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on July 8, 2011
This book really is one example of evolution after another. A few examples Alan Rogers discusses include the intermediate fossils that link land mammals to whales, the adaptation of the complex eye, the medium ground finch on Daphne Major, and the transposons shared between species.

One very important thing to mention is that this is NOT a book that tries to "prove" evolution over creationism. Rogers does a very fair job discussing where the two groups agree and where their opinions differ, and then he presents evidence for evolution. As a Christian who also accepts evolution it is sometimes difficult for me to read books arguing for, or against, evolution because many authors try to polarize the reader into one thinking or the other. Rogers uses the word "Creationist" to describe evolution skeptics, but doesn't bother himself with arguing against Creationism. This leaves the reader free to enjoy learning about the evidence for evolution without feeling at all defensive.

You do not need to be a scientist to understand "The Evidence for Evolution." It has been written for ANY adult to understand, it is only 102 pages, and it is quick-paced. If you like reading, love learning, and would like to know more about evolution this is a great weekend read.
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on September 4, 2011
At only 102 pages in the main text, this book gets one's attention. What did he decide to include and what got left out? How does this book compare to other writers who attempt to explain the evidence for evolution to the public with their recently published works - for example Dawkins, Miller and Coyne?

There are 10 short chapters, so the book is an easy read. Chapter 2 describes microevolution, although he never uses the term that I recall. Chapter 3 will be a favorite of readers since it discusses evidence for macroevolution; he covers whale fossils and then combines the fossil evidence with whale transposon data to show how genetics and fossils come together to conclusively demonstrate macroevolution, confirming each other with a very nice and unique touch. Chapter 5 is unique as it discusses adaptive peaks and valleys and how species can cross them. His garden hose analogy is wonderfully applied to the recurrent laryngeal nerve and vas deferens anatomy. Other topics discussed include island biogeography in Chapter 6 with Rogers returning to the cladogram as evidence for evolution, and repeating the format used in the transposon discussion. Everyone should read his discussion of isochrons in Chapter 7 and how we know the ancient age of our earth and fossils. As he did with the whales, Rogers combines the fossil record for human evolution with the newer genetic data showing how transposons confirm the human fossil record in Chapter 8. There is an Index and Bibliography. I don't recall much if any mention of ERVs, Human Chromosome 2 fusion, nor atavisms which are important to consider in the context of the transposon data he presents.

If you're short on time, read this one. If you can, read both Rogers and Coyne (Why Evolution Is True).
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on March 10, 2012
[Full disclosure: I'm a friend of the author and his family.]

This book is an excellent addition to the argument that has been running for over 150 years: is Darwinian evolution the best way to explain the origins of the human species and diversity of life we see on Earth today?

Rogers engages with the most important questions people might have about evolution, and showcases the wealth of evidence that has collected over the centuries in support of evolution. He traces the most common criticisms of evolution back to the 1860s, and as he does so, he shows how little evidence supported evolution at the time, and how much has been collected since.

Throughout the book, he is very polite and respectful towards people of faith, and surprisingly patient as he engages the doubts that people might have. Though the author leaves little room for doubt about the veracity of evolution, he never insults believers or their faith, belying the claim (on both sides) that faith and science cannot coexist.

The book is brief, but packed with good information, clear writing, and strong reasoning. It's exactly as long as it needs to be without getting bogged down. I suspect that readers who aren't already familiar with some scientific concepts will have trouble in places, but any intelligent layperson should get something useful out of it. I do think a "For Dummies" version of the book could usefully serve a wider audience, but The Evidence for Evolution is an excellent read, and belongs on your shelf.
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on July 11, 2013
This is a book that should have a ready market; misconceptions about evolution and evolutionary theory are the norm in the USA today. The author makes the important point that almost every criticism of evolutionary theory has the same basis - they are all arguments from personal incredulity. He wrote a book aimed at relieving some of that incredulity, and providing the knowledge needed to understand the evidence. There are individual chapters devoted to many of the most popular misconceptions (e.g. "So Species Change?", "Can Evolution Lead to Big Changes?", Has There Been Enough Time?, etc.). Each chapter outlines the evidence, with citations to the literature as needed. Note that all of these questions are the same as those that arose in Darwin's time, and were originally (and effectively) addressed in "On the Origin of Species". Then Rogers summarizes the evidence, old and new, in a paragraph or two. This is an effective strategy to reach someone who is genuinely incredulous and who can examine the evidence reasonably. Sadly, many evolution skeptics have not come to skepticism via reason, and thus reason cannot be used to move them out of skepticism. (This review is excerpted from my review in Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association.)
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on October 1, 2012
Alan Rogers, a world-class population geneticist and evolutionary ecologist, has finally done what other writers on the topic of evolution have failed to do: write a short, precise, convincing book on why scientists believe evolution actually happens. One doesn't, I believe, even require a university-level education in biology under one's belt in order to profitably read this book and learn about specific traits that biologists are quite sure were the product of natural selection winnowing out unfit genetic variants (given environmental conditions) and blindly choosing only the genetic variants that conferred survival or reproductive benefits upon organisms. Evolution is not just a theory, it is a fact of life on Earth (and probably off Earth as well) that happens over and over and will continue to happen far into the future. The types of evidence Alan presents here (both morphological and genetical) should convince any skeptic that we biologists aren't just shooting in the dark, we are making hypotheses and testing them with field data and controlled experiments. In addition, Alan demonstrates how evolutionarily-informed hypotheses can be compared with hypotheses that make different predictions and we can assess which hypotheses have the most support. Finally, I hope it can profitably be read by creationists and rain the light of alethia down upon their heads.
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on July 27, 2014
Took an anthro class from Rogers at the University of Utah and had to buy this book. Cogent, though the arguments sometimes require the smallest bit of biological literacy to understand, which I could see being problematic given that this book is primarily intended for those who aren't entirely convinced of the case for evolution. Buy it for your idiot creationist friends.
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on January 12, 2015
A short, easy to read book that explains some of the evidence clearly. I love this book because he does not try to prove that evolution is true, he just puts forth what he knows. And he does not talk down to Creationists, as is common in these types of books. If you believe in the Biblical story, but are curious about evolution, this book will not offend you. Well done, Dr. Rogers!
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on August 26, 2015
Outstanding Purchase!
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on November 5, 2014
Brand new. So nice
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on February 8, 2013
I loved the course I took from Rogers, this book summarizes a lot of what you can read from Darwin to Dawkins but makes the language of the study of evolution very accessible. I would recommend it for students from 6th Grade to grad school and for anybody who wants a refresher introduction to how evolution happens and is observed.
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