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Darwinism and its Discontents

By: Michael Ruse(Author)

316 pages, Figs

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jun 2008 | #173846 | ISBN-13: 9780521728249
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £20.99 $27/€24 approx
Hardback | Oct 2006 | #161600 | ISBN: 052182947X
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £26.99 $35/€31 approx

About this book

Presenting an ardent defence of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, Darwinism and its Discontents offers a clear and comprehensive exposition of Darwin's thinking. Michael Ruse brings the story up-to-date, examining the origins of life, the fossil record, and the mechanism of natural selection. Rival theories are explored, from punctuated equilibrium to human evolution (including the recently found 'hobbits', Homo floresiensis).

The philosophical and religious implications of Darwinism are discussed, including a discussion of Creationism and its modern day offshoot, Intelligent Design Theory. Ruse draws upon the most recent discoveries, writing with a minimum of jargon in order to appeal to all readers, from professional biologists to those concerned that Darwinism is a naturalistic religion that is forced on school children despite their own Christian convictions. Openly revealing his own beliefs, Ruse presents readers with all the information and critical tools they need to make an informed decision on evolutionary theory.

"[...] Ruse's biographical chapter on Darwin, an informative survey of how known facts of biology fit the theory of evolution, and well-framed chapters on the origin of life, descent with modification and human evolution, form a concise tool-kit of pro-darwinian chisels [...] As a philosopher, Ruse is well placed to discuss Darwinism's ethical, religious and philosophical dimensions. If the discontents stay with his book long enough to reach its later chapters, they will find material that transcends the conventional empirical challenges to their disbelief."

"Anyone who wants to understand evolutionary theory and the fascinating issues that surround it, can find no better place than Michael Ruse's Darwinism and Its Discontents. He discusses the objections raised to evolutionary theory down through the most legitimate to those that are anything but legitimate. His discussions are fair, measured and informed. High school students, undergraduates and the public at large would find this book worth reading."
– David Hull, Northwestern University

"It is written [wittily] and with great style. Ruse manages to explain complex matters [...] This book is of interest to anyone who is working in biology and interested in theoretical matters."
HOMO Journal of Comparative Human Biology


1. Charles Darwin and his revolution
2. The fact of evolution
3. The origin of life
4. The path of evolution
5. The cause of evolution
6. Limitations and restrictions
7. Humans
8. Fact or fiction?
9. Dishonest science
10. Philosophy
11. Literature
12. Religion

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Michael Ruse is one of the world's leading authorities on the history and philosophy of Darwinian evolutionary theory. He is the author of many books; his most recent book with Cambridge University Press is The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology (2007, with David L. Hull). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has been a Herbert Spencer Lecturer at Oxford University and a Gifford Lecturer at Glasgow University, and he has also held Guggenheim and Isaak Walton Killiam fellowships.

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