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evolution and natural selection resources

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bluegray
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« on: November 07, 2006, 10:12:27 AM »

Whenever I talk to someone about evolution and natural selection, I recommend that they read one of the many books available on the subject. My favorite is The Blind Watchmaker. But sometimes it's not that easy for everyone to have access to these books.

Please post some good online resources as an alternative.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2006, 11:41:40 AM by bluegray V » Logged
Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2006, 12:32:15 PM »

One of the more popular arguments used by anti-evolutionists is the supposed difficulty of order arising from chaos, and complexity from simplicity.  Though not directly in the field of evolutionary theory, there is an analogue in the field of computation, specifically from the area concerned with cellular automata.  This analogue, called John Conway's Game of Life, shows how very rapidly order and complexity can come about from a complete mess.  More than that, coordinated, self-replicating and/or motile arrangements often occur quite spontaneously.

In the analogue, it is convenient to think of the cellular automata as organisms, the playing field, including the cellular automata on it, as the environment, and the rules (being four very simple ones) by which they live, procreate or die as the laws of nature in that environment.  An initial playing field arrangement that is completely random is commonly used.  The energy for moving forward through the generations ultimately comes, as it does in real life on Earth, from the Sun.

The simulations become especially interesting when the rules are applied probabilistically, rather than rigidly adhered to, i.e. there is an individual probability assigned to each of the rules as to whether it is applied or not.  Unfortunately, I know of no web-based simulator that permits this modification, but the results are even more surprising and illustrative.

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: November 07, 2006, 12:36:05 PM by Anacoluthon64 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2006, 13:38:12 PM »

There's a lot of info here:
What is Science?
What is Evolution?
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bluegray
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2007, 11:57:59 AM »

Understanding Evolution
No Answers in Genesis
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EM
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2007, 12:57:50 PM »

http://www.talkorigins.org/ of course, although I find the site a bit chaotic  Wink

Edit:
I have a copy of "The view from mount improbable" which is an extract from "Climbing mount improbable".  Short little book with just enough to get a person interested in the subject.
I think I paid R20 for it at Exclusive books.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2007, 13:03:43 PM by EM » Logged
Mefiante
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2007, 17:29:43 PM »


'Luthon64
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2007, 10:39:30 AM »

An in-depth review: Of Pandas and People, the creationists' "biology textbook."  This easy-to-read review gives ample descriptions of creationism's failings, clearly outlines the more important evidence for evolution, and covers some history of the legal disputes between the two opposing camps.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 11:15:28 AM »

Ernst Mayr: What Evolution Is with an introduction by Jared Diamond of Guns, Germs and Steel fame.  This short interview touches conceptually on many of the issues facing evolutionary theory today, including the onslaught of creationism.

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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2008, 18:06:01 PM »

Just finished "Evolution. What the fossils say and why it matters" by Donald R Prothero. Should be compulsory reading material in every high school and church.
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Jane of the Jungle
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2009, 08:04:42 AM »

Should be compulsory reading material in every high school and church.

Lol Tweefo I can only hear the Ministers/Priests/Pastors say:
"Over my Dead body" Grin  We can only wish Wink
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« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2009, 21:22:30 PM »

Creationism = Wilful Ignorance & Intelligent Design = Creationism in Drag.

Creationists are Wilfully Ignorant and Proud of it.

'Luthon64
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Slowpoke
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2009, 20:06:12 PM »

I am reading Dawkins's "The Greatest Show on Earth" which became available a few days ago.

Excellent stuff and probably the best for non-biologists. There are chapters on "artificial" selection by human intervention (dogs and flowers) which places the rest of the material within the grasp of ordinary people like me.

I particularly enjoyed the explanation of Lenski's now famous experiment with bacteria. I could not understand the experiment from reading the research paper, but after reading Dawkins, I do.

The book is not that pricey - I paid R240.00.

By the way - Dawkins's site, http://richarddawkins.net, is a superb resource.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2009, 08:03:19 AM »

Hi Slowpoke - Welcome here. Grin

Good to know that The Greatest Show on Earth is worth reading. I was looking for that book just yesterday! From where did you pick up a copy?

Mintaka
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2009, 08:18:30 AM »

Thanks, Mintaka

I picked mine up from Estoril Books in Cresta, Randburg. I ordered a copy weeks ago and they were kind enough to sms me when it arrived.

I also saw copies in Exclusive Books.

Astonishingly, neither bookstore gave it pride of place and it was simply added to the shelves as if it were nothing special - the book that has been No 1 in the UK for weeks!

I knew many of the arguments previously, but there is a lot more detail. Can you imagine that plate tectonics support the FACT of evolution? I must admit that the writing style is not as tight as I would have liked, but that is a personal preference and it does not detract from the value of the information and explanations for the uninitiated.

I am gorging myself and have just finished the chapter on DNA comparison. Fascinating.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2009, 09:14:20 AM »

Ta, will try Exclusive Books periodically.

Mintaka
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