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Biomedical Sciences | The Joy of Science

The Joy of Science

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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Darwin Year
  • 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

Related subjects » Biomedical Sciences - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Genetics & Genomics - Life Sciences

Table of contents 

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

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