In the Light of Evolution

The proceedings of three National Academy of Sciences conferences on evolution are available as books (3-book set):

In the Light of Evolution I: Adaptation and Complex Design [view the TOC]

In December 2006, the National Academy of Sciences sponsored a colloquium (featured as part of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia series) on “Adaptation and Complex Design” to synthesize recent empirical findings and conceptual approaches towards understanding the evolutionary origins and maintenance of complex adaptations. Darwin’s elucidation of natural selection as a creative natural force was a monumental achievement in the history of science, but a century and a half later some religious believers still contend that biotic complexity registers conscious supernatural design. In this book, modern scientific perspectives are presented on the evolutionary origin and maintenance of complex phenotypes including various behaviors, anatomies, and physiologies. After an introduction by the editors and an opening historical and conceptual essay by Francisco Ayala, this book includes 14 papers presented by distinguished evolutionists at the colloquium. The papers are organized into sections covering epistemological approaches to the study of biocomplexity, a hierarchy of topics on biological complexity ranging from ontogeny to symbiosis, and case studies explaining how complex phenotypes are being dissected in terms of genetics and development.

In the Light of Evolution II: Biodiversity and Extinction [view the TOC]

The current extinction crisis is of human making, and any favorable resolution of that biodiversity crisis–among the most dire in the 4-billion-year history of the Earth–will have to be initiated by mankind. Little time remains for the public, corporations, and governments to awaken to the magnitude of what is at stake. This book aims to assist that critical educational mission, synthesizing recent scientific information and ideas about threats to biodiversity in the past, present, and projected future. This is the second volume from the In the Light of Evolution series, based on a series of Arthur M. Sackler colloquia, and designed to promote the evolutionary sciences. Each installment explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. Individually and collectively, the ILE series aims to interpret phenomena in various areas of biology through the lens of evolution, address some of the most intellectually engaging as well as pragmatically important societal issues of our times, and foster a greater appreciation of evolutionary biology as a consolidating foundation for the life sciences.

In the Light of Evolution III: Two Centuries of Darwin [view the TOC]

Two Centuries of Darwin is the outgrowth of an Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences on January 16-17, 2009. In the chapters of this book, leading evolutionary biologists and science historians reflect upon and commemorate the Darwinian Revolution. They canvass modern research approaches and current scientific thought on each of the three main categories of selection (natural, artificial, and sexual) that Darwin addressed during his career. Although Darwin’s legacy is associated primarily with the illumination of natural selection in The Origin, he also contemplated and wrote extensively about what we now term artificial selection and sexual selection. In a concluding section of this book, several science historians comment on Darwin’s seminal contributions. Two Centuries of Darwin is the third book of the In the Light of Evolution series. Each installment in the series explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. The ILE series aims to interpret phenomena in various areas of biology through the lens of evolution and address some of the most intellectually engaging, as well as pragmatically important societal issues of our times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s