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Jerry Coyne’s Book “Why Evolution Is True?” Term Paper


The evolution theory is very easy to understand and interpret. This is the case because it argues that all living organisms evolved from specific primitive species that occupied the universe over three billion years ago (Keller, 2014). At the center of evolution, in accordance with the theory, is natural selection. The process of natural selection indicates that unfit traits are discarded throughout the evolutionary process (Coyne, 2010). The discarded traits are not transferred to the future generations. Despite the issues and facts presented to support this model, many theorists have gone further to offer valid arguments against evolution. The purpose of this analytical paper is to describe the issues associated with the evolution theory. The paper is founded on the ideas presented in the book “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne.

Thesis Statement

Although the book “Why Evolution is True” uses a wide range of concepts such as fossil records, vestigial structures, embryology, biogeography, and suboptimal design to support the process of evolution, the outstanding fact is that it fails to offer conclusive arguments to explain the origin and nature of life on earth.

Detailed Summary of the Book

The book “Why Evolution is True” gives a detailed analysis of the issues surrounding the question of evolution. The first chapter is called “What is Evolution?” and focuses on the question of evolution. In this chapter, the author explains how evolution has taken place within the past three billion years. Several stages of evolution such as speciation, natural selection, gradualism, and non-selective mechanism are outlined by the author. The second chapter is called “Written in the Rocks”. This chapter gives a detailed description of fossil evidences (Coyne, 2010). The author uses specific concepts and examples to support the idea of evolution. For instance, the author uses the emergence of tetrapods to support the arguments. Birds are described as creatures that have similar evolutionary paths with dinosaurs. The chapter argues that the use of fossil records can become a powerful tool for understanding evolution. The concept of gradualism is used to support the evolution of different creatures on earth.

In the chapter “Remnants: Vestiges, Embryos, and Bad Design”, the text explains how some “poorly designed features can be used to support the process of evolution” (Coyne, 2010, p. 57). Some of the widely ignored features such as human tails and whale hips are used to support the theory. The author uses the example of “the left recurrent laryngeal nerve” (Coyne, 2010, p. 59). According to the author, this nerve is observed to “take a long course down from the throat to the aorta because it was initially attached to a gill arch during the early stages of development” (Keller, 2014, p. 38). The fourth chapter is called “The Geography of Life”. In this chapter, the author uses numerous evidences from the field of biogeography. The writer examines the nature of various species found in certain islands across the globe.

In the chapters “The Engine of Evolution”, “How Sex Drives Evolution”, and “The Origin of Species”, Jerry Coyne uses a wide range of neontological ideas to support the concept of evolution. Most of the ideas are borrowed from speciation theory and genetics. Such evidences have been analyzed and described by many biologists. These ideas show conclusively that the evolution theory is useful towards describing the development of various species (Coyne, 2010). The author goes further to describe how sexual traits can be used to explain the process of evolution. Sexual recombination is presented as a powerful argument to support speciation and the presence of genetic variability.

The eighth chapter is called “What About Us?” and focuses on the idea of creation. According to the author, many proponents of the creationist model tend to ignore the arguments presented by many evolutionary biologists (Coyne, 2010). Such creationists ignore various arguments and biological concepts. These theorists believe strongly that human beings and other creatures must have been created by a Supreme Being. According to the author, many creationists would have found it hard to embrace the idea of evolution if human beings lacked various similarities with the other creatures in the animal kingdom (Coyne, 2010). In order to refute the concepts embraced by these creationists, the author offers powerful ideas from different fields such as genetics, anatomy, and paleontology. This description is presented to support the process of evolution. According to the author, the resemblance between apes and human beings is something that cannot be underestimated.

The last chapter is titled “Evolution Redux”. This chapter presents powerful notions to explain why many scientists support the idea of evolution. The author uses the arguments presented by Charles Darwin in an attempt to support the evolution theory (Coyne, 2010). Such ideas are carefully crafted in order to explain how scientists and psychologists can embrace or use the theory.

Critical Analysis of the Book

This book is a masterpiece because it presents a wide range of arguments and facts to support the evolution theory. The text presents specific concepts such as fossil records, vestigial structures, embryology, biogeography, and suboptimal design to explain how various evolutional changes must have taken place in the past (Coyne, 2010). The author indicates clearly that biologists have found “transitional forms between major groups such as whales and land animals” (Coyne, 2010, p. 222).

The author has considered numerous experiments and observations that have been recorded by many scientists and evolutionary biologists. These experiments, according to the text, continue to support the validity of the evolution theory. The text shows conclusively that there are various aspects that support the concept of evolution. For example, sequencing of DNA molecules, dissection of various organ systems, and behaviors show conclusively that many species must have evolved from common creatures or ancestors (Montgomery, 2012).

