An Examination of How Scientists Ask and Answer Questions Using the Story of Evolution as a Paradigm
Lockshin, Richard A.
2007, XI, 440 p.
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Addresses the theoretical basis of science and is not just "watered-down Biology"
Explains the most complex issues in a clear and non-technical manner
Emphasizes the accessibility of scientific thinking and the excitement of science even to students who have feared or disliked what they considered to be science
Relates the development of scientific ideas to their cultural context
Emphasizes process rather than data, and encourages students to think and analyze
Prepares students to cope with today’s barrage of scientific information and argument
Prepares students to comprehend and cope with the rapid changes that continually occur in science
Presents without polemic the scientific case for belief in evolution and natural selection
This book, by a practicing and successful scientist, explores why questions arise in science and looks at how questions are tackled, what constitutes a valid answer, and why. The author does not bog down the reader in technical details or lists of facts to memorize. Instead, he places the questions in their historical and cultural context, ranging from the earliest intimations that the earth had a long history to current controversies, even describing the origins, challenges, and promises of modern molecular biology.
Addressing issues as complex as radiocarbon dating and how we know that DNA is a double helix, he uses examples, illustrations, and descriptions that all students should be able to grasp ("Were there kangaroos in Noah’s Ark?"; "Molecular Biology Ain’t Rocket Science"). He gives the reader a sense of why a scientist feels always "like the child called to the stage to watch the magician do his trick". The author’s thesis is that scientific logic is an extension of the common human logic used by everyone on a daily basis, and that it can and should be understood by everyone.
Content Level »Graduate
Keywords »Charles Darwin - DNA - Darwin - biology - coevolution - evolution - molecular biology - the origin - theory of evolution
PART 1: HOW SCIENCE WORKS
Chapter 1: Science is an ELF
PART II: ORIGIN OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION: TIME AND CHANGE
Chapter 2: The origin of the earth as seen before the Enlightenment
Chapter 3: The seashells on the mountaintop
Chapter 4: Were there kangaroos on Noah’s Ark?
Chapter 5: Aristotle’s and Linnaeus’ classifications of living creatures
Chapter 6: Darwin’s world. Evidences of glaciation
Chapter 7: The Voyage of the Beagle
Chapter 8: Is the earth old enough for evolution?
PART III: ORIGIN OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION: SOCIAL ASPECTS
Chapter 9: Evaluating data
Chapter 10: The Industrial Revolution
Chapter 11: Natural selection: The second half of Darwin’s hypothesis
Chapter 12: Darwin’s Hypothesis
Chapter 13: The crisis in evolution
PART IV: THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
Chapter 14: The chemical basis of evolution and the origins of molecular biology
Chapter 15: The stuff of inheritance: DNA, RNA, and mutations
Chapter 16: The genetic code
PART V: THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH AND THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
Chapter 17: The story of our planet origin of life
Chapter 18: The appearance of oxygen
Chapter 19: The conquest of land
Chapter 20: The great ages of our planet
Chapter 21: Return to water and to land
Chapter 22: The forces of evolution: continental drift
Chapter 23: The violence of the earth: rainshadows, volcanism, and meteorites
PART VI: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Chapter 24: Competition among species
Chapter 25: Sexual selection
Chapter 26: Coevolution
Chapter 27: The importance of disease
Chapter 28: The AIDS murder mystery
PART VII: THE EVOLUTION OF HUMANS
Chapter 29: Evolution of humans
Chapter 30: Science and religion
Chapter 31: The impact of evolutionarytheory
Chapter 32: Social policy and evolution; evaluating population measurements
Chapter 33: Conclusions