Evolution's Workshop: God and Science on the Galápagos Islands

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Basic Books, 2001 - Science - 320 pages
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More than any other place on Earth, the Galapagos Islands are the workshop of evolution. Isolated and desolate, they were largely overlooked by early explorers until Charles Darwin arrived there in the 1830s. It was Darwin who recognized that Galapagos' isolation and desolation were advantages: the paucity of species and lack of outside influences made the workings of natural selection crystal clear. Since then, every important advance and controversy in evolutionary thinking has had its reflection on the Galapagos. In every sense-intellectually, institutionally, and culturally-the history of science on these islands is a history of the way evolutionary science was done for the past 150 years. Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galapagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galapagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.

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Evolution's workshop: God and science on the Galapagos Islands

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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Larson (Univ. of Georgia; Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion, LJ 9/15/97) compellingly reveals the ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Edward John Larson (born in 1953) is an American historian and legal scholar. He is University Professor of history and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University. He received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. The book argues that Inherit the Wind (both the play and the movie) misrepresented the actual Scopes Trial. Larson was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and attended Mansfield public schools. He graduated from Williams College and received his law degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin--Madison. In 2004, Larson received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from The Ohio State University. He held the Fulbright Program's John Adams Chair in American Studies in 2000-2001. In 2015 his biography The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, became listed on the New York Times bestseller list.

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