Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

shamelessly stolen from the EvolPsych mailing list...

Hot Summer Science Books
It's Evolution, Stupid!
by Robert Dawkin

The master of popular accounts of evolution returns with another
accessible and highly informative tome. This is the follow-up to his
best-selling books The Selfish Bastard, The Deaf Hatmaker, and Mounting
Miss Impossible. This time around his trademark clarity of prose is
marred by a rather confrontational tone and a sense that he is losing
patience with his critics. Chapter titles include "God Is Dead and I
Killed Him" and "I'm Not Even Going to Waste My Time Discussing That
Charlatan Simon Kay Gelid." After reiterating his stance as a strict
neo-Darwinist in the chapter entitled "Why Have a Son When You Could
Have Eight Nephews?" Dawkin outlines the thesis that the tendency to
disagree with him is an inherited trait that decreases inclusive
fitness. As ever, his gift for the apt comparison will make you see the
natural world in a new light. I particularly enjoyed his metaphor of DNA
repair enzymes as a computer spell check, with mutagens as the Microsoft
Office Assistant. Recommended.

Guns, Steel . . . and Yams!
by Susan Chitterling

Chitterling is best known as a respected yam botanist, but in this book
she takes us on a brisk and often surprising tour of the last ten
thousand years of human history. She argues that the Pyramids functioned
chiefly as immense yam granaries; that the defeat of the Aztec and Mayan
civilizations by the Conquistadors came down to an unlucky series of
failures in the yam harvest; and that one of the key factors in the
Industrial Revolution was the absence of significant levels of yam
farming in nineteenth century Britain. Bound to be controversial.
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