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please suggest

Postby sanosu » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:20 am

Hello everyone,
i know nothing about biology but i would like you to suggest me one of the following two books to buy if it's possible.
The Selfish Gene by R. Dawkins
or
Evolutionary Biology by D.Futuyama

thanks in advance!!!
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Postby JackBean » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:15 am

Depends what you want. I don't know the Evolutionary biology book, but Selfish gene is nonfiction, but not lecture book. The Evolutionary biology sounds like lecture book (but I don't know it), I would guess it covers more than one theories of evolution at least contrary to the Selfish gene.
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Re: please suggest

Postby sanosu » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:36 am

Hi Jack,
thanks for the reply. I think i'll buy selfish gene. Some others told me that S.G. is more gene-centered and this what i was looking for....
thnx again!
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Postby Darby » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:20 pm

Dawkins' book is getting a bit dated - it stands as an important milestone in evolutionary thinking, but like any revolutionary idea, it hasn't all stood up over time.
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Re: please suggest

Postby Forests » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:58 pm

sanosu wrote:Hello everyone,
i know nothing about biology but i would like you to suggest me one of the following two books to buy if it's possible.
The Selfish Gene by R. Dawkins
or
Evolutionary Biology by D.Futuyama

thanks in advance!!!


The selfish gene concept is not popular and most scientists thesedays have rejected it. Theres lots of criticism of Dawkins out there. If you want a real book on biology just buy a standard textbook or a good book on evo-devo is Evolution: A Developmental Approach by Wallace Arthur or check out the books on symbiosis by Lynn Margulis.
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Postby Darby » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:43 am

Weird to hear someone marginalize Dawkins but suggest Margulis, who is just out on another margin.
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Postby Luxorien » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:02 pm

Oh, man. I'm so disappointed that I missed this one. Futuyma's book is excellent. It's a college textbook, though, so comparing it to Selfish Gene is like comparing apples to oranges. Selfish Gene is popular science and focuses on a specific aspect of evolution from a specific theoretical perspective. It's very interesting and well-written (like everything Dawkins writes) but it won't give you a solid understanding of evolution as a whole.

Futuyma's book is intended for science majors who have already had a basic introduction to biology. It is well-organized and written with clarity, but might be confusing if don't have at least a passing familiarity with genetics. It is also written with passion, if you can believe that. Yes, it's mostly technical stuff, but a couple times each chapter there's a few sentences or a paragraph where you can tell the author is genuinely excited by the subject matter, pointing out new areas of research with enthusiasm.

What I like most about it is that you get a lot for your money. This isn't one of those books they re-release every year with slightly different pagination so they can charge you another 200 bucks. IIRC, the time between editions has usually been around five years, which is about how often (IMO) an undergrad book should be revised. It's dense, and I mean that in a good way: simple, elegant formatting that makes the test clear without requiring tons of whitespace. There's a lot of information packed into every page, and the frequent graphs and illustrations are actually helpful instead of being froo-froo addons included to increase cost.

The copy I have is over a decade old, but still very useful (and no doubt cheaper). I haven't read his newer book (which is called Evolution) and can't say how close it is to the quality of the original, but it would probably be a good choice if you really want the latest information.
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