Cites five previous mass extinctions on the planet while explaining that the human race may be the first to trigger its own destruction through irresponsible practices
One of the most renowned evolutionary biologists at work today, Richard Dawkins has written passionately for years on subjects that matter deeply to him - and matter urgently to all of us. A Devil's Chaplain brings together the best and most provocative of his essays, on subjects ranging from evolution to ethics, from travel to literature, from education to religion. The result is an intriguing portrait of one of the finest minds in science.
With eloquence and vigor, these essays put forward Dawkins's most fundamental axiom: seek truth. He speaks out against pseudoscience and deftly dissects religion and mysticism. In a powerful letter to his ten-year-old daughter, he argues for the necessity of basing any belief on solid evidence. And he doesn't shy away from skewering the loftiest institutions, whether judicial or educational. "To hell with . . . your fact-stuffed syllabuses and your endless roster of exams," he proclaims with refreshing directness. He writes infectiously of his awe at the marvelous complexity of the universe, pays moving tribute to dear friends and worthy colleagues, and tenderly recalls his boyhood in Africa. Uncompromising, even ruthless as Dawkins famously is when defending scientific truth and reason, this collection also shows a gentler, more contemplative side which may surprise his many readers.
Here we meet the essential Richard Dawkins: inspirational in both his unswerving attention to rationalism and his abiding passions.
The metaphor of Mount Improbable represents the combination of perfection and improbability that is epitomized in the seemingly "designed" complexity of living things. Dawkins skillfully guides the reader on a breathtaking journey through the mountain's passes and up its many peaks to demonstrate that following the improbable path to perfection takes time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins's eloquent descriptions of extraordinary adaptations such as the teeming populations of figs, the intricate silken world of spiders, and the evolution of wings on the bodies of flightless animals. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time.
Climbing Mount Improbable is a book of great impact and skill, written by the most prominent Darwinian of our age.
Why is the creation vs. evolution debate so important? Does what you believe about it really matter to the people you talk with? And if you do need to form an opinion, can't you just pick and choose the best parts of both sides of the discussion? Renowned apologist and Bible teacher Ron Rhodes skillfully answers these questions. This helpful guide gives readers the information they need to form their own convictions and answer other people's questions. The ten items at the heart of this debate are explained in an easy-to-understand format, and they include... The universe had a beginning-and therefore a Beginner. Fossil evidence and other scientific discoveries contradict evolution. Creationism makes good sense and agrees with scientific evidence. Accessible to any reader but thorough enough to be fair, this analysis of the creation vs. evolution debate will encourage believers and guide seekers in their quest for truth.
The study of evolutionary adaptation returns to the center stage of biology with this important volume. This innovative treatise discusses new developments in adaptation, with new methods, and new theoretical foundations, achievements, and prospects for a rich intellectual future. Once again adaptation is established as a fundamental cornerstone of evolution by means of natural selection. This is an insightful reintroduction to the themes that Darwin and his successors regarded as central to any profound understanding of biology.
This volume is based on the NATO Advanced Study Institute, "Advances in Mor- phometries" held in 11 Ciocco, Tuscany, Italy from July 18-30, 1993, and directed by Leslie F. Marcus. The "Advances in Morphometries" ASI was advertised in Nature and a number of professional journals. Announcements were sent to relevant institutions and departments throughout the world. Because NATO required that the majority of attendees be from NATO countries, the 71 persons attending represented nine NATO countries, four eastern European countries, now recognized as equal partners for AS Is, and a few participants from non-NATO countries. Participants were all active scholars in different disciplines within biology, as well as computer science, statistics, geology and paleontology. Their experience ranged from that of graduate students to senior faculty, as well as one emeritus scholar. A complete list of the those attending and their addresses, phone and FAX numbers and, where available, e-mail addresses is given in the participants list. All the local arrangements were made by Marco Corti and Anna Loy of the University of Rome "Ia Sapienza. " They made the initial contact with the II Ciocco conference center and then arranged for computer and Xerox rentals, design of logos, organization of posters, and publication of poster abstracts.
For years Alfred Russel Wallace was little more than an obscure adjunct to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Remembered only for prompting Darwin to write On the Origin of Species in 1859 by writing his own letter proposing a theory of natural selection, Wallace was rightly dubbed by one biographer "the forgotten naturalist." In 1998 Sahotra Sarkar bemoaned Wallace's "lapse into obscurity," noting that "at least in the 19th century literature, the theory of evolution was usually referred to as 'the Darwin and Wallace theory'. In the 20th century, the theory of evolution has become virtually synonymous with Darwinism or neo-Darwinism." While the complaint still has a ring of truth, a decade of recent interest in Wallace has done much to bring him back from history's crypt of forgotten figures. This shouldn't suggest unanimity of opinion, however.
Some regard him as a heretic, others as merely a misguided scientist-turned-spiritualist, still others as a prescient figure anticipating the modern Gaia hypothesis. Perhaps Martin Fichman's phrase hits closest and most persistently to the truth--"the elusive Victorian." Can the real Wallace be found? If so, what might we learn in that rediscovery? The provocative thesis of this new biography is that Wallace, in developing his unique brand of evolution, presaged modern intelligent design theory. Wallace's devotion to discovering the truths of nature brought him through a lifetime of research to see genuine design in the natural world. This was Wallace's ultimate heresy, a heresy that exposed the metaphysical underpinnings of the emerging Darwinian paradigm.
The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism.
Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.