Why Evolution Is True

  • by Jerry A. Coyne
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine
  • 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.NOTE: Some changes to the original text have been made with the author's approval.

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What the Critics Say

"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. Anybody who doesn't believe in evolution is stupid, insane, or hasn't read Jerry Coyne. I defy any reasonable person to read this marvellous book and still take seriously the 'breathtaking inanity' that is intelligent design 'theory' or its country cousin, young earth creationism." (Richard Dawkins)
"Coyne wonders what it would take to convince the apparently reasonable people who still deny evolution. A new Milton, perhaps, to justify evolution's ways in great poetry? Meanwhile, at a time...when good evolution books are rife, Coyne has given general readers one of the best." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Perfect !! Just what I was looking for.

This audio-book was just what I was looking for, and more. I am very interested in Evolution but not formally educated in the sciences. I wanted to really understand Natural Selection and be able to explain what I always felt: that Evolution by Natural Selection is as much a "fact" as any accepted but not totally provable scientific theory such as "The Laws of Gravity". Warning: Do not listen to this if you are a proponent of Intelligent Design or a Creationist and do not want to be convinced otherwise. I'm not being facetious or demeaning. The author takes on all the ID arguments against Natural Selection I've ever heard and more and gives detailed, scientific, and non-judgmental rebuttals to each one that should be very understandable to a moderately intelligent and open minded individual. In addition, I just learned so much about the scientific method in general and was enthralled by so many interesting facts and jaw-dropping anecdotes. This is one that parents would want to share with their children or teachers with their students. The most important lesson I learned is: Science is constantly questioning it's theories, even after they are called facts. Nothing is above reproach and that's what makes science honest. Reputations are born from disproving established theories. Believing there is only one "Answer" and only looking for arguments to prove it is neither scientific nor honest and I believe the author very convincingly brings home that point.
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- F. E. Sparrow

As great as everyone says it is

There are too many great reviews on this book, so I'll just add a couple of points. First, the book relates the science in a way accessible to most educated people without talking down to them, so that you understand where the author is leading, and even feel the excitement of a great scientific mystery, without feeling overwhelmed.

Second, Coyne, unlike Dawkins and some others, doesn't have a dual agenda. He wants to educate people on Evolution, not promote atheism or religion, so the book is more focused on science, and less confrontational or preachy, or defensive. To me, that makes it more persuasive and more educational.

And last, Coyne concludes with a discussion of what Evolution is not, including issues like predestination. Evolution doesn't explain personality traits, for instance, or argue that human behavior is limited by genetic coding.

In the proverbial "If you only read one book on Evolution" category, write this one in. The only negative is it will leave you frustrated both with opponents of Evolution, and with supporters who misunderstand or misuse conventional wisdom about Evolution, such as Survival of the Fittest. Then again, you can just recommend this book to them to fix their ignorance on the subject.
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- Joseph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-02-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios