The Pony Fish's Glow: And Other Clues To Plan And Purpose In Nature (Science Masters)

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9780465072811: The Pony Fish's Glow: And Other Clues To Plan And Purpose In Nature (Science Masters)

How well designed are we humans to carry out the tasks of life? A noted evolutionary biologist gives some fascinating answers. Elected Ecologist of the Year in 1989, George Williams explains why we have eyes only in the front, why we crave sugar and fat, why our bodies deteriorate with age, why we are vulnerable to disease, and many other puzzles of life. Illustrations.

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Review:

Renowned evolutionary biologist George C. Williams promises Clues to Plan and Purpose in Nature in the subtitle of The Pony Fish's Glow, but he's being ironic. The clues he discusses all point to no plan, and most emphatically to there being no planner. Williams claims to be promoting the "adaptationist program," yet he is an advocate for the middle ground between Stephen Jay Gould and Daniel Dennett. Like the majority of working biologists, Williams believes that most features of organisms can be explained as useful adaptations, but they are adaptations with a past. People are the products of an evolutionary history that leaves even their best- designed features, such as the eye, with bugs that any competent engineer would iron out.

About the Author:

George C. Williams taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for thirty years where he was instrumental in establishing the Marine Science Research Center and the Department of Ecology and Evolution, from which he retired in 1990. He has earned many honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, election to the National Academy of Sciences, and recognition as Ecologist of the Year in 1989 by the Ecological Society of America.

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