Darwin's Blind Spot: Evolution Beyond Natural Selection

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 - Science - 310 pages
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While Charles Darwin's vision of evolution was brilliant, natural selection ignores a crucial force that helps to explain the diversity and wonder of life: symbiosis. In Darwin's Blind Spot, Frank Ryan shows how the blending of life forms through symbiosis has resulted in gigantic leaps in evolution. The dependence of many flowering plants on insects and birds for pollination is an important instance of symbiosis. More surprising may be the fact that our cells have incorporated bacteria that allow us to breathe oxygen. And the equivalent of symbiosis within a species -- cooperation -- has been a vital, although largely ignored, force in human evolution. In Ryan's view, cooperation, not competition, lies at the heart of human society.
Ryan mixes stories of the many strange and beautiful results of symbiosis with accounts of the dramatic historic rivalries over the expansion of Darwin's theory. He also examines controversial research being done today, including studies suggesting that symbiosis among viruses led to the evolution of mammals and thus of humans. Too often Darwin's interpreters have put excessive emphasis on competition and struggle as the only forces in evolution. But the idea of "survival of the fittest" does not always reign. Symbiosis is critically important to the richness of Earth's life forms.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - IslandDave - LibraryThing

(posted on my blog: http://davenichols.net/darwins-blind-spot-evolution-beyond-natural-selection-frank-ryan) I picked up this book hoping that its subtitle, 'Evolution Beyond Natural Selection' would ... Read full review

Darwin's blind spot: evolution beyond natural selection

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

It is a tribute to the genius of Darwinian theory that nearly 150 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, it simultaneously survives in its essence ... Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
11
III
15
IV
25
V
32
VI
47
VII
54
VIII
66
XVII
146
XVIII
159
XIX
170
XX
175
XXI
188
XXII
197
XXIII
210
XXIV
226

IX
75
X
84
XI
94
XII
99
XIII
115
XIV
121
XV
123
XVI
133
XXV
239
XXVI
261
XXVII
269
XXVIII
287
XXIX
291
XXX
296
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