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Steve_A's avatar

Best books to check out for theories in regards to evolution?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) March 31st, 2010

This theory or theories has really been irritating my brain. I plan to go the library today and do some research. I suppose I could find most information online but I prefer the library atmosphere and reading books for a change. Just has a nice quality to it sometimes…. :)

Anyways my main question, are there any specific books you could recommend to me or books that would be related enough to be helpful?

Thanks for the help as always.

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17 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Best book I have ever read on the subject of evolution and life in general is The Web of Life, by Fritjof Capra. I’ve read it cover to cover three times.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Well “The Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin for starters! ;)

Steve_A's avatar

@CaptainHarley I will look into it thanks.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Steve_A Figured you had that in the plans already heheh.

j0ey's avatar

Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene…..great book.

EmpressPixie's avatar

damn! I was just about to suggest that!

I second @j0ey—Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene is a good book for several reasons: it’s a good book on evolution and one of the main books that cause a tizzy in people about evolution. That makes it important scientifically and socially—not unlike Origin of the Species.

poisonedantidote's avatar

-The origin of species – Charles Darwin
-The greatest show on earth – Richard Dawkins

this website: talk origins

Blackberry's avatar

Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene and The Greatest Show on Earth – The Evidence for Evolution.

earthduzt's avatar

A very interesting book is The Elegant Universe A Theory of String by Brian Green. Its kind of an evolution book, more on the theory of eveolution of everything. Its really heavy and concept that is hard for most people to grasp, but quite easy once you understand it.

Rarebear's avatar

Jerry Coyne: Why Evolution is True

Qingu's avatar

@earthduzt, string theory has nothing to do with the biological theory of evolution, which is what the OP is talking about.

I will second (third, fourth, whatever) The Selfish Gene. Very easy to read and it’s fascinating. And Dawkins doesn’t come off as the prick he is often castigated as.

Rarebear's avatar

@Qingu Only problem with The Selfish Gene is that the book is quite old. Also, it concentrates on the genetic component of evolution as opposed to the bigger story. But I could be wrong on that as I studied it in college over 20 years ago.

Dawkins has a new book which was already mentioned in this thread called The Greatest Show on Earth which I haven’t read but I hear is good. Jerry Coyne’s book is just on my mind because I happen to be reading it now.

lilikoi's avatar

Another vote for The Selfish Gene. I just finished it (well, I still am reading the endnotes). It was great. You may also be interested in books by Steven Pinker.

mattbrowne's avatar

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Inner-Fish-Journey-3-5-Billion-Year/dp/0307277453/

Qingu's avatar

@Rarebear, it may be dated; I believe Dawkins has been rightfully criticized for being too dismissive of non-genetic forms of evolution, such as group selection. Though I think he does do a very good job of getting the big ideas of evolution across, and I thought the section on memes was pretty fascinating too.

The only other Dawkins book I’ve read was “The Ancestor’s Tale,” which is much newer and also really good, though very different from the Selfish Gene. More of a storybook/bestiary.

Rarebear's avatar

@Qingu I agree. I saw The Selfish Gene as being more a book about a point of view of evolution—how one gene wants to perpetuate itself at the expense of others. It was interesting, but it didn’t really click for me until I read other books on evolution that were more comprehensive.

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