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The Evolution Wars: A Guide to the Debates Paperback – September 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0813530369 ISBN-10: 0813530369 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; New edition edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813530369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813530369
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ruse delivers an engaging, thought-provoking, and witty analysis of the history of evolutionary thought. . . . A must read." -- Choice

Book Description

The red-hot issue of evolution versus creation is still scorching across the United States—in states from Texas to New Hampshire. The text focuses on the great debates that have engaged, divided, stimulated, and provoked scientists and others to ponder the origins of humankind.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
With due recognition of the importance of a son's opinion, Michael Ruse's book is simply good, not the best. I'd recommend two others for different reasons. DAWKINS VS GOULD by Kim Sterelny because it's much more succinct without losing the substance of the debate; also THE DARWIN WARS since it's written by a journalist for a general audience, and it doesn't assume readers have a biology background.
This last point is the main criticism I have with THE EVOLUTION WARS especially since the book bills itself as "A guide to the Debates". Ruse writes in a style that is not easily accessible by non scientists. In fact he is on record as saying that the "popularizers" of science do their field of study a disservice. If that's the authors view he should not be surprised if the vast number of popular science readers do this book a disservice by ignoring it.
It's the authors fault, and it's also a pity because Ruse is by far the most knowledgeable of the three. What he does better than the others is put the debate into it's historical setting, tracing the origins right back to Erasmus Darwin (Charles' grandfather). As a philosopher, Ruse is also the best equipped to deal with the nexus of religion and science. The book is ultimately rewarding but it's a bit of a slog. I got annoyed in parts where the opportunity for "simplification" and clarity for a general reader presented itself, but Ruse instead chose to express his scientific prowess.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does a wonderful job of presenting a wide variety of debates that have surrounded evolutionary theory from the time of Darwin to the present. Ruse makes his own positions known, but tries to present all sides fairly, and for the most part does it well. He is especially interesting in his dissection of the underlying philosophical concerns that have driven the discussion of evolution.
In spots the writing rambles somewhat and can become unclear. After going to great lengths to define what is meant by "evolution," Ruse makes no such effort to define his term, "secular religion," which recurs frequently throughout his discussions. In other places, the author veers off in a new direction before finishing his point. For example, while addressing Philip Johnson's criticism of the "methodological naturalism" of science, Ruse slides off into the question whether one can be a methodological naturalist and still believe in God. It's a fascinating and worthwhile discussion, but it leaves out what seems to me to be the more important question in response to Johnson: can one do science at all without assuming that physical events have predictable physical causes?
For serious students of the subject, this book will not be the last word. For general readers it opens up a window on the rich field of evolutionary science and the debates that have surrounded it. The suggested additional reading at the end of each chapter should help anyone who is interested in pursuing a topic further.
It helps to have some basic background in biology to understand this book, but no extensive knowledge is necessary.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stern on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Ruse, a Professor of Philosophy at FSU, and a veteran of the evolution-vs.-creation tug-of-war for the hearts and minds of the American public provides an excellent overview for the layman of the intellectual debates that have raged between supporters and opponents of Charles Darwin and his theory of descent with modification, commonly referred to as evolution.

Ruse also highlights and elucidates the points of view of the various types of evolutionary scholars, including the classicists, neo-Darwinists, sociobiologists, etc., and offers his own perspective regarding the relative merits of each of these approaches.

The book is meticulously referenced, and each chapter includes comprehesive lists of additional reading material for those interested in more in-depth study of the particular chapter's subject matter.

Overall, this book is an invaluable resource to those interested in understanding the current status of evolutionary thought among scientists, and how that thought (pardon the pun) "evolved" over the past two and a half centuries.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Taylor on March 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...to provide an INTRODUCTION to the multiple debates spawned by the introduction of Darwinian theory...it is clear, concise, and interesting...more to the point it provides excellent references to allow readers to further pursue those debates and controversies which they find most interesting.
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