Darwin's Blind Spot

Darwin's Blind Spot : Evolution Beyond Natural Selection

3.86 (36 ratings by Goodreads)
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Darwin based his revolutionary theory of evolution on competition between individuals, lending to the accumulation of gradual changes, dictated by natural selection. However, he overlooked the creative importance of living interactions, whether symbioses between different species or as cooperation within species, particularly among humans. In this book the reader is taken on a journey through the conflicting ideas of evolutionary theory in the 19th and 20th centuries, including not only Darwinism but notably the hugely important symbiosis and the planet-wide forces of Gaia. Ryan gives a plethora of examples of his broader view of evolution, from the union with bacteria that still powers our living cells to the retroviruses that live in the human chromosomes and emerge to play their part in every pregnancy. He shows how the genome of life lies at the heart of all evolutionary change, a force of symbiotic creativity that is far more widespread and powerful than modern Darwinism. Ryan sees human society evolving to a more civilized stage as our genetic hardwiring, in favour of co-operation, increasingly influences our behaviour.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 156 x 234mm | 650g
  • Cengage Learning, Inc
  • Texere Publishing
  • Florence, United States
  • English
  • 1587991152
  • 9781587991158

Review quote

"The widespread acceptance of Darwin's one-sided account of evolution is a cultural anomaly that Ryan's book sets out to correct through detailed evidence ... woven into a fascinating and historically detailed account." Brian Goodwin, Professor of Biology, The Open University. "I immensely enjoyed reading Darwin's Blind Spot. I don't think I have read a more coherent accounting of the role of symbiosis on evolution ever and Ryan's broad definition of the concept (including aggressive symbiosis) goes far to eliminate confusion." Luis Villarreal, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine "I was thrilled and enchanted on picking up Darwin's Blind Spot. I continually itched to get to the next page. Ryan elegantly presents the concept [of symbiosis in evolution], one that should be stressed in every school biology text book, giving both direction and synthesis to the modern perspective on evolutionary theory. Just plain wonderful." Douglas E Eveleigh, Professor of Microbiology, Rutgers University. "Ryan focuses on a biological mechanism Darwin and others might have underestimated: symbiosis. Part I reviews the history of evolutionary theory. Even informed readers will find new material in this discussion. Perhaps more daring, though, is Part 2. The author synthesises a large volume of current thought, mixes it with his own ideas, and proposes novel theories. His assertions merit serious attention." Gregg Sapp, Library Journal, Science Library. "It takes the broad mind and practical experience of a physician to understand the consequences of evolutionary biology. Dr Ryan's most readable book is a welcome escape from many misinterpretations of Darwinism." James Lovelock, FRS, CBE, author of Gaia.
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About Frank Ryan

Frank Ryan is a consultant physician and scientist. He graduated with honours in medicine at Sheffield University in 1970, after being awarded many prizes including the Herbert Price Memorial Prize for research into our immune response to viruses. He has written two acclaimed books, Virus X and Tuberculosis: The Greatest Story Never Told, the latter judged a New York Times Non-fiction Book of the Year. His writing has been the subject of many television documentaries in Britain and America, including programmes by World-in-Action and Horizon.
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Rating details

36 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 31% (11)
4 33% (12)
3 28% (10)
2 8% (3)
1 0% (0)
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