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Why Evolution is True - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1

This book is easy to recommend, it's written by Jerry Coyne. It might be a little too basic for some, though. I think I will pick it up when it comes out because this writer knows his subject.

[edit] They spelled his name wrong in the second line of this article btw.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #250488

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 2 by rod-the-farmer

Tiny nit pick....I thought pretty much everyone agreed that evolution is true. Only the cause of evolution was in dispute. Natural selection versus the "no actual speciation, just goddidit by creating separate species originally. Yes to micro, no to macro." Or am I being simplistic and not recognising the multiple flavours of the other side ?

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:49:00 UTC | #250491

j.mills's Avatar Comment 3 by j.mills

I'd have been happier with Why Evolution Is Real...

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:53:00 UTC | #250493

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 4 by mordacious1

Publisher probably picked the title, they usually do.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:54:00 UTC | #250494

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 5 by Gregg Townsend

2. Comment #264013 by rod-the-farmer

The title would have to be, "Why Natural Selection Is The Mechanism For The Fact Of Evolution." I think the publisher probably opted for a simplified title.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:58:00 UTC | #250496

tvictor's Avatar Comment 6 by tvictor

"...creationists can lie faster than anyone can rebut them, so the best strategy is to focus on the real evidence and force critics to address it directly. "

Couldn't agree more

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:59:00 UTC | #250499

brfuk's Avatar Comment 7 by brfuk

Sadly I very much doubt this will be ready by anyone other than those who already affirm trust in the book's motion.
Although it may serve as extra armament for those involved in the debate...

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:00:00 UTC | #250500

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 8 by Styrer-

After I had bought and read 'The End of Faith', which, as a new-comer to the whole debate I thought was definitive, there came in swift succession Hitchens, then Dawkins, whose name and publishing power, may I make so bold, guaranteed a readership far in excess of the arguably more forthright and authoritative and deserving book by Harris.

Why Evolution is True is a pathetic title, I think, its approbation at the hands of such a man as PZ most questionable, and I think that - as the inverse to the anti-religious timetable followed before - it is now actually entirely up to Dawkins to make the case for evolution along the most public lines as he has set himself by way of the magnificently-selling 'The God Delusion'.

Professor Dawkins - or are you now simply Dr.? - it's over to you still.

You'd better make your next a bloody blinder. No excuses.

Best,
Styrer

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:04:00 UTC | #250503

PERSON's Avatar Comment 9 by PERSON

Nothing wrong with the title, IMO.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:11:00 UTC | #250506

jshuey's Avatar Comment 10 by jshuey

The title is excellent, it seems to me, if only in light of its intended audience and the way lay people think and talk. Our opponents often refer to evolution as a lie perpetrated by evil atheistic scientists, and the title appears to address that claim head on.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:27:00 UTC | #250509

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 11 by Caudimordax

Comment #264013 by rod-the-farmer

I thought pretty much everyone agreed that evolution is true. Only the cause of evolution was in dispute.


Two words: Adnan Oktar - sorry two more: Harun Yahya. See example of un-evolved fishing lure, still exactly the same millions of years after god created it.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:38:00 UTC | #250512

Inferno's Avatar Comment 12 by Inferno

Hmmm, I might pick this up. Been wanting a straight foward lay person guide to the evidence for evolution. Dawkins Ancestor's Tale was good, but the evidence was scattered among various (interesting) but side-tracking tales.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:51:00 UTC | #250514

a non e-moose's Avatar Comment 13 by a non e-moose

isn't dawkins working on a similar book himself at the moment?

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 13:54:00 UTC | #250518

Swordmaiden's Avatar Comment 14 by Swordmaiden

I will definitely get this book. The simpler the better for one such as I. I need to get my counter-creationist arguements polished up as I have so far concentrated on the relgious issues. I only just found out what a fossil actually is! Hope there's pictures!
Thicky SM

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:02:00 UTC | #250521

Dhamma's Avatar Comment 15 by Dhamma

Oh, bad timing. As non e-moose says, Dawkins is working on a book that will teach people evidences for evolution.

I hope they're not too similar.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:09:00 UTC | #250523

beelzebub's Avatar Comment 16 by beelzebub

I'd be happy with the collected works of Calilasseia :-)
Anyone know any more about RD's next book?

