Book Reviews

Jorge A. Santiago-Blay
2013 Life The Excitement of Biology  
The first three books reviewed here share something: they were originally intended, or could be used in conjunction with, science courses for non-science majors. There are several important realities of these courses in the USA. Sometimes, non-science majors courses attract less-than-motivated students eager to get those required courses "out of the way". Also, the pervasive influence of creationism makes anything older than 6000-7000 years questionable unless the Bible says otherwise as
more » ... was there". Somehow, many people seem to live in peace holding obviously conflicting beliefs in fundamental issues. The first two books, The Tangled Bank and The Story of the Human Body are examples of books with a strong evolutionary component. In all cases, the authors commented on my reviews. To all of them my wholehearted thanks. ☼ The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution (Second Edition) by Carl Zimmer. 2013. Roberts and Company Publishers. Greenwood Village, Colorado, USA. 452 pp. ISBN-978-1-9362214-4-8 (softbound, in English) "It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank ... and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms." From On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin (1859) http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/charles_darwins/quotes/tangled_bank.html About a year ago, I placed a request in two major biological listerservers for textbook titles of possible use in a non-science majors college course on form and function of organisms. For my first iteration of the course, I used selected chapters on evolution followed by chapters on biodiversity, both from an introductory biology text for majors. As I wanted a better learning experience for the non-science majors, I resumed my search for scholarly resources written
doi:10.9784/leb1(4)santiago-blay.05 fatcat:czugy2fznzdftfwavqq2hsmode