ISBN is

978-0-684-85145-7 / 9780684851457

Darwin Wars

by

Publisher:Simon & Schuster Intl

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Freelance journalist Andrew Brown's book the Darwin Wars takes a critical look at the resurgence of Darwinian explanations over the last 30 years, the content of which he describes as "a particularly potent brew of good science, striking metaphors, and bad philosophy, and consequently savage and important discussions".

The contending parties are reasonably and usefully described as "Gouldians" and "Dawkinsians" with the former group comprising Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Rose, Richard Lewontin, Mary Midgely, David Hull and others while the latter group includes Richard Dawkins, John Maynard Smith, Daniel Dennett, Helena Cronin, Matt Ridley and other names one could add. For Brown what is ultimately in dispute is not evolution or Darwinism as such, but "the scope and proper limits of Darwinian explanations". The really divisive and decisive question to which there can be no definite answer-- is not "Where does design come from?" but rather, "Where does it stop?"

The great practical value of this book is that it is written by someone who describes the polemical skullduggery of the contending personalities as an extremely interesting tale in itself--without doing any mud-slinging himself. Brown does not trivialise, insult, misrepresent or misunderstand the ideas of the people he is talking about and, as a consequence, the ideas and their historical emergence become clearer.

This is as clear and even handed an overview of the contemporary Darwin wars you could hope to read. Read alongside Jonathon Miller's Introducing Darwin and Evolution the interested layman will come to understand the general debate at a fairly sophisticated level. Reading and digesting these books makes it easier to read and evaluate books on biology. Promise! --Larry Brown

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