A creationist-turned-scientist demonstrates the facts of evolution and exposes Intelligent Design's real agenda Science is on the defensive. Half of Americans reject the theory of evolution and "Intelligent Design" campaigns are gaining ground. Classroom by classroom, creationism is overthrowing biology. In Why Darwin Matters, bestselling author Michael Shermer explains how the newest brand of creationism appeals to our predisposition to look for a designer behind life's complexity. Shermer decodes the scientific evidence to show that evolution is not "just a theory" and illustrates how it achieves the design of life through the bottom-up process of natural selection. Shermer, once an evangelical Christian and a creationist, argues that Intelligent Design proponents are invoking a combination of bad science, political antipathy, and flawed theology. He refutes their pseudoscientific arguments and then demonstrates why conservatives and people of faith can and should embrace evolution. He then appraises the evolutionary questions that truly need to be settled, building a powerful argument for science itself. Cutting the politics away from the facts, Why Darwin Matters is an incisive examination of what is at stake in the debate over evolution.
A former evangelical Christian and creationist refutes the pseudoscientific arguments of proponents of Intelligent Design and explains why the scientific evidence reveals that evolution is more than just a theory and how it transforms life through the process of natural selection.
Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution is an entertaining and rigorous history of the transitional forms and series found in the fossil record. Its engaging narrative of scientific discovery and well-grounded analysis has led to the book’s widespread adoption in courses that teach the nature and value of fossil evidence for evolution. Evolution tackles systematics and cladistics, rock dating, neo-Darwinism, and macroevolution. It includes extensive coverage of the primordial soup, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, and the transformation from early hominid to modern human. The book also details the many alleged “missing links” in the fossil record, including some of the most recent discoveries that flesh out the fossil timeline and the evolutionary process. In this second edition, Prothero describes new transitional fossils from various periods, vividly depicting such bizarre creatures as the Odontochelys, or the “turtle on the half shell”; fossil snakes with legs; and the “Frogamander,” a new example of amphibian transition. Prothero’s discussion of intelligent design arguments includes more historical examples and careful examination of the “experiments” and observations that are exploited by creationists seeking to undermine sound science education. With new perspectives, Prothero reframes creationism as a case study in denialism and pseudoscience rather than a field with its own intellectual dynamism. The first edition was hailed as an exemplary exploration of the fossil evidence for evolution, and this second edition will be welcome in the libraries of scholars, teachers, and general readers who stand up for sound science in this post-truth era.
Revised and Expanded Edition. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science. Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.
Science has never been more crucial to deciding the political issues facing the country. Yet science and scientists have less influence with the federal government than at any time since Richard Nixon fired his science advisors. In the White House and Congress today, findings are reported in a politicized manner; spun or distorted to fit the speaker's agenda; or, when they're too inconvenient, ignored entirely. On a broad array of issues-stem cell research, climate change, evolution, sex education, product safety, environmental regulation, and many others-the Bush administration's positions fly in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus. Federal science agencies-once fiercely independent under both Republican and Democratic presidents-are increasingly staffed by political appointees who know industry lobbyists and evangelical activists far better than they know the science. This is not unique to the Bush administration, but it is largely a Republican phenomenon, born of a conservative dislike of environmental, health, and safety regulation, and at the extremes, of evolution and legalized abortion. In The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney ties together the disparate strands of the attack on science into a compelling and frightening account of our government's increasing unwillingness to distinguish between legitimate research and ideologically driven pseudoscience.
Why are men, like other primate males, usually the aggressors and risk takers? Why do women typically have fewer sexual partners? In Why Sex Matters, Bobbi Low ranges from ancient Rome to modern America, from the Amazon to the Arctic, and from single-celled organisms to international politics, to show that these and many other questions about human behavior largely come down to evolution and sex. More precisely, as she shows in this uniquely comprehensive and accessible survey of behavioral and evolutionary ecology, they come down to the basic principle that all organisms evolved to maximize their reproductive success and seek resources to do so, but that sometimes cooperation and collaboration are the most effective ways to succeed. This newly revised edition has been thoroughly updated to include the latest research and reflect exciting changes in the field, including how our evolutionary past continues to affect our ecological present.
Charles Darwin has been at the center of white-hot public debate for more than a century. In Living With Darwin, Philip Kitcher stokes the flames swirling around Darwin's theory, sifting through the scientific evidence for evolution, Creation Science, and Intelligent Design, and revealing why evolution has been the object of such vehement attack. Kitcher first provides valuable perspective on the present controversy, describing the many puzzles that blocked evolution's acceptance in the early years, and explaining how scientific research eventually found the answers to these conundrums. Interestingly, Kitcher shows that many of these early questions have been resurrected in recent years by proponents of Intelligent Design. In fact, Darwin himself considered the issue of intelligent design, and amassed a mountain of evidence that effectively refuted the idea. Kitcher argues that the problem with Intelligent Design isn't that it's "not science," as many critics say, but that it's "dead science," raising questions long resolved by scientists. But Kitcher points out that it is also important to recognize the cost of Darwin's success--the price of "life with Darwin." Darwinism has a profound effect on our understanding of our place in the universe, on our religious beliefs and aspirations. It is in truth the focal point of a larger clash between religious faith and modern science. Unless we can resolve this larger issue, the war over evolution will go on.
