Understanding Evolution

Understanding Evolution

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Kostas Kampourakis
Cambridge University Press, 2014-04-03
EAN 9781107034914, ISBN10: 1107034914
270 pages, 24.8 x 24.7 x 17.6 cm

'This is not just another book about why an evolutionary perspective on life is scientific whereas a Creationist perspective is not. In this well-articulated and thought-provoking book, Kostas Kampourakis asks why so many people reject evolution, despite the evidence for it and its enormous explanatory power. Kampourakis addresses the question of the acceptance of evolution from a psychological point of view, convincingly demonstrating that it is a rather counter-intuitive idea: conceptual obstacles to understanding, and thus accepting, evolution are rooted in widespread intuitions related to teleology and essentialism, which generate unwarranted preconceptions about the nature of world and life. Kampourakis' final suggestion is that one should try to understand evolutionary theory without worrying about its religious, metaphysical, or other implications.' Alessandro Minelli, University of Padova

'A tour-de-force, beautifully reasoned and written. This masterful tome will be essential reading for anyone interested in the genesis and broader relevance of evolutionary thought.' John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine, and author of Evolutionary Pathways in Nature (Cambridge, 2006)

'It is terrific, well written, thoughtful, balanced, and very didactic.' Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

'Understanding Evolution by Kostas Kampourakis deserves a wide readership. It is a sensitive introduction to evolutionary thinking, showing the very great importance of the father of the subject, Charles Darwin, setting the disputes with religion in context, showing that the evidence is overwhelming but that no reader need feel threatened. It is fair and comprehensive, lively without being heavy-handed, and judicious in its judgments. Read it yourself and get a copy for your family, your friends, and your students!' Michael Ruse, Florida State University, and editor of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought (Cambridge, 2013)

'Understanding Evolution is a major accomplishment. It combines historical and philosophical perspectives with substantive biological examples to succinctly explain evolutionary concepts. Kampourakis provides us with a superb point of entry into the subject matter that is written with an eye to reader comprehension and effective pedagogy. This is especially on display in the illuminating discussions of conceptual change and different obstacles to understanding evolution. It should be required reading, and not only for students.' Alan C. Love, University of Minnesota