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Why Evolution Is True

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,677 Ratings  ·  615 Reviews
"No one would think of writing a book today on the evidence for atoms, or for the Earth going round the Sun. So why, when evolution is being reconfirmed every day, and forms the backbone of modern biology, do we need a book entitled Why Evolution Is True?" "Because evolution is different. No other area of science has been the subject of such angst, such misunderstanding, o ...more
282 pages
Published 2009 by Viking (first published 2008)
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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingCosmos by Carl SaganThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Science Books - Non-Fiction Only
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Community Reviews

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Sep 13, 2009 Claudette rated it it was amazing
As I read this book, I wondered: why am I only learning about evolution in depth NOW...and through my own desire to learn? How did I get through school--including a Bachelor's Degree--without really understanding the nitty gritty of evolution? I think much of the problem is that so many discoveries were so recent, but actually there is no excuse. I THInK I paid attention in school. But if I remember learning about Geometry, and, in fact, had at least one high school class CALLED Geometry, should ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Ravic rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology, non-fiction
Shocking and sad

Here in Europe we tend to forget that the USA are not exclusively a country of reason and progress. Books like this remind us that there is also religious fundamentalism and that uneducated people who believe that the world is 6000 years old and favour „intelligent design“ can rise to the highest political offices.

The shocking thing is what this book reveals about the condition of our society. What kind of society is it where brillant scientists feel compelled to waste valuable
Apr 05, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
I'll come right to the point: Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution Is True" is arguably the best general-interest reference book on the scientific evidence for evolution currently in print. It really is.

Many of the items that Coyne marshals will be familiar to those who are well-versed in this topic. But I found several items that I had never before seen. One example is the recent discovery that diurnal and annual patterns in the growth of Devonian corals could be used to date these corals, since the le
Douglas Wilson
Aug 06, 2013 Douglas Wilson rated it it was ok
Coyne admittedly had the uphill struggle of trying to prove something that is not true.
Dec 03, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it
I picked this book after reading Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth. After a series of conversations I had with some young-earth creationists, and in light of what is occurring in the battle for science curriculum here in Texas, I wanted to find a book that I could recommend to creationists, since most creationists have absolutely no clue about the actual science. Dawkins' book is not that book because he is unable to keep his contempt for young-earth creationists out of the conversation. I think t ...more
Jun 30, 2011 David rated it liked it
Shelves: science
First of all, this is a very well-written book that powerfully makes the case for Darwinian evolution. The author is well-versed in the subject. I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, has little knowledge of the actual science of evolution but wants to learn.

That said, I am not really bothered by evolution (and I am an evangelical Christian, though not a creationist). Yes there are theological challenges that the science of evolution brings to scripture. I don't think these challen
Nov 06, 2012 Gendou rated it it was amazing
This book avoids bickering over details and goes right for the throat; exposing Creationism and Intelligent Design for the unworkable, unscientific ploys that they are. It does so without being too aggressive, a la Dawkins, because such heavy hitting really isn't necessary, when there's so much evidence to be presented. Instead, the chapters cover fossils and a little bit of genetics. The reader is walked through the process of how we came to know what we know. It's not a challenging book, nor a ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Richard rated it it was ok
I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could. Seeing how I think he's wrong, though, I'll downgrade rather than upgrade.

I probably agree with 70% of what's in the book, which may be surprising, me being a creationist. I'm not going to try to untangle all the mixtures of agreement and disagreement.. but its interesting that I definitely am fully onboard with over half of the book, but still disagree with the major premise; that evolution is true.

Coyne succeeds in presenting a case for neo-darwinian evolution
Jan 04, 2011 Jesse rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
This one is like the Beak of the Finch: it shows impressive work on Natural Selection, but it doesn't prove that the little changes must lead to the huge changes between people and animals. This book also illustrates how scientists are trying to be historians--a kind of integrating of subjects--and they are failing miserably. If any historian tried to pass of these kinds of arguments as history they wouldn't survive the laughter. Evolutionists reason like this: if these two bone structures look ...more
May 21, 2012 Elaine rated it it was amazing
This was such an awesome book. I have read a lot of books on evolution, but this is the first that actually made me interested in fossils. Very, very cool. Of course it wouldn't convince a dummy that evolution is true because you actually have to have some reading comprehension and be able to understand what you read, but for anyone with a brain that doesn't believe in evolution (I still can't undertand how there are people out there that fit that bill, but I digress), this book will remove all ...more
Nov 27, 2011 David rated it did not like it
I have recently been interested in the topic of evolution. I am a Bible believing creationist and I have heard of many questions that seem to really challenge the theory of evolution. For me when considering an argument I try to consider both sides of the argument with an open mind. So I picked up this book with the intention to have an open mind and hear the "other side of the story".

