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Am I a Monkey?: Six Big Questions about Evolution 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801897542
ISBN-10: 0801897548
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ayala, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize, is well positioned to write another book (after Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion) about the relationship between religion and science and the importance of evolution. He's done just that, but in surprisingly abbreviated form. The title's six questions are: am I a monkey?; why is evolution a theory?; what is DNA?; do all scientists accept evolution?; how did life begin?; and can one believe in evolution and God? Another question is, who is this book written for? Presumably for religious believers who reject evolution and are perplexed by Ayala's six questions. But beginning an answer to the title question by saying humans are more closely related to apes than to monkeys won't gain that reader's trust. Ayala also assumes a basic familiarity with biological terms and processes. The large point Ayala makes, repeatedly and clearly, is that science and religion are not contradictory, but rather complementary, as different ways of knowing the world. Ayala's passion is obvious, but it's not clear that evolution heretics will become believers after reading this book. 3 halftones, 5 line drawings.
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Review

Am I a Monkey? is a strongly recommended read for science collections with plenty of food for thought.

(Bookwatch)

Ayala presents an accessible introduction to Darwin's theory.

(Book News, Inc.)

Clear, concise, and written in an engaging style.

(Choice)

The book is well-written, accurate, and concise. It is accessible and easy to digest. I suspect that it will, in the long run, play a larger role in promoting the acceptance of evolution.

(Joel W. Martin Reports of the National Center for Science Education)

This book will be widely welcomed and frequently recommended.

(Ian Lancaster Biology of Reproduction)

This book is useful for anyone interested in evolution. It is a handy pocket-sized explanation of a theory, useful for evolutionary scholars to explain the fundamentals and not get lost in their particular areas of interest, useful for college (possibly even high school) teachers to provide a foundation of evolutionary theory, and is topical enough to pull in readers of all disciplines.

(Haley Moss Dillon Evolutionary Education Outreach)

Professor Ayala has written an important book―a lucid account of evolutionary theory and related topics, which reviews the overwhelming evidence that establishes evolution as an incontrovertible fact, and which then goes on to offer some convincing reasons why people of faith need not regard the theory of evolution as an enemy or an obstacle to their religious beliefs.

(Harry Frankfurt, author of On Bullshit and On Truth)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801897548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801897542
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Evolution has been a hot button issue ever since Darwin presented it. "Am I a Monkey?: Six Big Questions About Evolution" looks to explain six concepts about evolution and popular misconceptions about the whole bigger picture according to evolution, and offers reasonable ideas to support the theory and states that evolution and God are not enemies. "Am I a Monkey?" is a strongly recommended read for science collections with plenty of food for thought.
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Francisco José Ayala Pereda (born 1934) is a Spanish-American evolutionary biologist and philosopher at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former Dominican priest, who left the priesthood in the same year (1960) that he was ordained. He has written other books such as Darwin's Gift:: To Science and Religion, Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology, Studies in the Philosophy of Biology: Reduction and Related Problems, Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 2010 book, “[This book] seeks to explain some central tenets of the theory of evolution by answering questions that arise in the minds of people who are only vaguely familiar with the notion of evolution… science is a wondrously successful way of knowing the world, but it is not the only way… Science and religion need not be in contradiction. Indeed, if they are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because they concern different matters… Matters of value and meaning are outside science’s scope. In order to understand the purpose and meaning of life, as well as matters concerning moral and religious values, we need to look elsewhere. For many people these questions are very important, even more important than science per se.” (Pg.
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Format: Hardcover
Francisco José Ayala Pereda (born 1934) is a Spanish-American evolutionary biologist and philosopher at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former Dominican priest, who left the priesthood in the same year (1960) that he was ordained. He has written other books such as Darwin's Gift:: To Science and Religion, Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology, Studies in the Philosophy of Biology: Reduction and Related Problems, Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 2010 book, “[This book] seeks to explain some central tenets of the theory of evolution by answering questions that arise in the minds of people who are only vaguely familiar with the notion of evolution… science is a wondrously successful way of knowing the world, but it is not the only way… Science and religion need not be in contradiction. Indeed, if they are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because they concern different matters… Matters of value and meaning are outside science’s scope. In order to understand the purpose and meaning of life, as well as matters concerning moral and religious values, we need to look elsewhere. For many people these questions are very important, even more important than science per se.” (Pg.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Did human beings live during the age of dinosaurs? They did according to Ken Ham's $27 million Creation Museum, which opened in 2007 in Boone County, Kentucky. In this book, one of the nation's most prominent biologists, Professor Francisco J. Ayala, seeks to assure conservative Christians that faith is compatible with science. He also explains in layman's terms why "the theory of biological evolution is the central organizing concept of modern biology."

His explanation is succinct, comprehensible, and clears up misconceptions about evolution. His assurances to those who believe the earth is 10,000 years old will no doubt fall on deaf ears. For an explanation of why human beings simply cling tighter to their opinions when challenged instead of adjusting their views in light of the evidence, see my Amazon review of Mistakes Were Made, (But Not By Me) by Tavris and Aronson.

This is a useful book for those of us who haven't studied the subject in many decades, and who have questions about it. The main questions Ayala answers are these:

* Am I a monkey?
* Why is Evolution a Theory?
* Is there fossil evidence of transitional organisms?
* Do All Scientists Accept Evolution?
* How did life begin?
* Can One Believe in Evolution and God?

This review won't repeat Ayala's answer to those questions, but will recap the essence of Darwinism.

* The theory of evolution asserts facts about three related issues:
1. That organisms are related by common descent, which is the one established with "utmost certainty."
2. Evolutionary history
3.
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