Charles Darwin's masterpiece, The Origin of Species, is probably the best-known, least-read book. Unquestionably one of the most important achievements of the millennium, its publication in 1859 caused a sensation, because it forced mankind to see itself as part of the animal world--a notion that hundreds of millions still deny. Darwin's theory of common descent did for biology what Galileo did for astronomy: made it into a single science rather than a collection of unrelated facts. Those facts, however, are now a century and a half old, as are The Origin's illustrative examples and Victorian prose style. Writing as "Darwin's ghost," the well-known geneticist Steve Jones has drawn on our ever-expanding scientific knowledge and the brilliant logic set out in The Origin to restate evolution's case for the twenty-first century.
Jones has been called "the British Carl Sagan" because of his prominence as a popularizer of science. Using contemporary examples--the AIDS virus, the rules of the American Kennel Club, the sheep who never forget a face and the garbage that floats in the Pacific--he shows the power and immediacy of Darwin's great argument. Filled with anecdotes, humor and the very latest research, Darwin's Ghost is a popular, readable and comprehensive account of the science that makes life make sense.
On The Origin of Species
According to a 1991 opinion poll, a hundred million Americans believe that "God created man pretty much in his present form at one time during the last ten thousand years." A large majority saw no reason to oppose the teaching of creationism in schools. They followed in a long tradition. A text of 1923, Hell and the High Schools, claimed that "The Germans who poisoned the wells and springs of northern France and Belgium and fed little children poisoned candy were angels compared to the text-book writers and publishers who are poisoning the books used in our schools ... Next to the fall of Adam and Eve, Evolution and the teaching of Evolution in tax-supported schools is the greatest curse that ever fell upon this earth."
Fifty pieces of legislation tried to put a stop to the subject. All failed. Undeterred, Alabama called for a note to be pasted into textbooks: "This book may discuss evolution, a controversial theory some scientists give as...
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Noted science writer Virginia Morell explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising and moving exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.
Darwin's Armada tells the stories of Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Joseph Hooker and Alfred Wallace, four young amateur naturalists from Britain who voyaged to the southern hemisphere during the first half of the nineteenth century in search of adventure and scientific fame.
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