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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book by Daniel Fairbanks!, May 29, 2012
This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
There have been some amazing books on evolution that have been published in the past decade. Two of the very best are by Daniel Fairbanks. "Relics of Eden" demonstrates the overwhelming evidence of our evolution that is found in our DNA. Before reading Relics of Eden I had already read many books on evolution, but I was still blown away by the overwhelming evidence presented in the book.

"Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters" also presents a great amount of evidence of human evolution from our DNA; a lot of the DNA evidence presented in "Evolving" can be found in "Relics of Eden" but there is also a lot of new DNA evidence in the book. "Evolving" also demonstrates the clear evidence of our evolution from fossils, embryology, anatomy, etc. I flew right through this book; not because it was dumbed down but because of the author's ability to explain complex ideas in a way that is very easy to understand.

The first two-thirds of the book seemed to be aimed at demonstrating just how overwhelming the evidence of our evolution is, while the last third of the book showed why evolutionary biology matters. Sure, its really awesome to be able to know a lot about our origins and the history of life, but the chapters on our health and our food show why it is vital that evolutionary biology is taught in every school.

Buy this book! Every single chapter is filled with fascinating information that I had never come across before. I think that Daniel Fairbanks is the most underrated author of popular books on evolution. Dawkins, Fairbanks, and Shubin are the three best alive today, in my opinion (sure Shubin's only written one book, but "Your Inner Fish" is amazing!!!).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairbanks Presents a Good Case for Evolution, May 27, 2012
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Book Fanatic (Houston, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
This book contains two main parts. The first part is the evidence for human evolution and the second part is the importance of evolution to current issues like health, food, and environment.

The first part on the evidence for human evolution is about 2/3 of the book and in my opinion was the strongest. The presentation on the shared structures, changes in hominid skulls and pelvises was excellent as was the genetic evidence. This part of the book makes a really strong case for the grand unifying nature of evolutionary theory.

The second part on the importance of evolution in things like health and food was interesting but to me was neither as compelling nor as convincing. I understand what he is saying here but I don't think it is controversial. I don't even think young earth creationists dispute the kind of bacterial/viral evolution or plant and animal domestication and selection discussed in this part.

In any case this book overall, and especially the first part, is a very good case for human evolution and is therefore recommended. I remember thinking about ordering his previous book "Relics of Eden" at one point and never did. Now that I have read this one I'm going to take a look at that one as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Straight Dope on Evolution, March 21, 2013
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This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
As a physics major, I am often inclined to feel the need to explore other scientific endeavors, and although I have taken many biology courses, the matter of evolution is, well, "Evolving"! and we are always in pursuit of a deeper meaning to quench our thirst for knowledge. I am very impressed and engaged by Fairbanks work here. He is undoubtedly one of the majorly underrated scientists in the "evolution discussion". This book gives you the answers in depth. Between this and Dawkins "Greatest Show on Earth", I am befuddled as to how anyone can deny evolution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent demonstration that evolution is scientifically valid, April 10, 2013
This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
Given that nearly half the adult population of the United States rejects the notion of biological evolution, believing instead that the world was created only 6,000 to 10,000 years ago with its life forms pretty much as they are now, and given that certain political forces work steadily to try to insinuate the preposterous pseudo-scientific "creation science" and "intelligent design" sorts of nonsense into our public schools, the reading public needs books like this one by Daniel Fairbanks more than it has ever needed them before. This is a splendid answer to those ignoramuses who argue that evolution has no basis in science. I know how prevalent this sort of thing is; I live in a place where the letters to the editor constantly claim that the fossil record does not support evolution and that the idea that we have common ancestors with other life forms is foolish if not downright wicked. Fairbanks lays all that to rest as competently as any writer I've ever seen. This wonderful book brims over with irrefutable evidence for Darwinian evolution and natural selection, from his discussions of comparative anatomy to the (pre)history of bipedalism to the high similarity between human and chimpanzee genomes, to the overwhelming evidence offered by retro-elements in our DNA. Any sound scientific theory should of course be predictive-- capable of predicting, from what is already known, what might be found when one ventures into realms one has not yet explored-- and Fairbanks does a splendid job of showing how evolutionary theory does precisely this, predicting for example that certain genetic code sequences ought to be parallel in varying degrees in various primate genomes, predictions that have turned out to be accurate. The author also shows how if one denies evolution, one closes off one's mind to any chance of understanding many fundamental things, such as the fact that most of our common foods would not even exist if living matter did not constantly evolve by natural selection. This is one of those books that will make the world a saner, better place if people will only read it with open minds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, December 17, 2012
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Enjoyed reading this book. Author explains evolutionary theory in laymen's terms , with practical examples.
Recommend it to anyone that's unfamiliar with the theory of evolution
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read if Interested in Genetics and Evolution, December 7, 2013
By 
Patrick Spears (Louisville, Ky USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
This book, along with Fairbank's other book, Relics of Eden, is unquestionably the best book I've ever read on the genetic evidence for common ancestry and evolution in general. It was literally a page-turner, and had me sleep-deprived for a week as stayed up late into the night reading, highlighting and contemplating. I especially enjoyed the extensive discussions on transposable elements, ERVs and pseudogenes, as well as the evidence relating to chromosomal fusions and inversions. I had some idea prior to reading the book as to how "messy" genomes are, but I didn't really appreciate just how messy. Genomes are just chock full of the "relics" of endlessly repeated sequences, duplications just tagging along, with coding sequences representing just a tiny fraction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Importance of Modern Evolutionary Processes, December 3, 2013
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The author details evolution in a way that is refreshing and intellectually satisfying. The entire book is a menu of evidence organized by categorical domains. This approach gives the reader a special insight into the discoveries from recent and classical research that concern the nature of why we evolve, and puts to the test the rigor needed to gain understanding.

One area particularly inviting is the chapter on evolution of our health where a discussion and history of the evolutionary processes of HIV and AIDS ensues. The reader is enriched with the knowledge extracted from the research and set in an historical context so that the reader feels the sense of insight and continuity.

Professor Faibanks is a geneticist and multi-faceted visionary and scholar who has indulged his intellectual prowess in other, related areas. They extend the importance of the present volume in their own remarkably ways. He’s authored, Relics of Eden, The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA, and coauthored two others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I have evolved to love this book!, November 28, 2013
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fenx1200 (Marietta, Georgia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
Right from the beginning the author clearly spells out that evolution is both a fact and a theory. It is a fact that the mechanisms (components) of evolution have been repeatedly observed and documented to such an extent that they can no longer be reasonably disputed. It is a theory according to the various hypotheses, laws, and facts that are now documented that define the overall processes of evolution in action. The author does an excellent job of taking one on a journey through the evidence supporting evolution, from the fossil record, to the genetic evidence, to the geographic record, to the science behind genetics. The author brings real world problems concerning genetics into perspective. Problems that can cascade down to humans such as GMO foods, cattle, growth hormones, and antibiotics. A very comprehensive and detailed book that should be included in everyone's personal library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the importance of understanding evolution in our world today., March 21, 2013
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Michael J. Sassin (Muscle Shoals, AL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters (Paperback)
Daniel Fairbanks relates the importance of how understanding evolution is relevant for our world today. Even someone without much of a background can understand because of the way the book is written and presented. I recommend that anyone who has an interest in evolution to read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, November 10, 2014
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Easy to read and very interesting.
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Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters
Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Daniel J. Fairbanks (Paperback - May 22, 2012)
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