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #250527

debacles's Avatar Comment 17 by debacles

I actually like the title because it seems like a title that might actually grab a creationist to read it. I really don't see a problem. And yes, RODTHEFARMER, WE all agree on evolution being fact...but i think it is far more important to make people accept the theory than for us to delve deeper into it. Once you get the jist of it, I believe the fine details are a lot more complicated than you'd ever expect. Once one can grasp the basic idea, he can make reasonable hypothesis on an infinite number of problems/questions...

And, yes, Richard is in the process of writing his version.

If you're confused about certain aspects that science claims as highly probable theories, you should read it. But I doubt most readers on RD.net have trouble with the obvious stuff.

I just got through reading all of Richard's books... and I have to say, the only writer who seems to delve deeper into the understanding of life is Dan Dennett. For anyone else who's looking for their next mental trip after going through Dawkins' repertoire, I suggest Dan Dennett.

I know i might be getting off topic, but i'm surprised evidence based books on evolution are interesting to people here. Isn't the evidence somewhat obvious and overwhelming? I feel like evidence in evolution at this point is often to figure out history and have a clearer story... I'd be much more interested in a book which presents evidence concerning the big bang, black holes, relativity, quantum theories, quarks level interactions, etc... this stuff seems a little more demanding of structured evidence and explanation.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:17:00 UTC | #250528

daveau's Avatar Comment 18 by daveau

2. Comment #264013 by rod-the-farmer

I thought pretty much everyone agreed that evolution is true. Only the cause of evolution was in dispute.


Here in the good ol' US of A, evolution is in doubt. The mechanism of natural selection doesn't even enter into it. Most people don't get that far.

Thanks a lot for making me say that out loud. Now I really am depressed...

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:27:00 UTC | #250533

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 19 by Jay Cee

"just got through reading all of Richard's books... and I have to say, the only writer who seems to delve deeper into the understanding of life is Dan Dennett. For anyone else who's looking for their next mental trip after going through Dawkins' repertoire, I suggest Dan Dennett."

Sorry to be off topic as well. Have you read Darwins Dangerous Idea? I think it's excellent. I love the thought experiment with the survival machine which is inhabited by a human and has to survive until the year 2400. An incredible thought experiment, really. As the AI machine tries to survive until 2400 it's original programming "misfires". It puts the flesh on the bones of Dawkins' point about how our Darwinian mechanisms can misfire. I recommend it.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:27:00 UTC | #250534

polestar's Avatar Comment 21 by polestar

[18. Comment #264055 by daveau on October 13, 2008 at 3:27 pm

2. Comment #264013 by rod-the-farmer
I thought pretty much everyone agreed that evolution is true. Only the cause of evolution was in dispute.

Here in the good ol' US of A, evolution is in doubt. The mechanism of natural selection doesn't even enter into it. Most people don't get that far.]

Alas, here in the good ol' UK it's not a great deal better. A poll by the reputable Ipsos-MORI group in January 2006 (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/content/bbc-survey-on-the-origins-of-life.ashx) showed that only 25% of respondents are against teaching creationism or ID in science classes. When respondents were asked to choose only one theory, a mere 48% went for evolution. When they were allowed to list their preferences, only 69% were in favour of teaching evolution in school science, from which you have to deduct the 44% also in favour of teaching creationism.

As with all reporting on statistics, this was handled pretty ineptly by the media at the time: to paraphrase the NRA, statistics don't lie, people do. (And if my maths above is wrong, I would be grateful for any correction).

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:58:00 UTC | #250552

debacles's Avatar Comment 20 by debacles

No I haven't. I started reading Consciousness Explained 2 days ago after finishing the Ancestors Tale. I have a tendency to storm through things I'm interested in. It seems to me that Dennett's stuff is a lot heavier than Dawkins' though, so it'll probably take me atleast a week to get through this one. Maybe that's because Dawkins explains the obvious so beautifully, whilst Dennett is great at making things that are difficult to understand or even speak about graspable.

Either way, is it important that I read his stuff in chronological order?
I found it quite necessary to read Dawkins in order, atleast when it comes to the Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:58:00 UTC | #250551

capacitor76's Avatar Comment 22 by capacitor76

One may rightly think the title to be inappropriate. It isn't even good grammar to start with; it should be something like "Why The Theory Of Evolution By Natural Selection Over Billions Of Years Is Plausible", or "Why The Claim That Evolution By Natural Selection Leads To Speciation Is True". However these are sort of awkward phrases, not very handy for a book title supposed to appeal to the layperson, so I don't think pedantry is in order here.

