Know any Evolution books?

golem at golem at
Fri Jan 5 10:12:05 EST 1996

>   gmills at (Stephen Mills) writes:
>  Has anyone read "Darwins Dangerous Idea"  by Daniel C. Dennet yet.  I
>  was wondering if I should take the time.
>  Stephen Mills
>  It is better to tell the truth than to lie.  
>  It is better to know than to be ignorant.
>  H. L. Mencken

Not really. After his success with "consiousness explaines" he got a $ advance for this 
one. The first chapter is good history, good quotes. The rest is inconsistent and shows his lack of 
knowledge and understanding of biology. Being a computer guy, he ignores the beautiful 
complexity of nature, roles of contingency and chance in evolution and wants to make everything 
clean and neat and reducible to formulas and algorithms.
    When dazzled by style, use the Gould's 'tape'-test. If the video tape of life on Earth is replayed 
again and again, Author X would expect :
          a) no life at all
          b) only simplest forms
          c) complex forms, but nothing resembling the actual life as we know it
          d) complex forms, some intelligent, not like the known life-forms of today
          e) complex forms, very much like what we know, occasionaly ( at some % of reruns) humans, 
sometimes intelligent
          f) every time, exact repetition of the history of life on earth, including smart humans
    On this scale, Dennet is g) every time you replay the tape, you will find D.Dennet writing a book 
called "Darwin's Dangerous Idea".
    Is that enough?

   Bora Zivkovic, NCSU

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