Though the United States is the world leader in science and technology, many of its citizens display a shocking ignorance regarding basic scientific facts. Recent surveys have revealed that only about half of Americans realize that humans have never lived side by side with dinosaurs, and about the same number reject the idea that humans developed from earlier species of animals. This lack of knowledge in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution springs from a number of negative influences in contemporary society: poor secondary education in some regions of the country, misinformation in the mass media, and deliberate obfuscation by supporters of Creationism and Intelligent Design.
In this concise, accessible, "myth-buster's handbook," educators Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is "just a theory," that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees--and six other popular but erroneous notions.
Smith and Sullivan's reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution.
Myth One: Survival of the Fittest
Myth Two: It's Just a Theory
Myth Three: The Ladder of Progress
Myth Four: The Missing Link
Myth Five: Evolution Is Random
Myth Six: People Come from Monkeys
Myth Seven: Nature's Perfect Balance
Myth Eight: Creationism Disproves Evolution
Myth Nine: Intelligent Design Is Science
Myth Ten: Evolution Is Immoral
Reviews and Comments
"Passionate in their support of evolutionary science, the authors nonetheless adopt a straightforward and ecumenical approach, precisely distilling each hot-button issue to its cogent essence. The result is a meticulously researched and distinctly presented overview of a complex and contentious issue.... A clear, understandable approach makes this an excellent student resource."
"A modest proposal to reverse the national great leap backwards: I say we all familiarize ourselves with the compelling, crystalline logic of The Top Ten Myths about Evolution. Then, let's do our best to connect with those who have yet to accept the ancient legacy of life on earth as revealed by Darwin and affirmed in countless ways by the generations of science ever since."
Ann Druyan, coauthor with Carl Sagan of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
"In nature, might always makes right. Humans are the ultimate achievement of evolution. Cave men ate dinosaur steaks. A surprising number of people in the US believe these statements to be true, a situation Smith (anthropology, Portland State U.) and Sullivan (writing, Portland Community College) attempt to correct in this accessible approach to common ideas about evolution. They explain how the "survival of the fittest" does not necessarily apply, why evolution is not just a theory, how humans are mistakenly perceived as superior, why the "missing link" misses the point, why evolution is not random, and why humans cannot claim monkeys as their grandpas. They also take on some of the more complicated ideas, such as the true rule of ecological balance, the true nature of the conflict of intelligent design and evolution, and the ever-present question of morality."
- Book News: the source for information about high-level books since 1976
"Cameron M. Smith's and Charles Sullivan's The Top 10 Myths About Evolution should protect anyone from being hoodwinked by ... erroneous evolutionary arguments ever again. Both Smith and Sullivan address their topic with the sincere intent of educating the reader. The two authors assuage complexity by avoiding difficult terminology in favor of clear and concise language that does not patronize. The Top 10 Myths About Evolution would make a perfect introduction for anyone not familiar with the basic concepts of evolutionary theory."
- Science a GoGo, Interesting science news, research tidbits and science discussion
"The Top 10 Myths About Evolution sets the record straight on popular but erroneous notions that continue to mislead the average American."
- Publishers Weekly, The International Voice for Book Publishing and Bookselling
"This book is a much-needed direct critique of some of the most common fiction that circulates about evolution."
- National Center for Science Education (NCSE)
"I think [The Top 10 Myths About Evolution] is excellent. It clearly explains the fallacies in the 'myths' that we hear from creationists and intelligent design proponents on a regular basis."
- G. Brent Dalrymple, Geologist and author of The Age of the Earth
"Each chapter provides, in a clear and intelligent manner, the arguments for and against the idea or claim of the chapter title. The authors do a commendable job in each case ..."
- Metapsychology Online Reviews
"This meticulously researched myth-buster's handbook will dispel the ten most common misconceptions about evolutionary science."
- Eureka Alert!, the online voice of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
"Smith and Sullivan have done an admirable job of presenting a simple, lucid guide while avoiding the many potential pitfalls that dot this volatile issue."
- Monsters and Critics, book news and reviews
"This is a great little book that's fun to read and jam packed with information. If you're ever involved in conversations about evolution, or you just want to know more about the different issues that have been in the news lately but you don't want to get a degree in evolutionary biology, this book is for you."
"If you want to understand evolution better, I recommend the short book The Top Ten Myths about Evolution by Cameron Smith and Charles Sullivan."
- Skepchick Magazine, promoting scientific skepticism among women
- David Morrison, NASA Astrobiologist
"Scientists who find themselves defending evolution to nonscientist Christians will find several useful historical vignettes, scientific points and rhetorical tools in this short book."
- Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith