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Evolution's Workshop: God and Science on the Galapagos Islandsby Edward Larson
Synopses & Reviews
More than any other place on Earth, the Galapagos Islands are the workshop of evolution. Isolated and desolate, they were largely overlooked by early explorers until Charles Darwin arrived there in the 1830s. It was Darwin who recognized that Galapagos' isolation and desolation were advantages: the paucity of species and lack of outside influences made the workings of natural selection crystal clear. Since then, every important advance and controversy in evolutionary thinking has had its reflection on the Galapagos. In every sense-intellectually, institutionally, and culturally-the history of science on these islands is a history of the way evolutionary science was done for the past 150 years. Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galapagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galapagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.
Book News Annotation:
Larson (history and law, U. of Georgia) tells the history of the numerous researchers and expeditions that have traveled to Galapagos archipelago and details the scientific discoveries and religious and political controversies that have grown out of visits to the islands from before Charles Darwin's trip on the HMS Beagle to the present. The work explores the political and social environment of expeditions to the island from buccaneers to wealthy amateur scientists having black-tie dinners on their yachts. Among other topics looked at are the efforts of various people to control access to the islands and the effect that the fame of the Galapagos is having on its fragile ecosystem.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize--winning Summer for the Gods, a vivid and very human story of the Galapagos Islands
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