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Why do the debates about evolution persist, despite the plentiful evidence for it? Breaking down the notion that public resistance to evolution is strictly due to its perceived conflict with religion, this concise book shows that evolution is in fact a counterintuitive idea that is difficult to understand. Kostas Kampourakis, an experienced science educator, takes an insightful, interdisciplinary approach, providing an introduction to evolutionary theory written with clarity and thoughtful reasoning. Topics discussed include evolution in the public sphere, evolution and religion, the conceptual obstacles to understanding evolution, the development of Darwin's theory, the most important evolutionary concepts, as well as evolution and the nature of science. Understanding Evolution presents evolutionary theory with a lucidity and vision that readers will quickly appreciate, and is intended for anyone wanting an accessible and concise guide to evolution.
Biologists rely on theories, apply models and construct explanations, but rarely reflect on their nature and structure. This book introduces key topics in philosophy of science to provide the required philosophical background for this kind of reflection, which is an important part of all aspects of research and communication in biology. It concisely and accessibly addresses fundamental questions such as: Why should biologists care about philosophy of science? How do concepts contribute to scientific advancement? What is the nature of scientific controversies in the biological sciences? Chapters draw on contemporary examples and case studies from across biology, making the discussion relevant and insightful. Written for researchers and advanced undergraduate and graduate students across the life sciences, its aim is to encourage readers to become more philosophically minded and informed to enable better scientific practice. It is also an interesting and pertinent read for philosophers of science.
What are genes? What do genes do? These seemingly simple questions are in fact challenging to answer accurately. As a result, there are widespread misunderstandings and over-simplistic answers, which lead to common conceptions widely portrayed in the media, such as the existence of a gene 'for' a particular characteristic or disease. In reality, the DNA we inherit interacts continuously with the environment and functions differently as we age. What our parents hand down to us is just the beginning of our life story. This comprehensive book analyses and explains the gene concept, combining philosophical, historical, psychological and educational perspectives with current research in genetics and genomics. It summarises what we currently know and do not know about genes and the potential impact of genetics on all our lives. Making Sense of Genes is an accessible but rigorous introduction to contemporary genetics concepts for non-experts, undergraduate students, teachers and healthcare professionals.