A Reason for Everything

Marek Kohn

Published by Faber and Faber, 2005
ISBN 10: 0571223931 / ISBN 13: 9780571223930
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Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, will have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included. Seller Inventory # 3130777674

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Synopsis: "A Reason for Everything" is a brilliant and surprising fusion of science and biography. It is a very human book about the Englishness of evolutionary theory and the lives and personalities - often eccentric and controversial - of those who made it. The idea of evolution by natural selection was first announced in Britain, and it has, until recently, been defended in Britain more passionately than anywhere else. At the heart of the theory is the notion of adaptation to the environment. When 'adaptationists' look at living creatures, they believe that each of their features has a purpose, for which it has been shaped by selection. They tend to assume that there is, actually, a reason for everything. And for scientists after Darwin, that has been an extremely productive assumption. A number of thinkers developed this idea to levels of sophistication undreamed of in Darwin's time. The most important were Ronald Aylmer Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, John Maynard Smith, Bill Hamilton and Richard Dawkins. Kohn writes with great insight about the families and the universities that helped shape these men, and about their politics, which ranged from the far right to the Communist Party. Fisher was a practising Christian; Dawkins is a famously militant atheist. Some were notoriously difficult and eccentric as people; their feuds often were (and are) stormy. He opens the book with a deft and moving portrait of Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's contemporary and generous rival. "A Reason for Everything" is about far more than a narrow argument within biology. It is about Britain and natural history, butterflies and snails, impassioned beliefs and ideological struggles. Kohn writes with quiet humour and sympathy about how each of these individuals responded to a chilling and inspiring vision of nature.

About the Author: Marek Kohn is the author of The Race Gallery, A Reason for Everything, Dope Girls and Trust. He lives in Sussex and is a Fellow at the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts. 'Kohn is a wonderful writer', said AC Grayling, and Andrew Brown called him 'one of the best of our science writers'.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Reason for Everything
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: GOOD

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