REVIEW OF: Biology, Evolution, and Human Nature, by Timothy H. Goldsmith and William F. Zimmerman.. New York (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). $48.95 (hardcover). xiii + 370 p; ill.; index. ISBN: 0-471-18219-2. 2001.

by

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu / home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

9 July 2001[1]

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/qrbjuly2001review.htm]

Published in The Quarterly Review of Biology [State University of New York, Stony Brook], December 2001, Vol. 76, No. 4: 493.

Biology, Evolution, and Human Nature, by Timothy H. Goldsmith and William F. Zimmerman. New York (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). $48.95 (hardcover). xiii + 370 p; ill.; index. ISBN: 0-471-18219-2. 2001.

This one-semester textbook by Goldsmith (Yale) and Zimmerman (Amherst) for "students not majoring in biology" (p vii) is excellent. Major divisions are "Foundations, Evolution in Action, The Biology of Behavior, and Our Place in Nature," and all 14 chapters have illustrations, outlines, questions for thought, and suggestions for reading. Dedicated to George Williams, William Hamilton, Robert Trivers, and Richard Alexander ("whose ideas have clarified and extended evolutionary theory into the domains of social behavior and brought us to a deeper understanding of human nature") the final chapter ("Viewing Human Cultures in an Evolutionary Context") ends with an encouraging conclusion: "the evolution of mind has influenced the formation of human cultures. It also tells us we will have to use wisdom in determining our own future" (p 347).

Outstanding as it is, some modest comments: while chapter 2 ("Charles Darwin and the Origins of Evolutionary Theory") is an easy read, perhaps a future edition could mention Robert Chambers and his (anonymous) 1844 Vestiges. James Secord demonstrated (2000, Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation) Chambers' influence on Darwin's 1859 Origin. Goldsmith and Zimmerman also give the impression that Darwin wrote Origin as a result of Wallace and the 1858 Linnean Society meetings: "Darwin then set about writing On the Origin of Species, which was published the following year" (p 26); not true, since Darwin had made his detailed outline in 1844. The authors could point out that Origin went through six different editions in Darwin's lifetime (1859, 1860, 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1872). They do reference Darwin's 1859 Origin, as opposed to Frank C. Erk in 1999, who was wrong in writing that "In a sense, Darwin's hand was forced, in spite of his pious inference at the end of the Origin: 'There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one….'" ("Scopes, Evolution and Religion." QRB, Vol. 74, No. 1, March 1999, pp 51-55, p 52). The Darwin of 1859 was not the Darwin Erk refers to; the word "Creator" was not in Origin of 1859 but was added by Darwin in 1860 (and for all subsequent editions in his lifetime).

One final comment: it is amazing that there are no Biology WWW references in this volume, but the academic background, credentials, and desire to enlighten non-Biology majors makes Biology, Evolution, and Human Nature an excellent text and students and instructors who use this text should be pleased.

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Note: this is the type of information I think should have been included in the textbook. Perhaps it exists in a Teacher's Guide?

http://www.amherst.edu/~biology/faculty/zimmerman.html
http://www.morehead-st.edu/colleges/science/biology/website.html [Biology Web Sites]
http://www.epress.com/w3jbio/biolinks.htm [WWW Journal of Biology} Biology on the Web]
http://swampfox.fmarion.edu/web/biol/links.html [Biology Links]
http://sdb.bio.purdue.edu/Other/VL_DB.html [Virtual Library} Developmental Biology]
http://www.sc2000.net/~czaremba/ [Mr. Biology's Biology Web Site]
http://zygote.swarthmore.edu/ [Zygote} A Developmental Biology Web Site]


[1] Submitted to Diane Mancini, The Quarterly Review of Biology [State University of New York, Stony Brook]. To return to the beginning of this page, please click here.


To go to the home page of Urbanowicz, please click here;

to the Department of Anthropology;

to California State University, Chico..

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© [Copyright: All Rights Reserved] Charles F. Urbanowicz

9 July 2001 by CFU

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