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Evolution: The Modern Synthesis The Definitive Edition Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262513661
ISBN-10: 9780262513661
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is good to have again in print (with a new introduction) Julian Huxley's masterwork, Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. One marvels at the depths of Huxley's insights, one is impressed by the breadth of his scope, and one is charmed and delighted by his gracious prose. Reading this book is like coming again on an old, valued friend or meeting someone who captivates from the first moment.

(Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University)

About the Author

Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.

Gerd B. Müller is Professor of Theoretical Biology at the University of Vienna and Chairman of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research. He is a coeditor of Origination of Organismal Form (MIT Press, 2003) and Modeling Biology (MIT Press, 2007).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; The Definitive Edition edition (December 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780262513661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262513661
  • ASIN: 0262513668
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Julian Huxley (1887-1975) was a famous English evolutionary biologist and humanist. (He wrote books like RELIGION WITHOUT REVELATION, as well as the forward to Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man.) This 1942 book was one of the prime statements of the "Neo-Darwinian" or "Synthetic" theory of evolution, which combines Darwinian Natural Selection with Mendelian genetics. "Mendelian analysis ... together with selection, explains the progressive mechanism of evolution." Yet "Neither mutation nor selection alone is creative of anything important in evolution; but the two in conjunction are creative."

Huxley states, "By Darwinism I imply that blend of induction and deduction which Darwin was the first to apply to the study of evolution." Concerning Natural Selection, "In a broad sense it covers all cases of differential survival: but from the evolutionary point of view it covers only the differential transmission of inheritable variations."

Huxley's considerable literary style is evident throughout the book: "To continue our metaphor, the offer made by a mutation to the species is not necessarily the final offer."

Huxley is (shades of Teilhard) a believer in evolutionary "progress." Although "All that natural selection can ensure is survival. It does not ensure progress, or maximum advantage," "evolution may perfectly well include progress without being progresive as a whole." And "we are justified in calling the trends which have led to (Man's) development progressive."

He ends on the positive note, "The future of progressive evolution is the future of man."

This is an essential work for anyone interested in the development of evolutionary theory.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
as advertised and well packed
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By Byff on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And in the condition expected. Very good book, very highly recommended for folks interested in evolution. Can't wait to actually crack it open!
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By M. Pardee on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Evolution: The Modern Synthesis" is a staple of evolutionary teaching today, but I sure don't understand why. It has the same problem the O.J. Simpson prosecution case had - a big pile of facts with no unifying thread, just a wandering narrative that has no apparent theme. More disturbing, Huxley cited Sir Ronald Fisher's "Genetical Theory of Natural Selection" heavily and never acknowledged Fisher's warning, as stated in the opening sentence of his book, "Natural Selection is not evolution."

The writing style is readable enough but is not engaging. As a source of interesting nature trivia it is passable, but the book fails to deliver on the promise of the title. There is no synthesis, just an attempt at reconciling disparate theories of the time.
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