Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 592 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1 in
Published: June 12, 1996
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 068482471X
ISBN - 13: 9780684824710
Read from the Book
Chapter 1 Tell Me Why 1. Is Nothing Sacred? We used to sing a lot when I was a child, around the campfire at summer camp, at school and Sunday school, or gathered around the piano at home. One of my favorite songs was "Tell Me Why." (For those whose personal memories don''t already embrace this little treasure, the music is provided in the appendix. The simple melody and easy harmony line are surprisingly beautiful.) Tell me why the stars do shine, Tell me why the ivy twines, Tell me why the sky''s so blue. Then I will tell you just why I love you. Because God made the stars to shine, Because God made the ivy twine, Because God made the sky so blue. Because God made you, that''s why I love you. This straightforward, sentimental declaration still brings a lump to my throat -- so sweet, so innocent, so reassuring a vision of life! And then along comes Darwin and spoils the picnic. Or does he? That is the topic of this book. From the moment of the publication of Origin of Species in 1859, Charles Darwin''s fundamental idea has inspired intense reactions ranging from ferocious condemnation to ecstatic allegiance, sometimes tantamount to religious zeal. Darwin''s theory has been abused and misrepresented by friend and foe alike. It has been misappropriated to lend scientific respectability to appalling political and social doctrines. It has been pilloried in caricature by opponents, some of whom would have it compete in our children''s schools with "creation science," a pathetic h
Table of Contents
Contents Preface Part I: Starting in the Middle CHAPTER ONE Tell Me Why 1. Is Nothing Sacred? 2. What, Where, When, Why -- and How? 3. Locke''s "Proof" of the Primacy of Mind 4. Hume''s Close Encounter CHAPTER TWO An Idea Is Born 1. What Is So Special About Species? 2. Natural Selection -- an Awful Stretcher 3. Did Darwin Explain the Origin of Species? 4. Natural Selection as an Algorithmic Process 5. Processes as Algorithms CHAPTER THREE Universal Acid 1. Early Reactions 2. Darwin''s Assault on the Cosmic Pyramid 3. The Principle of the Accumulation of Design 4. The Tools for R and D: Skyhooks or Cranes? 5. Who''s Afraid of Reductionism? CHAPTER FOUR The Tree of Life 1. How Should We Visualize the Tree of Life? 2. Color-coding a Species on the Tree 3. Retrospective Coronations: Mitochondrial Eve and Invisible Beginnings 4. Patterns, Oversimplification, and Explanation CHAPTER FIVE The Possible and the Actual 1. Grades of Possibility? 2. The Library of Mendel 3. The Complex Relation Between Genome and Organism 4. Possibility Naturalized CHAPTER SIX Threads of Actuality in Design Space 1. Drifting and Lifting Through Design Space 2. Forced Moves in the Game of Design 3. The Unity of Design Space Part II: Darwinian Thinking in Biology CHAPTER SEVEN Priming Darwin'' s Pump 1. Back Beyond Darwin''s Frontier 2. Molecular Evolution 3. The Laws of the Game of Life 4. Eternal Recurrence -- Life Without Foundations? CHAPTER EIGHT Biology Is Engineering 1. The Sciences of the Artificia
From the Publisher
In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin''s great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity''s place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin''s vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.
About the Author
Daniel Dennett is the author of Brainstorms, Elbow Room, and Consciousness Explained. He is currently the Distinguished Arts and Sciences Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He lives in North Andover, Massachusetts, with his wife and has two children.
From Our Editors
Nominated for the 1995 National Book Award for Non-Fiction, this masterly exploration reaffirms the validity of Darwin's theory of natural selection and brilliantly demonstrates its compatibility with free will, sacred beliefs, and the dignity of humankind.
Jim Holt The Wall Street Journal Dennett is a philosopher of rare originality, rigor, and wit. Here he does one of the things philosophers are supposed to be good at: clearing up conceptual muddles in the sciences.