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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.
©2009 Jerry A. Coyne (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"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
5 out of 5 stars
By Joseph on 12-01-10

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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14 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anderson on 01-11-10

Excellent treatment of Evolution

I wanted to reiterate the excellent reviews already given for this book. I agree, this book is by far the best, most accessible, most interesting, presentation of evolution I've read. It's the audio-equivalent of a page-turner.

The book not only provides a concise, thorough, and logical explanation of the theory of Evolution but also methodically explains the science behind the conclusions.

The book also does an excellent job of addressing Creationist/ID arguments in a dispassionate way, then methodically explaining the scientific evidence that contradicts those arguments.

I would also recommend this book over several others I have listened to recently. Although I very much enjoyed Richard Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth" and would highly recommend it as a close second, the book "Why Evolution is True" is more concise, accessible, and dispassionate in tone.

"The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution" is also quite good, but has a narrower (but by no means exclusive) focus on DNA.

"Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors" is a great book on human evolution.

"Your Inner Fish" is good, but more of an upper division treatment of a niche topic.

However, "Why Evolution is True" is the best choice for those who are interested in learning about Evolution itself. The book covers the origins of life, to how and why fish first came on land, to when land mammals went back into the ocean and become whales (and explains the evidence), to what we have learned from DNA sequencing. It explains how feathers, wings, and eyes can evolve, the huge time frames involved, how prescient Darwin was, and so much more.

You'll learn a lot and be better able to explain and defend the science behind Evolution as well as the science that debunks ID claims. A great book that I plan to listen to again.

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26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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