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Thread: Evo-biology book suggestions

  1. #1 Evo-biology book suggestions 
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    A Creationist is willing to learn about Biology and evolution, and would like some recommendations. Can anyone suggest a book, please?


    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins.


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    If he is an intellectual and can handle esoteric, rambling, lengthy, detailed, yet immensely informative and insightful writings then you can't beat Gould's The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Otherwise Bunbury's suggestion is excellent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins.
    Yea... I suggested that, though I never read it myself. I ought to, though...
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    If he is an intellectual and can handle esoteric, rambling, lengthy, detailed, yet immensely informative and insightful writings then you can't beat Gould's The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Otherwise Bunbury's suggestion is excellent.
    Thanks. 8)
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    "Almost like a whale" by Steve Jones - a (fairly successful) attempt to update Darwin's Origin to modern times
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    The Ancestor's Tale is an excellent timeline of evolutionary convergence and relationships, but if your friend wants to understand the mechanism of evolution, I'd recommend The Blind Watchmaker, also by Dawkins.
    Knowledge of evolution may not be strictly useful in everyday commerce. You can live some sort of life and die without ever hearing the name of Darwin. But if, before you die, you want to understand why you lived in the first place, Darwinism is the one subject that you must study.

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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    If he is an intellectual and can handle esoteric, rambling, lengthy, detailed, yet immensely informative and insightful writings then you can't beat Gould's The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Otherwise Bunbury's suggestion is excellent.
    The only reason I might demur regarding the late great Gould's final hurrah is the blind spot he had regarding the role of genes in evolution: he never quite allowed the gene-centric notion of evolution (otherwise viewed as a commonplace amongst evolutionary biologists) a space in his heart. It makes much of what he says about evolution slightly theoretically suspect.

    On the other hand, the best scientific essayist I've ever read and a great defender of reason and tolerance.

    For a philosophical perspective, albeit sometimes provocative and frequently controversial, I haven't read better than Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea.

    cheer

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    For a philosophical perspective, albeit sometimes provocative and frequently controversial, I haven't read better than Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea.
    Yes indeed. An excellent choice. Eloquent, readable and informative. (As a philosopher he seems to have a far better grasp of evolution than many biologists.) I'm interested, though, in what you thought was provocative in it - for example?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins.
    Yea... I suggested that, though I never read it myself.
    Why not? Are you waiting for the movie?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins.
    Yea... I suggested that, though I never read it myself.
    Why not? Are you waiting for the movie?
    I don't know... time, maybe. I'll read it eventually.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    For a philosophical perspective, albeit sometimes provocative and frequently controversial, I haven't read better than Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea.
    Yes indeed. An excellent choice. Eloquent, readable and informative. (As a philosopher he seems to have a far better grasp of evolution than many biologists.) I'm interested, though, in what you thought was provocative in it - for example?
    I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I thought that some of these were, perhaps, provocations:

    1. The way in which he deals with Stephen Jay Gould, because it becomes pretty personal.

    2. The way in which he applies the evolutionary idea to everything ("Universal Acid"), including universes, without an evidential warrant for it. I think he's probably right, but I suspect it is, at least for now, a matter of the reach exceeding the grasp on matters that a lot of people feel very strongly about.

    3. His endorsement of Dawkins' meme idea which again, despite my fondness for it, and despite Dawkins' own work and Susan Blackmore's excellent The Meme Machine still has a long way to go to become a scientifically useful notion, if it ever does.

    As I said, I don't think there's anything wrong, or fallacious, in what he writes, just sometimes a bit tail-tweak-y.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    2. The way in which he applies the evolutionary idea to everything ("Universal Acid"), including universes, without an evidential warrant for it. I think he's probably right, but I suspect it is, at least for now, a matter of the reach exceeding the grasp on matters that a lot of people feel very strongly about.
    It's a book I've been meaning to get around to reading, and this notion is what is so intriguing to me. It seems intuitively correct, as you point out, and yet we don't have any direct evidence for it to be so. Of course, physicists are striving for their grand, unifying theory, which will hopefully be known in the not too distant future, and advances lead us more and more into a way of thinking whereby there is only one way for all of these universal constants to be; that they are all interrelated, and none unique from any other, you see where I'm going...
    Knowledge of evolution may not be strictly useful in everyday commerce. You can live some sort of life and die without ever hearing the name of Darwin. But if, before you die, you want to understand why you lived in the first place, Darwinism is the one subject that you must study.

