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Spencertown (NY): Hummingbird Films, 2011. 107 minutes.
Evo “provides clear explanations for some of the basic principles of evolution and the history of life on the earth,” writes reviewer Mitchell B Cruzan. “The film is structured around explanations of evolution by attendees at [a] conference—some of the best known researchers in the field of evolutionary biology. Their lucid explanations of evolutionary processes are separated by colorful footage of organisms in nature that illustrate the primary ideas.” But he worries that “the presentation was bland and probably would not hold the attention of most students” and would require supplementary information and discussion to be effective in a classroom.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 504 pages.
Reviewer Tania Lombrozo describes Evolution Challenges as “a broad-ranging volume that straddles basic research on evolutionary understanding and educational practice. As a result, it’s likely to have something new for both teachers and researchers, and may be of interest to general readers hoping to learn more about the psychological underpinnings of people’s understanding (or misunderstanding) and acceptance (or rejection) of evolution. The chapters are well written and fairly accessible, but this ... is not a light read for the uninitiated.”
Amherst (NY): Prometheus Books, 2012. 328 pages.
“This sweeping summary of why the general public should understand the recent evidence for human evolution is an ambitious stab at rectifying the pitiful state of science teaching currently masquerading as modern biological education in many of our schools and universities,” writes reviewer Rebecca L. Cann. She delivers a mixed verdict, praising the treatment of Nikolai Vavilov’s work and of the human and chimpanzee genomes but complaining of the discussion of AIDS and the timing of human evolution: “Overall, this book is a slow read in places and a great read in others. … uneven and pedantic in places, energizing and uplifting in others.”
London: Vivays, 2012. 160 pages.
“The combination of compelling illustrations and lucid text makes it the perfect antidote to (and certainly not to be confused with) the cryptocreationist publication Explore Evolution,” writes reviewer Rebecca A. Reiss. “Exploring Evolution is written without a trace of the condescending tone that characterizes other publications on this topic. Park takes a holistic approach to evolutionary science and conveys his enthusiasm with language appropriate for a general audience. … Exploring Evolution successfully demonstrates that science is not a replacement for spiritual beliefs, but provides common ground for everyone to celebrate the diversity of life, including dinosaurs, the bacteria of the Grand Prismatic Springs, and us.”
Amherst (NY): Prometheus Books, 2011. 346 pages.
Reviewer Eric W. Dewar writes, “The Fact of Evolution presents itself as a means to end the argument over evolution by portraying evolution as the unavoidable logical consequence of replication, variation, and selection.” He appreciated the book’s extensive survey of the literature of evolution, but took issue with its choice of examples, its ahistorical treatment of evolution, its neglect of common misconceptions about evolution, and its idiosyncratic choices of terminology. He concludes, “Smith’s work has many strengths as a reference for the recent literature about evolution, and would probably be a good resource as a text that supports a course, but not as a primary textbook.”
Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts & Company, 2012. 496 pages.
“Until reviewing this text, I had yet to find a valuable text resource that explains tree thinking on a conceptual level appropriate for people new to the subject,” writes reviewer Kristy L. Halverson. “This text did not disappoint. … I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly easy it was to read this text. … I was impressed with the variety in tree representations, the attractive appearance and size of the text, and the welcoming introductory chapter.” Her main complaint was that the pretest contained several lengthy and confusing questions, with some errors in its key.
Voices for Evolution
The third edition of Voices for Evolution can be purchased or downloaded at Lulu.com