Darwin A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Howard
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780192854544
Release Date: 2001-02-22
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Arguments still rage about the implications of the evolutionary theory, and scepticism about Darwin's contribution to knowledge is widespread. This accessible study reasserts the importance of Darwin's work for the development of modern biology.

Science and Religion A Very Short Introduction

Author: Thomas Dixon
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578984
Release Date: 2008-07-24
Genre: Religion

The debate between science and religion is never out of the news: emotions run high, fuelled by polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and, at the other end of the spectrum, high-profile campaigns to teach 'Intelligent Design' in schools. Yet there is much more to the debate than the clash of these extremes. As Thomas Dixon shows in this balanced and thought-provoking introduction, many have seen harmony rather than conflict between faith and science. He explores not only the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made 'science and religion' such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world, offering perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences.. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1633, and the famous debate between 'Darwin's bulldog' Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in Oxford in 1860. The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee in 1925 and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005 are explained with reference to the interaction between religion, law, and education in modern America. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Evolution a Very Short Introduction

Author: Brian Charlesworth
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198804369
Release Date: 2017-06-22
Genre:

Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the Earth was at the centre of a Universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the Universe was createdessentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Even less than 150 years ago, the view that living species were the result of special creation by God was still dominant. The recognition by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace of the mechanism of evolution by natural selection hascompletely transformed our understanding of the living world, including our own origins. In this Very Short Introduction Brian and Deborah Charlesworth provide a clear and concise summary of the process of evolution by natural selection, and how natural selection gives rise to adaptations and eventually, over many generations, to new species. They introduce the central concepts of thefield of evolutionary biology, as they have developed since Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago, and discuss some of the remaining questions regarding processes. They highlight the wide range of evidence for evolution, and the importance of an evolutionary understanding forinstance in combating the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs. This reissue includes some key updates to the main text and a completely updated Further Reading section.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Malthus A Very Short Introduction

Author: Donald Winch
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191649219
Release Date: 2013-06-27
Genre: Business & Economics

Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an English cleric whose ideas, as expounded in his most famous work the Essay on the Principle of Population, caused a storm of controversy. In this Very Short Introduction, Donald Winch explains and clarifies Malthus's ideas, assessing the profound influence he has had on modern economic thought. Concentrating on his writings, Winch sheds light on the context in which he wrote and why his work has remained controversial. Looking at Malthus's early life as well as the evolution of his theories from population to political economy, Winch considers why and how Malthus's writings have been so influential in the thought of later figures such as Darwin and Keynes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Human Evolution A Very Short Introduction

Author: Bernard Wood
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192803603
Release Date: 2005-11-03
Genre: Science

This introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the latest fossil finds. It concentrates on the fossil evidence for human evolution, making reference to the relevant archaeological evidence when appropriate.

Fossils A Very Short Introduction

Author: Keith Thomson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578021
Release Date: 2005-10-13
Genre: Nature

Fossils have been vital to our understanding of the formation of the earth and the origins of all life on it. However, their impact has not been limited to debates about geology and evolution: attempts to explain their existence has shaken religion at its very roots, and they have remained a subject of ceaseless fascination for people of all ages and backgrounds. In this delightful book, Keith Thomson provides a remarkably all-encompassing explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. How did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are 'living fossils'? What fossils will we leave behind for future generations to examine? Building on the scientific aspects, he places fossils in a very human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and today's popular culture. What quickly becomes obvious is that the discovery of fossils and the ways in which they have been interpreted over time makes for fascinating reading. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Complexity

Author: John H. Holland
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199662548
Release Date: 2014
Genre: History

In this Very Short Introduction, John Holland presents an introduction to the science of complexity. Using examples from biology and economics, he shows how complexity science models the behaviour of complex systems.

Philosophy of Science

Author: Samir Okasha
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198745587
Release Date: 2016
Genre: Philosophy

How much faith should we place in what scientists tell us? Is it possible for scientific knowledge to be fully "objective?" What, really, can be defined as science? In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Samir Okasha explores the main themes and theories of contemporary philosophy of science, and investigates fascinating, challenging questions such as these. Starting at the very beginning, with a concise overview of the history of science, Okasha examines the nature of fundamental practices such as reasoning, causation, and explanation. Looking at scientific revolutions and the issue of scientific change, he asks whether there is a discernible pattern to the way scientific ideas change over time, and discusses realist versus anti-realist attitudes towards science. He finishes by considering science today, and the social and ethical philosophical questions surrounding modern science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Plants A Very Short Introduction

Author: Timothy Walker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199584062
Release Date: 2012-04-26
Genre: Science

Plants are a fundamental part of the biosphere and their evolution has directly affected animal life, and the Earth's climate. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise account of the nature of plants, their variety, their evolution, and their importance and uses, stressing the importance of conservation for the future.

