Jennifer's Reviews > The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution

The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll
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's review
Oct 24, 09

bookshelves: non-fiction, evolution, biology, science, owned
Read in August, 2009

It's a very rare book review that causes me to immediately go and purchase a book. But that's exactly what I did when I stumbled across a glowing review while browsing SEED's science blogs. Clearly I was feeling a serious lack of science and critical thinking in my life that day.

While I have some criticisms of this book, most of them stem from the fact that it was written for a general audience (and I'm glad that it was) and so sometimes had less detailed descriptions of physiology than I would have liked to see. But I'm getting ahead of myself! The Making of the Fittest examines DNA evidence as the ultimate forensic proof of evolution -- rightly pointing out that DNA evidence is routinely used and universally accepted in courts of law. Which raises the question -- how can someone accept, say, the use of DNA to prove paternity, and yet not accept the overwhelming evidence provided by DNA analysis as to the mechanisms and effectiveness of evolution?

Carroll takes a comprehensive approach to proving his case -- from addressing common arguments of evolution-deniers (most notably that evolution "couldn't have had enough time" and the evolution of the human eye), showing examples both of useful genes deteriorating when selection pressure was removed and of how under similar selective pressures, many species independently evolved the same adaptations, to some interesting discussions of other historical resistances to other scientific ideas, and why this resistance happens over and over with major new ideas.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in evolution.

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