Friday, January 04, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion ---- Another Good Review on my New Evolution Textbook

Well, again, here is another shameless self promotion. We got another good review of the new Evolution Textbook on which I am a co-author. This one is by Dan Hartl and was in Nature OK, it is not an Open Access review, but as I have said before, I am obsessed about open access to research articles, not book reviews, etc.

In the review Hartl tells a story about an encounter with Max Delbrück at Cold Spring Harbor where Delbruck implied that molecular aspects of evolution were uninteresting. Hartl goes on to say many nice things about our book (he does get on our case about having problems on the web and not in the book - but hey nobody is perfect). My favorite from the review is the following
Textbooks in evolutionary biology have gen-
erally kept pace with these changes and several
excellent books are available. This new one by
Barton and colleagues is among the best. The
production quality is superb in layout, compo-
sition, typesetting, colour palette, illustrations
and gorgeous half-tones; and the writing is
excellent, as one might expect from such a stel-
lar cast of experts in population genetics, palae-
ontology, human genetics, bacterial genomics
and developmental biology (respectively).
Thanks Dr. Hartl. And a much belated thanks for a personal encounter that I had with you many years ago where you were MUCH more encouraging to me about working on bacterial genomes than Delbruck was to you about molecular evolution.


  1. Science education in a nutshell:

    "Students who learn only the facts, but not how to use them or integrate them, will surely be wasting their time, no matter what their interests."

  2. It is not a bad quote .. but I did not put it in my blog since he was referring to the fact that the questions are not in the text but are online ..... so I told the truth but not the whole truth.

  3. Can anyone who believes in evolution explain why people die
    and if we are getting better and better why does it seem that crime is not only onthe increase but seems to be getting worse..i.e.more rapes more child related crimes and murder is on the up......

  4. Normally I do not respond to such things but I cannot help it. I have a theory. Crime is on the increase due to the advancement of the Intelligent Design advocates. If more people were taught about evolution, crime would definitely go down. Look at animals. None of them are taught about evolution, and they commit murders and rapes all the time.

  5. "Can anyone who believes in evolution..."

    I see this all the time and it always disturbs me - when did evolutionary theory become a faith or belief construct?

    If evolution is a church, who are the high officials? Any nominations? :)

  6. Regarding evolution as "belief", have a look at "Is the Theory of Evolution Really a Matter of Faith?" By Leonard Steinhorn and Charles Steinhorn.

    Here's a taste: "As a natural phenomenon based on scientific evidence, evolution is not a matter of belief or faith, any more than gravity or genetics, and to ask whether someone believes in it is a nonsensical question, much like asking if someone believes in subatomic particles."

  7. OK - so the "believes in evolution" thing in the post by "anonymous" was silly. But even sillier was asking if such people can explain "why people die." After all, isn't that kind of one of the key aspects of evolution by natural selection?