Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What-I’m-Reading-Wednesday: Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

Jerry A. Coyne is uniquely qualified to discuss the topic of evolution. He is a professor of biology with concentrations in speciation and ecological & evolutionary genetics at the University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. In the book, Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne notes that those who disagree with Darwin about evolution will not be convinced by anything in this book. However, he notes: “for the many who find themselves uncertain, or who accept evolution but are not sure how to argue their case, this volume gives a succinct summary of why modern science recognizes evolution as true” (p. xiv). 

Coyne spends the first chapter discussing evolution and Darwin. Darwin came up with the theory of evolution through natural selection well before science was able to determine genetic lineage through DNA. Coyne also notes that many of the claims about Evolution not being true are because it is just a theory. However, he notes that in scientific terms a theory is “a well-thought-out group of propositions meant to explain facts about the real world” (p. 15). He points out that no one balks at the Theory of Gravity or the Theory of Relativity. 

The second chapter discusses the fossil record, from the time the earth formed until the present. Coyne uses several different animals to show how they have gradually changed over time. He discusses the evolution of whales from a land animal to the sea creature that we now know. The rest of the book, based on the Contents page, looks to discuss how life spread across the globe and how we as humans evolved. 

So far it has been a fascinating read learning about:  
Why Evolution is True

This volume is available to request from the Ort Library catalog here:  Click on “Availability,” the click on the yellow “Request” button.  Log in using your first name and 14 digit library barcode from your ID.  If you need assistance, please contact the Circulation Desk at 301 687-4395.

Pictures taken by: T. Mastrodonato

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