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    For a slightly lighter read, i highly recommend, Evolution, the triumph of an idea by Carl Zimmer

    Not only is it a good book for explaining evolution itself, its set out to give the evolution of the evolution idea, so it goes from darwins beagle right through to human evolution :-D

    Another good one on human evolution is The origin of humankind - richard leakey

    theres also another fun book called get a grip on evolution by David Burnie, its kind of a toilet book, short snippets and bullet points rather than long drawn out chapters, so you get short historys of key points in evolutions history like disruptive selection or failed ideas like the midwife toad etc
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I thought that some of these were, perhaps, provocations:
    1. The way in which he deals with Stephen Jay Gould, because it becomes pretty personal.
    2. The way in which he applies the evolutionary idea to everything ("Universal Acid"), including universes, without an evidential warrant for it. I think he's probably right, but I suspect it is, at least for now, a matter of the reach exceeding the grasp on matters that a lot of people feel very strongly about.
    3. His endorsement of Dawkins' meme idea which again, despite my fondness for it, and despite Dawkins' own work and Susan Blackmore's excellent The Meme Machine still has a long way to go to become a scientifically useful notion, if it ever does.
    I had forgotten point 1. He does kind of stick the knife in, then twist it around.
    Point 2. I was comfortable with, as he seemed to be taking it as a working hypothesis, rather than an absolute.
    I tend to switch off when Dawkins comes up in discussion. I don't like Dawkins. I don't like his approach. Don't get me started.
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    Personally, I don't go for the more famous authors. I go straight to the horses mouth. Instead of reading "summaries", I read TEXTBOOKS. Yes. TEXTBOOKS. If he's truly an intellectual, he'll prefer the same. You can get used ones quite cheap.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree. If you really want to become knowledgeable about a subject relatively new to you, a text book is a great place to start. This is the text currently being used for the evolution class at my alma mater.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Yes, but always be sure to check for used ones. If you prefer saving money and reading books that have probably been markered for study purposes (personally I don't care).

    http://www.bookbyte.com/

    Websites like that, for example. Subjects included in a study of evolution should range from micro/macro biology, to various textbooks on elements used for dating, archeology, etc. I'm a bookworm, so this is all "moderate reading" for me.
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    For textbooks, would you recommend Campbell-Reece Biology? (That's what I used... it was really good, in my opinion).
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    For textbooks, would you recommend Campbell-Reece Biology? (That's what I used... it was really good, in my opinion).
    For an overview of biology in general, of course. But a single textbook attempting to cover all of biology can only go into so much detail about any particular subject within the field. If you really want to learn about evolution, I'd go with an evolution textbook. It will be much more complete, and be far more likely to answer most of the questions a creationist might have about it.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    For textbooks, would you recommend Campbell-Reece Biology? (That's what I used... it was really good, in my opinion).
    For an overview of biology in general, of course. But a single textbook attempting to cover all of biology can only go into so much detail about any particular subject within the field. If you really want to learn about evolution, I'd go with an evolution textbook. It will be much more complete, and be far more likely to answer most of the questions a creationist might have about it.
    True.

