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Darwin's Dangerous Idea : Evolution and the Meanings of LifeReviews
by Daniel C. Dennett
Science Editor's Recommended Book, 11/01/96
One of the best descriptions of the nature and implications of Darwinian evolution ever written, it is firmly based in biological information and appropriately extrapolated to possible applications to engineering and cultural evolution. Dennett's analyses of the objections to evolutionary theory are unsurpassed. Extremely lucid, wonderfully written, and scientifically and philosophically impeccable. Highest Recommendation!
The Wall Street Journal
Dennett is a philosopher of rare originality, rigor, and wit. Here he does one of the things philosophers are supposed to be good at: clearing up conceptual muddles in the sciences.
From Booklist , 05/01/95
In 1991 Dennett wrote Consciousness Explained, and it so burned up the religious minded they tagged it Consciousness Explained Away. Here, Dennett presses forward the implications of natural selection (the "dangerous idea" ) in a presentation most readers will find rather technical, but for those who persevere, understanding of its mechanisms, particularly the algorithms by which natural selection operates, should gradually sink in. Understanding is facilitated by Dennett's cogent organization, which accounts for all possible evolutionary outcomes (a virtual infinity of possibilities dubbed Design Space), followed by his explanation of the relentless, purposeless winnowing that results in the life-forms that exist today. Yet, however persuasive Dennett's view is, not all evolutionists share it, namely the oft-cited Stephen Gould, and readers who enjoy argumentativeness can follow Dennett blasting Gould's idea of "punctuated equilibrium" for dozens of pages. Ending with a Nietzschean explanation for human morals, Dennett's deep-diving work challenges studious readers but should survive the struggle for shelf space in big, highly evolved libraries. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright© 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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