The use of the above ideas and facts try to demonstrate that the process of evolution is true. This is the case because the “major tenets of Darwinism have been proved” (Coyne, 2010, p. 223). In order to support some of these arguments, the author indicates that biologists and scientists have continued to acknowledge the major claims aimed at supporting the theory of evolution. The current debate has only focused on specific issues such as the timelines and mechanisms that have the potential to support the evolutionary theory. Despite the existence of such differences, the author denotes clearly that “any science without controversy is a science without progress” (Coyne, 2010, p. 223).

The ultimate conclusion presented by the author is that human beings should “be proud that they are the only species that has figured out life came to be” (Coyne, 2010, p. 233). The book shows conclusively that genes (and genetics) are changeable and can be affected by a wide range of environmental forces (Coyne, 2010). The author has presented a wide range of researches and ideas to examine how different species have evolved over the past three billion years.

However, the reader acknowledges the fact that the theory of evolution might not be acceptable to many historians and ethicists. This is the case because Jerry Coyne is aware of the issues affecting the validity of this theory. That being the case, the author goes further to explain why evolution should be treated as a form of diversification (Coyne, 2010). This means that evolution should never be examined from a philosophical perspective (Coyne, 2010). This fact explains why many scholars and believers will find it hard to accept the idea of evolution.

The reader therefore observes that the book tackles the issue of evolution from the intelligent design and creationism perspectives. This is something that has been ignored by many evolutionists and biological scientists. In order to support the argument, Jerry Coyne uses various undisputable concepts such as natural selection (Coyne, 2010). This process has been embraced by many evolutionists in order to support the theory. According to the author, the current evidences confirm the scientific arguments that have been used to support the process of evolution.

Jerry Coyne presents the best ideas from the fields of geology, paleontology, genetics, and anatomy to present powerful arguments that can support the process of evolution. In a nutshell, the author presents convincing arguments that might be used by many scholars to explain why evolution is practical, undeniable, and true (Coyne, 2010). However, the arguments and notions presented in this book have continued to fuel the debate on the question of evolution than ever before. This fact explains why the evolution debate is something that might never end any time soon.

Reflection of the Book Using Philosophical, Theological, and Sociological Ideologies

The Christian worldview presents powerful insights that can be used to refute the concept of evolution. According to the worldview, human beings (and all other creatures) were created by a Supreme Being or God (Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini, 2011). That being the case, any argument supporting the process of evolution is biased and inadequate. According to this theological notion, human beings are created in the image of God. This understanding makes man superior and capable of differentiating the wrong from the right. This worldview explains why the ideas presented in Jerry Coyne’s book “Why Evolution is True” can be refuted by many theologians.

Similar views have been described by a number of sociologists and scholars. The current sociological view is that evolution is not a real process. This is the case because very few transitional forms are noticeable in different organisms. Fortunately, what human beings see is a world characterized by distinct animals and plants portraying diverse features (Keller, 2014). This single fact shows clearly that the ideas aimed at supporting the concept of evolution are questionable. Different animal species have been observed to portray unbridgeable gaps in terms of features, behaviors, and physical attributes. That being the case, the world must have been designed by a superior being. This fact explains why diversity defines a wide range of human forms.

Some creationists have offered diverse views regarding the inaccuracies associated with Jerry Coyne’s arguments. To begin with, evolution is treated by the author as something that takes place gradually and occurs after millions of years. However, this is something that has not been recorded in the world of microorganisms. Such species reproduce within a fraction of a second. That being the case, evolutionists might have proved that the process exists through the use of these microscopic species (Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini, 2011). This fact explains why many scholars trying to address and support the idea of evolution have encountered numerous challenges.

According to Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini (2011), the evolutionary history of vertebrates from invertebrates is something that must be characterized by a wide range of intermediates. This should also be the case for the evolution of mankind from vertebrates. Unfortunately, it becomes quite clear that the evolutionary links towards proving this development have never been presented by scientists. This means that the arguments outlined by the author can be criticized from different perspectives.

The other unique field that can be used to analyze the process of evolution is philosophy. Many philosophers believe that evolution is inaccurate since all creatures and species are eternal in nature (Keller, 2014). Similarly, the concept of evolution has failed to fulfill the threshold of what a true scientific argument entails. Although many creationists believe strongly that living organisms lacking specific features or traits will find it hard to survive. This means that the fittest creatures or species will always survive.

However, many philosophical arguments have continued to oppose the ideas of evolution such as naturalism. Some philosophers have gone further to argue that the survival for the fittest concept fails to present useful aspects about the process of evolution (Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini, 2011). That being the case, the future of evolution will continue to attract much attention from more scholars, naturalists, and scholars in the future. This development will present a wide range of ideas and arguments to place the question of evolution in its proper context.