    Sadly, I'm not disposed to buy any textbooks right now (in light of my going to college and all)...
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    I think the textbook is a bad idea. Textbooks are dry lists of information for the most part and aren't particularly interesting especially for people first learning about a topic. If you want to learn about evolution I'd go with one of the other suggestions which will give you a better "big picture" understanding. Textbooks are better for reference.
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    Says you. I want the COMPLETE list of information. Otherwise I wont understand exactly what's going on. I find those "dry" lists of information quite fascinating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I think the textbook is a bad idea. Textbooks are dry lists of information for the most part and aren't particularly interesting especially for people first learning about a topic. If you want to learn about evolution I'd go with one of the other suggestions which will give you a better "big picture" understanding. Textbooks are better for reference.
    Depends on which textbooks you're reading. The authors of most recently published textbooks have realized that dry lists of information make for sleeping students. Most books now make it a point to include many practical examples and diagrams to make learning the important information easier and less boring.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I think the textbook is a bad idea. Textbooks are dry lists of information for the most part and aren't particularly interesting especially for people first learning about a topic. If you want to learn about evolution I'd go with one of the other suggestions which will give you a better "big picture" understanding. Textbooks are better for reference.
    Depends on which textbooks you're reading. The authors of most recently published textbooks have realized that dry lists of information make for sleeping students. Most books now make it a point to include many practical examples and diagrams to make learning the important information easier and less boring.
    Correct. Dry, boring textbooks are soon to be a thing of the past.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Alas, so is real information. Those "dry, boring textbooks" tend to offer a better and larger amount of information than the "colorful" ones that keep you awake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Alas, so is real information. Those "dry, boring textbooks" tend to offer a better and larger amount of information than the "colorful" ones that keep you awake.
    I'd have to disagree with the "better" bit.

    A textbook that provides hard examples and applications gives better quality education than that which lays out information. A person can know a whole bunch of stuff and in the end suck at applying this knowledge; yet application of knowledge is what is really important.

    Also, dry textbooks tend to make you uninterested in the subject (and wonder what use half the information is). If you're uninterested and lost as to the importance of the subject, chances are you'll forget all the information; and in the end the 'colorful' textbook teaches you more.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    Then apparently I'm a genius and innately know how information would be useful. :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Then apparently I'm a genius and innately know how information would be useful. :?
    I think it depends on how old you are and/or how much experience you have. If you have a good amount of experience, then applying scientific knowledge isn't very difficult.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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    For the record, I don't think this guy has done high school biology as yet.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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  32. #31  
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    I loved high school biology. It was the least boring, as, comparitively, it was the most advanced of the science subjects. I guess it differs for each person. I can understand both your viewpoints on the matter.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Here are a few Evolutionary Biology textbooks mentioned by Wikipedia:

    * Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology (3rd Edition), Sinauer Associates (1998) ISBN 0-87893-189-9
    * Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolution, Sinauer Associates (2005) ISBN 0-87893-187-2
    * Mark Ridley, Evolution (3rd edition), Blackwell (2003) ISBN 1-4051-0345-0
    * Scott R. Freeman and Jon C. Herron, Evolutionary Analysis, Prentice Hall (2003) ISBN 0-13-101859-0
    * Michael R. Rose and Laurence D. Mueller, Evolution and Ecology of the Organism, Prentice Hall (2005) ISBN 0-13-010404-3
    * Monroe W. Strickberger, Evolution (3rd Edition), Jones & Bartlett Publishers (2000) ISBN 0-7637-1066-0
    Knowledge of evolution may not be strictly useful in everyday commerce. You can live some sort of life and die without ever hearing the name of Darwin. But if, before you die, you want to understand why you lived in the first place, Darwinism is the one subject that you must study.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scientstphilosophertheist
    For textbooks, would you recommend Campbell-Reece Biology? (That's what I used... it was really good, in my opinion).
    I'm a Zoology Undergraduate, and I am studying all three of the natural sciences in first year. That is our recommended text for Biology. It is an excellent reference, and provides discussions on the evolution of almost every topic which is covered. As mentioned, however, it is a general Biology textbook, so if it's a thorough understanding of the subject of evolution which you want, I'd go for one of the above.
    Knowledge of evolution may not be strictly useful in everyday commerce. You can live some sort of life and die without ever hearing the name of Darwin. But if, before you die, you want to understand why you lived in the first place, Darwinism is the one subject that you must study.

    ~ Richard Dawkins
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