Unfortunately I was very disappointed. Based on the title of this book "Why Evolution is True" I was expecting t
عبدالرحمن عقاب
Jul 26, 2015 عبدالرحمن عقاب rated it it was amazing
هو كتاب رائع ومفيد جداً في بابه ومصاغ بطريقة تقرب المعلومة وتناقشها من غير إخلال ولا تسطيح.
يشرح الكاتب في كتابه هذا نظرية التطور الداروينية ودعائمها وأدلتها، وينصف قارئه ويحترمه فيناقش نقاط توقفها، وأسئلتها التي لا جواب لها أو دليل عليها، كما يطرح اعتراضات أصحاب نظريات الخلق ويناقشها.
لا يحمل الكاتب مثل دوكنز رسالة الكفر الصريحة بالخالق والأديان، بل هو يطرح رأيه ورأي مخالفه (المؤمن) ويقول أنه يجد الأدلة في صفه لا في صف المخالف.
بل إنني كمؤمن بالله الخالق، الذي خلق آدم وصوره، وأهبطه إلى الأرض، أ
Apr 13, 2012 Carlo rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book. It is written by someone who is really interested in educating people and not just laying out facts. I loved the tone of the author and am now following his blog Why Evolution is True which is really interesting and amusing (this guy really loves cats!). He almost daily posts lots of interesting facts about evolution.

There's a good YT video about this book that people may be interested in seeing before reading the book

Before buy
Sep 08, 2015 Aziz rated it really liked it
متى سيدرك القوم بأن التطور له ادلة بيولوجية دامغة ولا علاقة له بالالحاد.
متى سيدرك القوم أن العلوم التي أسست على قوائمه كثيرة وتطبيقاته متعددة
هناك البعض من القوم أدركوا ذلك ولا توجد لديهم مشكلة به, هناك تقرير بأن اكثر من مجمع فقهي بثلاثين دولة مسلمة أقرت بحقيقة التطور وانه لايتعارض مع العقائد الدينية وهذا امر جيد وبشارة يرجى البناء عليها.
العلم خصوصا علم الاحياء لا كفر و لا حرام
متى سنخرج من النفق الله اعلم..
Nov 01, 2015 Abubakar rated it it was amazing
This is an eloquent, detailed and fascinating study of Evolution. An idea as controversial, and one with such profound socio-political repercussion, deserves to be treated the way Coyne has dealt it. He presents arguments systematically and he is not too keen on bashing creationists. He keeps his nose out of futile arguments and focuses primarily on the scientific aspect of evolution and not the psychological or philosophical elements that often become a part of such a discussion. This makes the ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Nikki rated it liked it
This is a suggested book related to one of my current classes on Coursera, so I decided to pick it up. I already believe in evolution, so I can't judge on whether it's convincing -- I already know that evolution by natural selection is mathematically inevitable, and I know of a lot of the supporting evidence.

Still, this is the kind of book that produces all sorts of titbits that you didn't know before, and which lays things out so clearly it helps you understand how to explain it to other peopl
John Martindale
Dec 04, 2012 John Martindale rated it liked it
Shelves: science, audiobook
Well, I now have a new understanding why evolutionist feel so strongly and are so insistent that evolution is true. The evidence in this book is truly staggering, much of which I had never heard before. The book is well written and he seemed like a pretty reasonable guy, quick to mention when something is speculation and when something (according to the scientific community) is established fact. He bent over backwards to show that evolution is science in the fullest sense of the word and is scie ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing
Shelves: evolution
Why Evolution Is True by Jerry A. Coyne
Why Evolution Is True is my favorite book on evolution. It starts of course with the prodigious knowledge of Mr. Coyne but it’s his ability to explain such complex topics with ease that sets this book apart from the rest. It’s profound without being unintelligible. It’s always the first book I recommend when I want to convince someone that the theory of evolution is true and supported by converging mountains of evidence. The book is composed of the followin
David S. T.
This book is fascinating and well written. I think the highest complement I could give it is, had I read it 10 years ago when I was in college, I'd likely be in the field of biology instead of computer science. This book starts off with a basic overview of evolution before heading into the bulk of the evidence. The first section of evidence is based off of fossils, I didn't realize just how many transitional fossils exist for certain species such as the whale (there a pretty good number of fossi ...more
Apr 18, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I really enjoyed this book. Basically, it's a several-hundred page review of the major arguments for not only why scientists accept the theory biological evolution, but why it is so well accepted that it is stated to be 'true'. Each chapter breaks down a part of the evidence -- fossils, embryology, genetic evidence, observations of natural selection, the role of sex in evolution, speciation, and so on. Usually the general case is talked about, with examples about specific evidence, though the au ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Oh, I am such a cheater this month! I totally started this book a couple of days ago but, in my defense, I finished it up this morning....I just couldn't help myself.

Evolution. Very few words in science can raise the religious hackles and get the debate juices flowing like this one. Even numerous court trials have become involved to help decide if evolution is science fact or fiction and whether the opposing viewpoint - creationism - deserves to be taught and considered on the same academic leve
An excellent introductory text to evolution and the copious amounts of evidence that supports it. Coyne doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of genetics which makes my eyes glaze over (that's a subject I need to read up on and learn!) so it is very easily accessible to a layperson. Coyne concentrates on the science and doesn't veer onto a soapbox with regard to creationism. There are some comments, but it is not hammered at relentlessly. His final chapter about the evolution of man (and all its mys ...more
Mohamed CJ
Mar 12, 2016 Mohamed CJ rated it really liked it
For those looking for evidence supporting evolution, either because they themselves doubt it or want more evidences to argue for it, these two books can do the job extremely well.