Personal Opinion

After reading the book “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne, I have observed that powerful arguments are presented to describe the process of evolution. The author goes further to use powerful ideas in an attempt to support the theory. The ideas have informed me about the unique processes and stages of evolution (Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini, 2011). The role of environmental forces is analyzed in the masterpiece. This representation has therefore made it easier for me to understand how evolution is believed to have taken place within the past three billion years.

The author uses scientific arguments and evolutionary processes to support the ideas. The roles of genetics, DNA make-up, and environment are also carefully analyzed. The main message presented by the book is that the current evidence is overwhelming and goes further to support the evolutionary theory. The evidences identified and documented by many biologists within the past one century are used to support the targeted argument (Montgomery, 2012). The role of sex towards promoting evolution is properly described by the author.

However, the evolution theory should never be taken seriously since it does not present valid scientific experiments. According to me, I strongly believe that the complexity of the universe and the presence of diversity is something that explains why the world must have been created by a Supreme Being (Montgomery, 2012). On the other hand, evolution should be treated as a theoretical argument embraced by a specific number of people in the world. This notion explains why the evolution is something that should never be treated as a science. This happens to be the case because it meets the criteria for a worldview.

The evolutionary worldview is therefore refutable because it fails to present a meaningful explanatory value. The other oust sanding fact is that human beings can comfortably say that the model is inappropriate because of the existing arguments cannot be proved scientifically. This happens to be the case despite the fact that many biologists believe strongly that they have successfully proved such evolutionary processes using various scientific frameworks (Keller, 2014). This reason explains why more people have been on the frontline to present a wide range of ideas about evolution. It is agreeable that many scholars can present numerous arguments to support the process of evolution since they may never be required to prove them.

The ideas presented in the book fail to quote various verses and arguments from the Holy Bible. This fact shows clearly that scientists who say that theology supports evolution are usually wrong. That being the case, the arguments in the book aimed at supporting the evolution theory are biased and non-scientific. Instead, such ideologies go further to confirm that evolution is a worldview embraced by specific people other than a theoretical framework (Keller, 2014). This is true since many scholars and evolutionary biologists have been unable to present convincing facts to prove that evolution is a scientific process.

This discussion explains why future researchers should prove the process of evolution using scientifically-proven models. Similarly, they should be able to explain why there are missing links and diversities in the word. When such issues are addressed, it might be possible for more scholars to explain why the theory might appeal to more people. Unfortunately, the creation theory is superior and goes further to borrow numerous ideas from different worldviews (Montgomery, 2012). Future scholars focusing on the issue of evolution should consider these issues in an attempt to present convincing arguments.

It is agreeable that the argument presented in the book is admirable to some scholars. Unfortunately, there are numerous missing links that explain why many species in the world might not have developed in accordance with the evolution theory. My worldview goes further to present powerful ideas regarding the origin of life (Montgomery, 2012). The order of things, presence of diversity, and complexity of the universe proves the fact that the all living creatures (both plants and animals) must have been created by a Supreme Being. Such facts explain why the ideas in the book “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne should be analyzed from a critical perspective. This approach will ensure the question of evolution is clearly understood.

Conclusion

The reader will observe that the author of the targeted book does a great job of describing the theory of evolution. The masterpiece embraces the use of specific concepts such as fossil records, vestigial structures, embryology, biogeography, and suboptimal design to support the process of evolution. The author goes further to explain how different creationists have been opposed to the existing evidences. However, the outstanding fact is that it fails to offer conclusive arguments to explain the origin and nature of life on earth (Keller, 2014). From a personal perspective, I strongly believe that this book does not convince many readers regarding the issue of evolution. Consequently, the creationist theory presents powerful insights to describe the origin of life.

References

Coyne, J. (2010). Why evolution is true. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Fodor, J., & Piattelli-Palmarini, M. (2011). What Darwin got wrong. New York, NY: Profile Books.

Keller, T. (2014). Creation, evolution, and Christian laypeople. The BioLogos Foundation, 1(1), 1-14.

Montgomery, D. (2012). The evolution of creationism. GSA Today, 22(11), 4-9.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 3). Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/jerry-coynes-book-why-evolution-is-true/

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"Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?"." IvyPanda, 3 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/jerry-coynes-book-why-evolution-is-true/.

1. IvyPanda. "Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?"." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jerry-coynes-book-why-evolution-is-true/.


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IvyPanda. "Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?"." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jerry-coynes-book-why-evolution-is-true/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?"." September 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/jerry-coynes-book-why-evolution-is-true/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Jerry Coyne's Book "Why Evolution Is True?"'. 3 September.

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