Customer Review

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A searchlight in the night, November 3, 2001
This review is from: The Evolutionists: The Struggle for Darwin's Soul (Hardcover)
I found this book to be a godsend. I have read extensively (30 + books) in the areas of complexity and chaos theory, evolutionary psychology,evolutionary theory, genetic programming, evolutionary history, genetic mutation, and other related areas and frequently felt lost in the forest of ideas, though increasingly familiar with each tree, twig, and type of bark (to extend the analogy). Richard Morris does an admirable job of describing the forest, and helped give me a context to understand the (frequently high-decibel!) arguements between the advocates of different positions. Right from the start, Morris categorizes thinkers into broad schools -- for example, among evolutionary theorists he groups the disputatants into two broad schools: pluralists and reductionists. He clearly explains the differences between these, and does so without himself becoming polemical. He even devotes space to very recent studies (1999 & 2000) casting light on 'which way the evidence points.' Morris sidesteps the creationists (thank you!) and examines differences within the scientific community itself. Many familiar names appear within this book: John Maynard Smith, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Niles Eldridge, Steven Jay Gould (of course!), Richard Lewontin, Charles Darwin himself and others. I was surprised at a few names that did NOT appear: Jared Diamond, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brian Fagan, John Koza and Terrence W. Deacon, just to name a few.... But my gratitude for Morris's very clear guide overwhelms my quibbles. Those of us who stumble from book to book trying to understand the issues and the reasons for disagreements (not to mention the development of various lines of thought!) have long needed an overview like this one!
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Location: Houston, TX United States

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