- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Facts on File; 1 edition (November 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0816055157
- ISBN-13: 978-0816055159
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,033,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Encyclopedia of Evolution 1st Edition
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—This wide-ranging work covers topics from adaptation and extinction to genetics and the origin of the universe. The introduction discusses the medical evidence for evolution, such as the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; the origins, politics, motives, and theories behind creationism and intelligent design; and the basics of evolutionary theories. The more than 200 articles are alphabetically arranged, and most range from one to three pages in length. They include biographies of significant contributors to this important and controversial field. In addition, several longer essays scattered throughout the work discuss topics such as the role of genes in human behavior, religion and evolutionary scientists, the biological basis of death, and the question of other life in the universe. Difficult terms and concepts are defined in context. Both the essays and the general articles include lengthy further-reading lists consisting of print materials and Web sites. An appendix summarizes Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, which the author points out is a much-discussed but seldom-read work. Unremarkable black-and-white photographs and charts and illustrations relate directly to the text but do not contribute significantly to the work. An excellent addition.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Authored by an evolutionary biologist, this encyclopedia's tone is set in the beginning, where it is dedicated not to Charles Darwin but his wife, Emma, for "without Emma Darwin's help, Charles Darwin would most certainly have failed to complete his most famous works." Written in an engaging style at a level accessible to a nonspecialist audience, the volume provides a bridge between nonscientific and scholarly works. The 215 alphabetically arranged entries, ranging in length from a few paragraphs to several pages, span the development of evolutionary science. Examples include Adaptation; Character displacement; Eugenics; Language, evolution of; Linnaeus, Carolus; Mendelian genetics; Neandertals; Punctuated equilibria; Sociobiology; and Wilson, Edward O. References for further reading are provided at the end of most entries. A unique feature of this encyclopedia is the inclusion of five essays, written by the author, that explore particularly interesting topics related to evolutionary science: "How Much Do Genes Control Human Behavior?"; "What Are the 'Ghosts of Evolution'?"; "Can an Evolutionary Scientist be Religious?"; "Why Do Humans Die?"; and "Are Humans Alone in the Universe?" A 15-page appendix provides a summary of Charles Darwin's foundational 1859 work, On the Origin of Species, written at a level accessible to a modern reader. It would be impossible to write a reference work on evolution geared to a general audience without including information on creationism and its variations, such as intelligent design; author Rice takes the critical view of creationism that is prevalent among most scientists. The text is augmented by about 100 black-and-white illustrations, photographs, and charts. A comprehensive, well-constructed 29-page index provides subject access to the contents. Notable for its accessibility, the volume is recommended for high-school, public, and undergraduate academic libraries. The two-volume Encyclopedia of Evolution (Oxford, 2002) is a more comprehensive and proportionately more expensive set distinguished by overview essays written by prominent scientists and articles authored by 330 individual subject experts. Cannon, Nancy
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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What I like about Rice's book is that it is written lucidly. Topics are explained well and there is ample amount of detail (or course, if you are a complete beginner on this subject, you're still going to have to put forth some effort). This source is also loaded with excellent "bonus material" : there are great essays on religious topics, politics, philosophy, biographies, etc. Rice has a varied background in many subjects, for sure. He incorporates many fields of knowledge nicely into this work (there is much more in here than just BIOLOGY).
A few things I was disappointed with: It should have a geologic time scale, but does not. There was very little information on the origins of animal life (invertebrates). I thought the entry on the evolution of fish was weak. I thought the entry on the evolution of religion was weak (not enough on the various theories for this phenomenon).
Overall, an excellent resource.
In that light, I purchased a few good books on evolution for my daughter that would fill that void. If very young children can get a fear-based education in bible school every week, surely a 6th grader should be provided with a decent home library to supplement what is sorely lacking.
This one by Rice arrived in the mail first. While it IS geared toward 9th grade and HS readers, it is exactly what one could expect from an experienced and qualified biology teacher. Rice includes excellent book and web references. As a scientist and practicing Christian he handles the creationist/evolution debate nicely.
Of course my daughter immediately had to bring to the old man's attention the entry WHY DO HUMANS DIE?
Aging and Death Are in the Body--
"From age 30 to 75, the average male human loses 44 percent of his brain capacity, 64 percent of his taste buds, and 44 pecent of his lung capacity. The older man's heart output is 30 percent lower, and his nerves 10 percent slower. His brain receives 20 percent less blood. During exercise the older man absorbs 60 percent less oxygen into the blood." And so on.
I immediately turned to the entry 'religion, evolution of' for some consolation.
"Religion would probably have been a local abberation in early human populations had it not provided some evolutionary advantage."
In my shrinking brain I'm going to remember that when I review creationist lit on Amazon.