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The Causes of Evolution (Princeton Science Library) Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691024424
ISBN-10: 0691024421
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Haldane's work is even better than most modern popularizations in its balance between gentle rhetoric and logical rigor. . . . In addition, working through the arguments in Haldane's Appendices is still likely to produce new ideas in students of the latest topics in sociobiology and evolutionary genetics."--Henry S. Horn, Princeton University

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Science Library
  • Paperback: 60 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (September 20, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691024421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691024424
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964) was a British-born geneticist and evolutionary biologist, and one of the founders of population genetics.

Perhaps immodestly, he states that "I can write of natural selection with authority because I am one of the three people who know most about its mathematical theory."

He opines that "We have seen that natural selection is a reality, that the facts of variation, though different from what Darwin believed them to be, are yet such as to yield a raw material on which natural selection can work. We have also seen that variation directly induced by the environment is not in itself competent to explain the known facts of evolution. But we know very little about what is actually selected, any attempt to give a complete account of natural selection at work must be decidedly speculative." Nevertheless, "in spite of the above criticisms, natural selection is an important cause of evolution."

In addition to natural selection, Haldane suggests that "It is at least quite certain that Mendelian gene differences, presumably due to mutation, have played a certain part in the origin of species," and that "There is no reason to think that bacterial mutation is a phenomenon essentially different from mutation in higher organisms, and it is not even clear that it is commoner."

Haldane even addresses some theological notions, admitting that he "sometimes" reads Catholic apologists, "because their arguments are at least coherent." He writes, "Blake expressed some doubt as to whether God had made the tiger. But the tiger is in many ways an admirable animal. We have now to ask whether God made the tape-worm.
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Old fashioned of course, but very essential to understand Haldane's contribution.
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