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Why Evolution is True


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Table of Contents

Preface ; Introduction ; 1. What is Evolution? ; 2. Written in The Rocks ; 3. Remnants: Vestiges, Embryos, and Bad Design ; 4. The Geography of Life ; 5. The Engine of Evolution ; 6. How Sex Drives Evolution ; 7. The Origin of Species ; 8. What about Us? ; 9. Evolution Redux ; Glossary ; Suggestions for Further Reading ; References

About the Author

Jerry A. Coyne is Professor of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago, where he specializes in evolutionary genetics. One of the world's leading evolutionary biologists, his textbook Speciation (2004, co-written with Allen Orr ) has become the standard reference work on speciation. An influential commentator in the evolution-creationism debate through book reviews, popular and technical articles, and public lectures, Coyne is frequently asked to comment issues of creationism by journalists and broadcasters and has appeared on radio and television shows debating creationists. In 2007 he was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


With great care, attention to the scientific evidence and a wonderfully accessible style, Coyne, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago, presents an overwhelming case for evolution. Ranging from biogeography to geology, from anatomy to genetics, and from molecular biology to physiology, he demonstrates that evolutionary theory makes predictions that are consistently borne out by the data--basic requirements for a scientific theory to be valid. Additionally, although fully respectful of those who promote intelligent design and creationism, he uses the data at his disposal to demolish any thought that creationism is supported by the evidence while also explaining why those ideas fall outside the bounds of science. Coyne directly addresses the concept often advanced by religious fundamentalists that an acceptance of evolution must lead to immorality, concluding that "evolution tells us where we came from, not where we can go." Readers looking to understand the case for evolution and searching for a response to many of the most common creationist claims should find everything they need in this powerful book, which is clearer and more comprehensive than the many others on the subject. Illus. (Jan. 26) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

November 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and Coyne's (Univ. of Chicago) excellent volume offers a crystal clear presentation of the evidence for evolution with no polemics, unnecessary technicalities, or undue epistemological speculation. His prose is not fancy but compelling in its clarity. This is Coyne's first book for a general audience; he has been doing distinguished research on speciation for many years and has written magazine articles on evolution and related topics. The author brings his extensive knowledge of evolution to his writing but is spare with details of his own work, concentrating on explaining all the independent lines of evidence for evolution. These include the fossil record, vestigial organs, embryology, makeshift design, biogeography, direct and indirect observations of natural and sexual selection, and observations of speciation itself. He addresses the perennial counterarguments with effective dispatch without being insulting. Many recent writers, from Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins through Sean B. Carroll and Neil Shubin, have made wonderful contributions to the public understanding of evolution, but Coyne has done the best job of simply laying out the evidence. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Walter L. Cressler, West Chester Univ. Lib., PA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review from previous edition Coyne is hugely knowledgeable and an excellent writer. * Nature, Vol. 462 *
Review from previous edition One of the very best and most important book on evolution for broad audiences in at least 50 years. * Douglas J. Futuyma, Trends in Ecology and Evolution *
A scholarly, yet delightfully readable account. * Tom Tregenza, Current Biology, Volume 19 *
We must present the evidence, and Jerry Coyne's book does an excellent job of it. * Massimo Pigliucci, Science *
Evolution is true...Coyne displays it for us in a way that no objective reader could fail to find compelling. * Richard Dawkins, TLS *
'Why Evolution is True'is outstandingly good. * Richard Dawkins, TLS *
Coyne's knowledge of evolutionary biology is prodigious, his deployment of it as masterful as his touch is light. * Richard Dawkins, TLS *
His coverage is enviably comprehensive, yet he simultaneously manages to keep the book compact and readable. * Richard Dawkins, TLS *
Coyne's book is just what we needed in this bicentennial year to anchor Darwin where he belongs. * Nigel Hawkes, The Times *
A clear, engaging, accessible explanation of the evidence for evolution. * Massimo Pigliucci, Science *
Excellent volume. * Clive Cookson, Financial Times *
Lucid, thorough and eminently readable, this book is a delight from start to finish. * Doug Johnstone, *
Coyne gives a clear and engaging overview of what evolution is, and how it works. * BBC Focus *
Coyne is as graceful a stylist and as clear a scientific explainer as Darwin himself (no mean feat). It's one of the best single-volume introductions to evolutionary theory ever. * Wired magazine *
A masterfully concise reinstating of [Darwin's] big idea. * Karen Shook, THE *
There are many superb books on evolution, but this one is superb in a new way - it explains the latest evidence for evolution lucidly, thoroughly, and with devastating effectiveness. * Steven Pinker *
For anyone who wishes a clear, well-written explanation of evolution by one of the foremost scientists working on the subject, 'Why Evolution is True' should be your choice. * E. O. Wilson *
I once wrote that anybody who didn't believe in evolution must be stupid, insane or ignorant, and I was then careful to add that ignorance is no crime. I should now update my statement: aybody who doesn't believe in evolution is stupid, insane, or hasn't read Jerry Coyne. * Richard Dawkins *
An engaging and accessible account of one of the most important ideas ever conceived by mankind. The book is a stunning achievement, written by one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists. Coyne has produced a classic. * Neil Shubin, author of 'Your Inner Fish' *

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