What is the biological reason for gossip? For laughter? For the creation of art? Why do dogs have curly tails? What can microbes tell us about morality? These and many other questions are tackled by renowned evolutionist David Sloan Wilson in this witty and groundbreaking new book. With stories that entertain as much as they inform, Wilson outlines the basic principles of evolution and shows how, properly understood, they can illuminate the length and breadth of creation, from the origin of life to the nature of religion. Now everyone can move beyond the sterile debates about creationism and intelligent design to share Darwin’s panoramic view of animal and human life, seamlessly connected to each other. Evolution, as Wilson explains, is not just about dinosaurs and human origins, but about why all species behave as they do—from beetles that devour their own young, to bees that function as a collective brain, to dogs that are smarter in some respects than our closest ape relatives. And basic evolutionary principles are also the foundation for humanity’s capacity for symbolic thought, culture, and morality. In example after example, Wilson sheds new light on Darwin’s grand theory and how it can be applied to daily life. By turns thoughtful, provocative, and daringly funny, Evolution for Everyone addresses some of the deepest philosophical and social issues of this or any age. In helping us come to a deeper understanding of human beings and our place in the world, it might also help us to improve that world. From the Hardcover edition.
Truth has always been a central preoccupation of philosophy in allits forms and traditions. Yet in the late twentieth century truth became suddenly rather unfashionable. The precedence given to assortedpolitical and ideological agendas, along with the rise of relativism, postmodernism and pseudoscience in academia, led to a decline both of truth as a serious subject, and an intellectual tradition thatbegan with the Enlightenment. Why Truth Matters is a timely, incisive and entertaining look at how and why modern thought and culture lost sight of the importance of truth. It is also an eloquent and inspiring argument for restoring truth to its rightful place. Jeremy Stangroom and Ophelia Benson, editors of the successful butterfliesandwheels website-itself established to "fight fashionable nonsense"-identify and debunk such senselessness, and the spurious claims made for it, in all its forms. Their account ranges over religious fundamentalism, Holocaust denial, the challenges of postmodernism and deconstruction, the wilful misinterpretation of evolutionary biology, identity politics and wishful thinking. Why Truth Matters is both a rallying cry for the enlightened vision and an essential read for anyone who's everbeen bored, frustrated, bewildered or plain enraged by the worst excesses of the fashionable intelligentsia.
From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore) A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity. In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.
Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself. In each of the fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.
The best-selling author of Why People Believe Weird Things offers a revealing study of the influence of evolutionary theory on the modern economy, as well as the evolutionary roots of human economic behavior, bringing together the latest research in neuroeconomics, psychology, biology, and other fields to analyze the economics of everyday life. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
Presents a collection of essays on various topics in science and personalities in science, including Carl Sagan, Sigmund Freud, and Alfred Russel Wallace.
What can long-dead dinosaurs teach us about our future? Plenty, according to paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, who has discovered some of the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth. By tapping into the ubiquitous wonder that dinosaurs inspire, Lacovara weaves together the stories of our geological awakening, of humanity’s epic struggle to understand the nature of deep time, the meaning of fossils, and our own place on the vast and bountiful tree of life. Go on a journey––back to when dinosaurs ruled the Earth––to discover how dinosaurs achieved feats unparalleled by any other group of animals. Learn the secrets of how paleontologists find fossils, and explore quirky, but profound questions, such as: Is a penguin a dinosaur? And, how are the tiny arms of T. rex the key to its power and ferocity? In this revealing book, Lacovara offers the latest ideas about the shocking and calamitous death of the dinosaurs and ties their vulnerabilities to our own. Why Dinosaurs Matter is compelling and engaging—a great reminder that our place on this planet is both precarious and potentially fleeting. “As we move into an uncertain environmental future, it has never been more important to understand the past.”
A professor of mathematics offers an analysis of the roles science plays within American society, providing suggestions for a more effective interchange between scientists and key United States institutions.
"Hosts of all kinds, this is a must-read!" --Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED A bold new approach to how we gather that will transform the ways we spend our time together--at work, at home, in our communities, and beyond. In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive--which they don't have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play. Drawing on her expertise as a facilitator of high-powered gatherings around the world, Parker takes us inside events of all kinds to show what works, what doesn't, and why. She investigates a wide array of gatherings--conferences, meetings, a courtroom, a flash-mob party, an Arab-Israeli summer camp--and explains how simple, specific changes can invigorate any group experience. The result is a book that's both journey and guide, full of exciting ideas with real-world applications. The Art of Gathering will forever alter the way you look at your next meeting, industry conference, dinner party, and backyard barbecue--and how you host and attend them.
In lively, accessible prose, Victorians Undone fills the space where the body ought to be, proposing new ways of thinking and writing about flesh in the nineteenth century.
The author argues that individuals can be both a creative scientist and a believer in divine design in a critical examination of how it is possible to contemplate a universe in which God plays an interactive role that is not excluded by science.
Recent polls show that 96% of Americans believe in God. Why are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? In How We Believe, Michael Shermer presents the results of an exhaustive empirical study in which he asked 10,000 Americans how and why they believe and about details of their faith. The result offers fresh and startling insights into age-old questions.
From the conservative spokesperson and author of Slander and How to Talk to a Liberal comes an all new, timely, and thought-provoking study of American politics and religion that looks at the Left's attacks on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Reprint. 300,000 first printing.