- Paperback: 586 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 12, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 068482471X
- ISBN-13: 978-0684824710
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 176 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA: EVOLUTION AND THE MEANINGS OF LIFE Reprint Edition
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One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Highest Recommendation!
From Publishers Weekly
Dennett's philosophical argument in support of Darwinism was a National Book Award finalist.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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In a heated and publicized exchange resulting largely from Dennett's attack on Gould with an entire chapter of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" devoted to discrediting him, Gould, who is considered the foremost authority on espousing the views on evolution called Dennett a "Darwinian Fundamentalist" who has reduced biological and cultural evolution to a largely mindless algorithmic process.
Dennett introduces two new metaphors of cranes and skyhooks which he uses repeatedly in his arguments. Cranes are the lifting mechanisms facilitating the design of organisms. They are grounded and explainable. Skyhooks are imaginary, unsupported and supposedly capable of advancing organisms in leaps and bounds in unexplainable ways. Dennett morphs some of the ideas of his detractors into skyhooks, and because skyhooks cannot exist, they have to be either falsehoods or reduced to cranes.
The subtitle of "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" is "Evolution and the Meanings of Life", but throughout the 500 plus pages, Dennett dabbles in hostile territory, unapologetically attacking critics of natural selection as the primary engine of evolution. Perhaps this book should have been divided into two parts; one titled "Evolution and the Meanings of Life", and the other, "Duel of the Titans."