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The Top 10 Myths About Evolution Paperback – November 1, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Among the many topics that have galvanized the public in recent years, the debate over evolution versus intelligent design has generated an outpouring of heated rhetoric from both sides. Terms such as "missing link," "natural selection," and "survival of the fittest" are glibly bandied about, yet these core ideas are seldom addressed with any degree of accuracy or understanding. In an effort to clarify prevailing misinterpretations and counteract misinformation relayed through the media, from the pulpit, or in the classroom, the authors have identified the 10 most common misconceptions about evolution. From "evolution is just a theory" to "man descended from monkeys," the inaccuracies behind each flawed statement are methodically exposed and carefully refuted, citing and expanding upon legitimate research through detailed annotations. Passionate in their support of evolutionary science, the authors nonetheless adopt a straightforward and ecumenical approach, precisely distilling each hot-button issue to its cogent essence. The result is a meticulously researched and distinctly presented overview of a complex and contentious issue. Carol Haggas
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"Passionate in their support of evolutionary science, the authors nonetheless adopt a straightforward and ecumenical approach, precisely distilling each hot-button issue to its cogent essence. The result is a meticulously researched and distinctly presented overview of a complex and contentious issue....A clear, understandable approach makes this an excellent student resource."
BOOKLIST

"A modest proposal to reverse the national great leap backwards: I say we all familiarize ourselves with the compelling, crystalline logic of The Top Ten Myths about Evolution. Then, let's do our best to connect with those who have yet to accept the ancient legacy of life on earth as revealed by Darwin and affirmed in countless ways by the generations of science ever since."
ANN DRUYAN
co-author with Carl Sagan of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102479X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024798
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jean E. Pouliot on January 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
First of all, those who believe in the power of science to understand the natural world should breathe a sigh of relief. This book is not an attack on the theory of evolution. Thankfully, it is an attempt to disabuse the pro-evolution layman of certain commonly-held misunderstandings about the way evolution works. "Survival of the fittest," for instance, does not require animals to war with each other. A woodpecker can be relatively unfit in comparison to another by dint of a tiny difference in hearing, allowing one bird to catch a few more bugs and have more baby woodpeckers. Human beings are not the pinnacle of creation, though we may be agents of its destruction! That we happen to be the top dog in many of the Earth's ecosystems today is happenstance; evolution has not been toiling for eons to produce us. A little change in the environment, and we would go the way of the dodo.

The final two chapters veer from the book's approach in order to attack both so-called Creation Science and Intelligent Design theory. In particular, the authors go after ID's theory of irreducible complexity -- the idea that certain biological structures -- the eye or the flagellum of of a bacterium -- are far too complicated to have been designed by anything but a divine Creator.

As a pro-evolutionist (and devout theist, I might add), I congratulate the authors on their intent. However, the volume serves more as a reminder to the layman of how evolution can be misunderstood. At only 200 pages, the book is far too sketchy to persuade the doubter that evolution is the best way to explain the disparate lifeforms we encounter on Earth today. From a personal perspective, I have been more persuaded by the books of Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond, Matt Ridley and others.
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Humorist Dave Barry remarked once:

"I constantly see evidence that Americans do not understand basic scientific principles. For example, the great mathematician and dead person Sir Isaac Newton (who also invented gravity) proved in 1853 that, no matter how hard you push, you cannot fit an object into an airplane storage compartment if the object is way bigger than the compartment. Americans still do not understand this."

Unfortunately, this is also true about the average American's knowledge about evolution.

Cameron Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly debunk the ten most common accusations made against evolution. Explaining it in layman's terms, Smith and Sullivan set the record straight on things like evolution is "just a theory", evolution is immoral, Intelligent Design is legitimate science, humans come from monkeys and six other claims made by opponents of scientific inquiry.

The book is very well written and researched and is an invaluable source for the average person who wants to read the facts about this topic. I am sure the authors had the fact that many people (my self included) do not remember what they were taught in school since people usually think of science as boring.

This book is sorely needed due to the lack of knowledge, misinformation in the media as well as supporters of creationism and un-Intelligent Design who deliberately lie about evolution and try to present their pseudo-science as fact.
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Format: Paperback
I found this well written and thoroughly researched book to be an excellent treatment of the most common myths about evolution. Sullivan and Smith dissect the most common misconceptions and mischaracteriazations about evolution, exposing and correcting the sloppy phraseology used in the mass media and clearly explaining "what evolution is and how it happens." I found the chapter regarding the claims of "creation science" and "intelligent design" proponents to be especially illuminating. They expose the severe weaknesses and "deliberate obfuscations" in their arguments.
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Format: Paperback
"Misconceptions" would be a better word in the title than "myths," but no matter. I give this very readable book five stars because of its educational value. Reading this book is an excellent introduction to the basis and the ideas of Darwinian evolution, as well as providing talking points to refute the specious argument of creationists and "intelligent designers."

The first misconception is in the common interpretation of the phrase "the survival of the fittest." The Darwinian jungle is indeed a jungle (and a savannah, an ocean, a river, a desert, etc.), but the key to survival--being "fit" and successfully reproducing--usually has a lot less to do with how sharp your claws or how great your physical strength. Rather it has to do with how well you can make a living in the environment you find yourself in. Fitness implies such things as a good immune system, the ability to co-operate with other living things, perhaps the ability to eat a wide variety of foods, or an abundant food that will not disappear, and so on. Being able to kick butt big time is probably not a good example of fitness.

Second misconception: "It's just a theory." Yes, and a tiger is just a cat. Or, would you believe that it is very remotely possible that the earth is not round. Or, yes it is possible that only I exist and I am just dreaming up all this stuff. Actually, evolution is as much of an established fact as any theory can be. A theory, by the way, as used by scientists, isn't just an unproven idea. It is "a logical, tested, well-supported explanation for a great variety of facts." The "theory" of evolution is supported by the fossil record and the analysis of the DNA of living organisms. It is demonstrated in our lifetimes by the adaptation of microorganism such as disease bacteria.
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