Genomic Repairman's Bookclub: Am I A Monkey?

Apr 04 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

So this is my second go round at the book club where I toss out a suggestion after I hit you with a bevy of books the first time.  So today's book is,

Ayala is a former priest, who went on to study evolutionary biology, win a National Medal of Science, and serve as president of AAAS.  I'd like to say that someone turned me onto his book, but that would be a lie.  I picked this book up for next to nothing when trolling the bombed out and depleted science section of my local Borders that was selling off everything.  This is actually a great book to explain evolution to laypeople and might actually be useful to get that Tea Party card-carrying Shiite Evangelical Christian neighbor of yours to actually change their views on evolution being some kooky idea we devil-worshippin heathens espouse.

So in the book, Ayala hits up his 6 big questions of evolution:

1.  Am I a Monkey?
2.  Why is Evolution a Theory?
3.  What is DNA?
4.  Do All Scientists Accept Evolution?
5.  How Did Life Begin?
6.  Can One Believe in Evolution and God?

We all can debate question #6 until we are blue in the face so I'm not going to touch that one with a 10 foot pole.  I consider questions 2, 4, and 5 to be focal to getting the point across to people that evolution is real and is driving diversity.  Ayala does a great job of explaining the difference of the solid foundation of factual evidence of theories and that to us the term means more than your "theory" that the asshole down the street is stealing your newspaper.  Do All Scientists Accept Evolution? Most do but not all, answers Ayala, but the ones who have poured over the data and knowledgeable with this field do.

It's a quick read that is nice to give non-sciency folk a feel for what evolution is, how it works, and how its not some hairbrained scheme Chucky D cooked up while trapped on a boat.

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