Eugenics

Author: Philippa Levine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199385904
Release Date: 2016-12-15
Genre: History

In 1883, Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, coined the word "eugenics" to express his dream of perfecting the human race by applying the laws of genetic heredity. Adapting Darwin's theory of evolution to human society, eugenics soon became a powerful, international movement, committed to using the principles of heredity and statistics to encourage healthy and discourage unhealthy reproduction. Early in the twentieth century and across the world, doctors, social reformers, and politicians turned to the new science of eugenics as a means to improve and strengthen their populations. Eugenics advocates claimed their methods would result in healthier, fitter babies and would dramatically limit human suffering. The reality was a different story. In the name of scientific progress and of human improvement, eugenicists targeted the weak and the sick, triggering coercive legislation on issues as disparate as race, gender, immigration, euthanasia, abortion, sterilization, intelligence, mental illness, and disease control. Nationalists eagerly embraced eugenics as a means to legitimize their countries' superiority and racialized assumptions, and the Nazis notoriously used eugenics to shape their "final solution." In this lucid volume, Philippa Levine tackles the intricate and controversial history of eugenics, masterfully synthesizing the enormous range of policies and experiments carried out in the name of eugenics around the world throughout the twentieth century. She questions the widespread belief that eugenics disappeared after World War II and evaluates the impact of eugenics on current reproductive and genetic sciences. Charting the development of such controversial practices as artificial insemination, sperm donation, and population control, this book offers a powerful, extraordinarily timely reflection on the frequent interplay between genetics and ethics. Eugenics may no longer be a household word, but we feel its effects even today.

Philosophy of Science Very Short Introduction

Author: Samir Okasha
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780191062797
Release Date: 2016-07-20
Genre: Science

How much faith should we place in what scientists tell us? Is it possible for scientific knowledge to be fully 'objective'? What, really, can be defined as science? In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Samir Okasha explores the main themes and theories of contemporary philosophy of science, and investigates fascinating, challenging questions such as these. Starting at the very beginning, with a concise overview of the history of science, Okasha examines the nature of fundamental practices such as reasoning, causation, and explanation. Looking at scientific revolutions and the issue of scientific change, he asks whether there is a discernible pattern to the way scientific ideas change over time, and discusses realist versus anti-realist attitudes towards science. He finishes by considering science today, and the social and ethical philosophical questions surrounding modern science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Humanism A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Law
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191614002
Release Date: 2011-01-27
Genre: Religion

Religion is currently gaining a much higher profile. The number of faith schools is increasingly, and religious points of view are being aired more frequently in the media. As religion's profile rises, those who reject religion, including humanists, often find themselves misunderstood, and occasionally misrepresented. Stephen Law explores how humanism uses science and reason to make sense of the world, looking at how it encourages individual moral responsibility and shows that life can have meaning without religion. Challenging some of the common misconceptions, he seeks to dispute the claims that atheism and humanism are 'faith positions' and that without God there can be no morality and our lives are left without purpose. Looking at the history of humanism and its development as a philosophical alternative, he examines the arguments for and against the existence of God, and explores the role humanism plays in moral and secular societies, as well as in moral and religious education. Using humanism to determine the meaning of life, he shows that there is a positive alternative to traditional religious belief. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Prehistory A Very Short Introduction

Author: Chris Gosden
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191577789
Release Date: 2003-06-26
Genre: History

This VSI to prehistory will introduce the reader to four and a half million years of human existence. Many of the familiar aspects of modern life are no more than a century or two old, yet our deep social structures and skills were in large measure developed by small bands of our prehistoric ancestors many millennia ago. Chris Gosden invites us to think seriously about who we are by considering who we have been. The idea of prehistory owes its origins to Darwin - suddenly any description of human life on Earth had to take account of a much longer timespan than ever before. What new views of ourselves has this new timespan opened up? Chris Gosden's fascinating new book asks: What relationships did our distant ancestors have with the natural world, with each other, and with the objects and values they created? And as humanity hurtles into a future of virtual interraction and genetic manipulation, what can the darkest recesses of our past teach us about our future? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.