Evolution: A Very Short Introduction: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | July 16, 2003

byBrian Charlesworth, Deborah Charlesworth

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Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was createdessentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Less than 150 years ago, the special creation by God of living species was still dominant.The relentless application of the scientific method of inference from experiment and observation, without reference to religious, or governmental authority has completely transformed our view of our origins and relation to the universe, in less than 500 years. Few would dispute that this programmehas been spectacularly successful, particularly in the twentieth century.This book is about the crucial role of evolutionary biology in transforming our view of human origins and relation to the universe, and the impact of this idea on traditional philosophy and religion. The purpose of this book is to introduce the general reader to some of the most important basicfindings, concepts, and procedures of evolutionary biology, as it has developed since the first publications of Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago. Evolution provides a unifying set of principals for the whole of biology; it also illuminates the relation of human beings to theuniverse and each other. In addition, many aspects of evolution have practical importance; for instance, the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs are pressing medical problems.

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Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was createdessentially in its present state about 6000 years ag...

Brian Charlesworth is Royal Society Research Professor at the Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, and President of the Society for the Study Evolution. His research is mainly in evolutionary genetics, applying classical and molecular genetics to the study of evolution and natural variation. He ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.41 inPublished:July 16, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192802518

ISBN - 13:9780192802514

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Processes of Evolution3. The Evidence for Evolution: Similarities and Differences Between Organisms4. The Evidence for Evolution: Patterns in Time and Space5. Adaptation and Natural Selection6. The Formation and Divergence of Species7. Some Difficult ProblemsFurther Reading