Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

The theory of evolution by natural selection, first described in 1859 by Charles Darwin, has often been described as the greatest idea ever conceived, in addition to being the predominant theory that binds together all of modern biology—something that in Darwin’s day was little more than “natural philosophy,” where practices like extensive collecting of animal specimens and prehistoric fossils often…

Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

This group portrait of the foundational theorists of evolution opens with the funeral of Charles Darwin, who, despite his wishes, was buried with much pomp in Westminster Abbey in 1882. Three of the men he had both influenced and admired most—botanist Joseph Hooker,  biologist Thomas Huxley, and zoogeographer Alfred Russel Wallace—were among his pallbearers. This opening is a clever way…

Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

Many of the ideas brilliantly and compellingly explored in Why Darwin Matters made a showing in certain chapters of three of Michael Shermer’s earlier books: Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (1997), How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science (2000), and The Science of Good and Evil: Why…

Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy

Life Ascending, by the author of Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World and Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, takes readers on a journey through 10 leaps of evolution along with the scientific discoveries that made these feats of natural engineering comprehensible. Nick Lane’s signature events in evolutionary history, chosen for their iconic status and game-changing…

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