Homo Evolutis (Kindle Single) (TED Books) Kindle Edition
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In short, the authors present highly compelling evidence for the argument that we humans -- homo sapiens -- (along with all the rest of the creatures in this world) are evolving...right now, in real time. The complacent view that humans are the end result of the evolutionary process is looking less and less plausible.
And it turns out that evolution does not necessarily take place over extremely long stretches of time. Rather, there is a kind of gene transfer that moves horizontally; this in addition to the more traditional understanding of genes as being passed along vertically, from one generation to the next. In horizontal gene transfer, specific genetic material is passed between organisms in a way that bypasses the reproductive process and takes place more directly. Most often this occurs between a virus or bacterium and a host animal, such as a human. Often there are other creatures in between the microbe and the human, such as a bird or a monkey or a pig. (Think bird and swine flu or a viral infection.)
All of this is presented in a clear, straightforward way that is easily understood, while at the same time being quite fantastic. I cannot recommend this little e-book highly enough, especially to readers who like science and are the kind of people who ask, "why?" I very much hope that the authors expand this small volume into a full-blown book on this most absorbing topic.
More into his talk and again: short sentence, pause, short sentence, silence. Fact. Only this time the audience remains silent. In wonder, disbelief, awe. Of that mindboggling scientific discovery that was just revealed. And as simple as that, the speaker continues to say this happened in that lab, it is currently in experimental stage, but well in a couple of years this and that will happen and so it's not so difficult to imagine it getting applied to humans in order to solve this particular problem. And then he usually hints why not imagine it going even further, not just helping mankind(restoring health) but enhancing/upgrading mankind too? Enter Homo Evolutis. Fascinating.
I really enjoy Juan Enriquez style and his insights and I do love science and technology.
So how could this book go wrong?
First of all, I believe it tried to imitate that same speaking style which is not easy on paper. It can be tiring, I found it unpleasant personally. Especially in the introduction where not many unknown or exiting things were mentioned. I was confident it was only a humorous attempt to start the book and then a normal main essay would follow. Alas. It was all like that, a very strange style indeed. I was expecting an essay and what I got was a series of questions, statements, facts, sometimes left unanswered, sometimes answered in a provokative way, sometimes answered with humor. It would still be great stimulation and great food for thought except...except nothing much was new.
And that is my biggest complain. If you have watched some of the author's talks there are not many things you will learn reading this book. There is no further elaboration on this subject, no philosophical discussion about the impact of this kind of progress on society, even the examples used are the same. Admittedly you will learn some new(and interesting) facts but not enough to justify even the low 2.99 price of this ebook. In my opinion I believe you will be better off to go on youtube or TED and enjoy the author presenting these ideas himself or/and wait for the eventual hardcover to be published.
This book provides a provocative viewpoint of how our scientfic progress, particularly in the area of genomics, will change and IS changing the forces that drive the evolution of homo sapiens. The thesis of evolving into or towards a new species is interesting and well documented. It is a futuristic view well worth reading and being aware of.
As a scientist, I may say that the coverage is meant for the general public, very correct on the reporting of facts, but because of the shortness of the book, it is on the light side. Do not expect to get an in-depth or a highly technical coverage of the subject, yet it is fairly complete. Scientific purists may object to this type of book, but as Medical School professor I believe that it is important that the general public is well informed, and this small book does a great job in presenting the issues clearly and in a way they are easily understood. It raises awareness of where we are going and what the issues are. That way people will be better informed.
For the price you cannot go wrong.
I highly recommend it.
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