Once We All Had Gills
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Once We All Had Gills : Growing Up Evolutionist in an Evolving World

By (author) Rudolf A. Raff

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In this book, Rudolf A. Raff reaches out to the scientifically queasy, using his life story and his growth as a scientist to illustrate why science matters, especially at a time when many Americans are both suspicious of science and hostile to scientific ways of thinking. Noting that science has too often been the object of controversy in school curriculums and debates on public policy issues ranging from energy and conservation to stem-cell research and climate change, Raff argues that when the public is confused or ill-informed, these issues tend to be decided on religious, economic, and political grounds that disregard the realities of the natural world. Speaking up for science and scientific literacy, Raff tells how and why he became an evolutionary biologist and describes some of the vibrant and living science of evolution. Once We All Had Gills is also the story of evolution writ large: its history, how it is studied, what it means, and why it has become a useful target in a cultural war against rational thought and the idea of a secular, religiously tolerant nation.

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  • Hardback | 354 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 35.56mm | 703.06g
  • 16 Jul 2012
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN
  • English
  • 6 colour illustrations, 6 b&w illustrations
  • 0253002354
  • 9780253002358
  • 1,630,447

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Author Information

Rudolf A. Raff is James H. Rudy Professor of Biology at Indiana University and one of the founders of the field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). He is director of the Indiana Molecular Biology Institute, editor-in-chief of Evolution & Development, Guggenheim Fellow, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is author of The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and Evolution of Animal Form and author (with Thom Kaufman) of Embryos, Genes, and Evolution.

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Review quote

"This biography-history-travelogue-defense-of-science-and-the-scientific-method should appeal to readers of Sean Carroll and Stephen J. Gould -- to anyone who is fascinated by travel and scientific exploration... An engaging story told with verve and style." Brian Hall, author of Evolution: Principles and Processes "In this book, Rudolf A. Raff reaches out to the scientifically queasy, using his life story and his growth as a scientist to illustrate why science matters, especially at a time when many Americans are both suspicious of science and hostile to scientific ways of thinking. ... Once We All Had Gills is also the story of evolution writ large: its history, how it is studied, what it means, and why it has become a useful target in a cultural war against rational thought and the idea of a secular, religiously tolerant nation. ... For those with an interest in the role that science (especially evolution) can/should play in our society." - Birdbooker Report

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