Darwin's Spectre

Michael R. Rose, Author, A. Ed. Rose, Author Princeton University Press $60 (248p) ISBN 978-0-691-01217-9
Rose, professor of evolutionary biology at UC-Irvine, sets out to illuminate the basic principles of Darwin's theory of evolution and then to show how those building blocks inform contemporary science. Darwin's ideas--and those that followed Darwin himself under the rubric of Darwinism--have indeed shaped many facets of our world. By attempting to cover so much ground, however, Rose's text is superficial even while it is admirably lucid. The brief opening chapter on Darwin himself, for example, barely scratches the surface of the man and his world. Similarly, the next three chapters gloss over the basics of evolutionary biology. Part two of the book, ""Applications of Darwinism,"" focuses just as superficially on agriculture, medicine and the eugenics movement. The book's third part, professing to use the principles of Darwinism to understand the basics of human behavior, touches upon evolutionary psychology, human philosophy and political science, as well as upon the intersection of religion and science. Almost any one of Rose's chapters could have been expanded into a valuable, full-length monograph, but collected together as they are in such thin form, they coalesce into an unsatisfying primer. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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