thinking like an Evolutionist.

I have read a couple other books on the same subject, but this one takes a deep-dive into the intricacies of various species. The entire book is very readable and there are quite a few 'WOW' moments I had while going through it.

Two chapters - How Sex Drives Evolution and What About Us, are what I found to be the most interesting ones.

3.6 million years ago Lucy stood on her legs and hence today I'm able to write this review. I've read about Lucy before, so it was nice recalling of her. ( )
  nmarun | Mar 11, 2014 |
Pretty good! Not super-condescending, and relatively free of jargon. Coyne has no issue with addressing the problems of evolution, which is something a lot mainstream evolutionists won't do. His thorough attack on evolutionary psychologists in chapter nine is pretty fantastic! ( )
  veranasi | Jan 17, 2014 |
This is a suggested book related to one of my current classes on Coursera, so I decided to pick it up. I already believe in evolution, so I can't judge on whether it's convincing -- I already know that evolution by natural selection is mathematically inevitable, and I know of a lot of the supporting evidence.

Still, this is the kind of book that produces all sorts of titbits that you didn't know before, and which lays things out so clearly it helps you understand how to explain it to other people (which, to my mind, means a deeper understanding of the theory -- if you can explain it, there are fewer grey areas).

Overall, it's clearly written, with lots of supporting diagrams and so on where it's useful, and a good set of footnotes and suggestions for further reading. I found it interesting, too; perhaps not for a person with a science background to begin with, but for me (humanities background, science interest) it was easy but not boringly so.

Interestingly, he also touches a little on why people find it hard to accept evolution, and answers some of those objections, too -- for example, why our behaviour isn't fully dictated by our genes, why morality and ethics aren't dismantled in any way by evolution. ( )
  shanaqui | Jan 10, 2014 |
I have to start by saying that when I bought this book at my university bookstore for my Human Evolution and Paleoanthropolgy class, the clerk who checked me out mentioned how he hoped I proved the book wrong. I find this incredibly ironic because of what this book is all about. Coyne does not set out to prove creationism wrong, but to prove that evolution is true. And in my opinion, he does very well. When I first started this book I thought Coyne came off a little too aggressively. But by the end of chapter one I was feeling fine again. Maybe his intro was meant to weed out those who would only be angered by the rest of his book; I’m not entirely sure. But the book was very factual and scientific. There was no attacks against creationism, just data that pointed out the flaws in the argument. This is fairly basic information, so I definitely recommend it to anyone who is curious about the debate between evolution and creationism and doesn’t have a huge base of evolutionary knowledge already. For me, it was all mostly a review from past classes and books, but the information was organized in a easy to follow way. And while I had heard all of these concepts before, there were some that I now have a better understanding of. And there were a lot of little factoids about this and that species that I’ve never heard of. I had a lot of fun reading this book. The writing is straightforward and clear. There are perhaps other books out there that are more factual and less pervasive, but I went into this reading with the understanding that this book is more about the debates surrounding the validity of evolution than specifically evolution. I think for readers without a clear understanding of evolution, the book does a great job at informing readers about the topic. I do recommend it. ( )
  Kassilem | Sep 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
If you see how the reasoning works you’ll understand this isn’t particularly a problem for someone already committed to evolution in its totality. Because we all share a common ancestor, at some point reproduction had to evolve into the sexual realm, and because that has clearly happened, it must offer some kind of genetic advantage even if we don’t know what it is. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like faith in the absence of evidence to me.
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Among the wonders that science has uncovered about the universe in which we dwell, no subject has caused more fascination and fury than evolution.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contents: What is evolution -- Written in the rocks -- Remnants: vestiges, embryos, and bad design -- The geography of life -- The engine of evolution -- How sex drives evolution -- The origin of species -- What about us? -- Evolution redux.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670020532, Hardcover)

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 extolling the beauty of evolution and examining case studies, have not focused on the evidence itself. Yet the proof is vast, varied, and magnificent, drawn from many different fields of science. Scientists are observing species splitting into two and are finding more and more fossils capturing change in the past-dinosaurs that have sprouted feathers, fish that have grown limbs.

Why Evolution Is True weaves together the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the "indelible stamp" of the processes first proposed by Darwin. In crisp, lucid prose accessible to a wide audience, Why Evolution Is True dispels common misunderstandings and fears about evolution and clearly confirms that this amazing process of change has been firmly established as a scientific truth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Presents the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the indelible stamp of the evolutionary processes first proposed by Darwin.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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