As for evolution of some sort ("micro-evolution") not being disputed even by creationists, I think that's beside the point. No staunch Bible Belt creationist would ever subscribe to the statement, "evolution is true". "Evolution", to them, means "that heretical bullshit spouted by those God-hating liberal communist Nazi elitists who dwell in those demon-infested coastal Sodoms". It's a term which makes them see red, and anyone who mentions it affirmatively is immediately viewed as the worst of enemies.

However, not all Bible Belt creationists are staunch adherents to the dogma. There are quite a few who don't have the neurological disposition to be strongly religious and merely adhere to the dogma because their peers do, not usually giving it much thought. Books like the above can in fact sway some of them.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 15:35:00 UTC | #250565

capacitor76's Avatar Comment 23 by capacitor76


Alas, here in the good ol' UK it's not a great deal better. A poll by the reputable Ipsos-MORI group in January 2006 (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/content/bbc-survey-on-the-origins-of-life.ashx) showed that only 25% of respondents are against teaching creationism or ID in science classes. When respondents were asked to choose only one theory, a mere 48% went for evolution. When they were allowed to list their preferences, only 69% were in favour of teaching evolution in school science, from which you have to deduct the 44% also in favour of teaching creationism.


This statistics has been brought up before, and even Richard himself rather carelessly cited it in his response to Libby Purves. However there are quite a few other surveys which suggest much less support for creationism in the UK, including some which suggest over 40 per cent of adult Britons to be agnostics or atheists. In combination with a state church which explicitly advocates evolution, this would hardly be compatible with the above. It's notable that Ipsos-MORI tied advocacy of evolution to atheism or at least non-theism ("God had no part in the process"). This probably pushed many advocates of theistic evolution into the 'ID' or 'Unsure' categories.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 15:44:00 UTC | #250571

Jamie V's Avatar Comment 24 by Jamie V

It might be a little too basic for some, though.


That sentence is one of the main reasons why I will buy this book. No scientific explanation is too basic for me, sadly.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 16:49:00 UTC | #250604

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 25 by Cartomancer

Evolution is true?

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 17:38:00 UTC | #250624

Pete H's Avatar Comment 26 by Pete H

Books like this are very important because evolution and natural selection is so widely relevant and you obviously can't leave education in the hands of the professional experts.

Not only do creationists lie faster than people can rebut them, but prospective believers in all kinds of crap are born and mature faster than they can be educated and enabled to think independently and critically about everything important. There is so much competing crap around that the critical ideas need to be packaged and presented very efficiently and effectively.

I see this in my own kids already. They're not quite up to speed to take on much until they're about 10 or 11. Then you've only got a few short years before anything they could learn directly from parents is considered intrinsically worthless. Basic books are the only hope.


One day I hope to see similar productions from credible authors in the field of Economics.

Perhaps something like: "The Money Delusion" and "Why Banking is Not True".

Unfortunately we'll we waiting a long time considering that the equivalents of biological creationists are routinely awarded Nobel prizes in economics.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 18:56:00 UTC | #250644

Gamma ut's Avatar Comment 27 by Gamma ut

Pre-orderd. And I like the title, and the general idea of the book. I like science, but I haven't had a biology class in a while so it will be nice to read something written with a lay-audience in mind. Its always a treat to read something written from an expert who is also a good writer.

Sound like anyone familiar? :)

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:21:00 UTC | #250649

ICONIC FREEDOM's Avatar Comment 28 by ICONIC FREEDOM

Whatever it takes to alleviate society of this mental illness called religion, I'm up for - and it helps to bring science to a rather ignorant portion of society that doesn't even know what the scientific method is all about.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:24:00 UTC | #250650

Styrer-'s Avatar Comment 29 by Styrer-

Comment #264028 by PERSON on October 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Nothing wrong with the title, IMO.


It's a dreadful title because it ineluctably leads any viewer of it to think 'Maybe it's not'.

And then they walk past and pick up the latest Andy McNab.

If I wanted to make the evolutionary point, in a book, I wouldn't even mention the word 'evolution' until - well, at least the preface.

But no way on the cover.

Styrer

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 21:47:00 UTC | #250687

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 30 by Enlightenme..

^"I wouldn't even mention the word 'evolution' until - well, at least the preface"

It would sink into obscurity though!

It should have a subtitle:
..and why Darwinian natural selection is true.

Mon, 13 Oct 2008 22:39:00 UTC | #250693