I bet the vast majority if not all of those who read "The Greatest Show on Earth" & "Why Evolution is True" with an open mind and understand them, will regard evolution as true and be able to argue in its favor strongly.

Both authors maintain that evolution is compatible with #religion although they do not elaborate
Dec 18, 2010 Andrew rated it it was ok
Once again a great scientific mind has stooped to the lowest common denominator; mindlessly bickering with the creationist argument. I was expecting evolution/creationist argument in the preface, maybe even in the first chapter. Unfortunately, It's littered throughout the book. I understand that some readers actually enjoy this mindless drubbing, if so, this book is for you. What I was hoping for was a deeper biological understanding of speciation and specialization, and to Coyne's credit there ...more
Scarlett Sims
Jun 29, 2011 Scarlett Sims rated it it was ok
Shelves: leisure, non-fic, science, nook
I chose to read this book to learn more about the science behind evolution, at least partially so I could defend or explain it to people. However, Coyne's writing style left much to be desired.

At the parts where he did actually discuss evidence for evolution (which he often mislabeled as "proof"), I enjoyed learning about it. However, he repeatedly attempted to use this information to discredit creationism, his main argument being "See.... why would a creator do this?" which is obviously neither
Nov 12, 2012 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I hesitated before buying this book because I was a little put off by the title. I already assumed evolution was "true" (as much as any scientific knowledge can be considered "the truth"), and I was more interested in knowing how it works, and the history of it all, from the first micro-organisms to now.

The "how" part is covered pretty well, and by covering the "how" the author addresses creationist or "intelligent design" arguments and provides a clear, rational, and most importantly scientifi
Sep 27, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it
If you aren't willing to consider evolution as a possibility, this may not make you believe. However, if you are undecided and truly interested in learning about the wealth of evidence that supports evolution as, indeed, the way (along with sea cucumbers, lichen, platypuses and blue whales) came to be, this is a wonderful book. Even if you already have a fair working knowledge of the theory (and that's theory in the scientific sense, not in the casual "it's only a theory" sense), you'll likely f ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Yousuf rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in evolution-creation controversy
Good Overview, But Contains Straw Men

This is a good summary for the pro-Evolution side if anyone is researching the evolution-creation controversy. It goes through the fossil evidence, genetic evidence, geological evidence, and more for Evolution via natural selection (and other naturalistic processes). The author writes in a clear and logical manner, and generally avoids the confrontational polemics that other writers such as Richard Dawkins are prone to.

My main objection is that Coyne uses mis
Sep 26, 2015 Quanjun rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
In this book, Coyne puts together numerous examples to explain evolution to a layman, and perhaps one who does not believe in it (though I doubt this). It is very well organized, and many interesting examples are cited (which should be expected from a book about biodiversity, why cite boring ones when there are cool ones everywhere?) slowly building towards the whole idea of evolution. After finishing this book, you should have a good knowledge of what evolution is, how it happened, and go on an ...more
Amr Abd elrahman
Jan 14, 2014 Amr Abd elrahman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
حصيلتى عن التطور من كتب هى كتاب ريتشارد دوكنز صانع الساعات الأعمى و هذا الكتاب وبالتأكيد يوجد فرق بين الكاتبين لصالح جيرى كوين مؤلف هذا الكتاب.
فرغم عدم خلوهما من تسفيه آراء من يعتقدون بالخلق لكن نبرة الغرور عند جيرى كوين أقل والرغبة فى الإقناع تشعر أنها أكثر صدقاً.
الكتاب جيد جداً لمن يريد أن يفهم فكرة التطور والنظرية الداروينية الحديثة، ويطلع على الأدلة التى يسوقها علماء الأحياء لإثبات صحة النظرية.
لكن المشكلمة تكمن بالنسبة أن الكاتب يريدك أن تعتقد فى كل ما يقول وإلا فستجده يلمزك بالكلام رغم أن ا
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The Challenge Fac...: Camille & Clémentine•Why Evolution Is True 12 23 Feb 12, 2013 10:59AM  
Terrible, terrible audiobook - DO NOT BUY 4 95 Mar 14, 2012 07:23AM  
  • Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
  • Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
  • Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction
  • The Counter-Creationism Handbook
  • Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
  • River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
  • What Evolution Is
  • Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
  • Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design
  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth
  • Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul
  • Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
  • God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
Jerry Coyne is a professor in the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. His concentration is speciation and ecological and evolutionary genetics, particularly as they involve Drosophila

His work is widely published, not only in scientific journals, but also in such mainstream venues as The New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement, and The New Republic. Coyne's peer
More about Jerry A. Coyne...

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“...supernatural explanations always mean the end of inquiry: that’s the way God wants it, end of story. Science, on the other hand, is never satisfied: our studies of the universe will continue until humans go extinct.” 24 likes
“These mysteries about how we evolved should not distract us from the indisputable fact that we did evolve.” 22 likes
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