For X-Mas, I was delighted to recieve a copy of the new book by Donald Prothero, titled Evolution: What The Fossils Say and Why It Matters. Being unfamiliar with Prothero’s previous published works, I mistakenly took the book to be a pretty coffee table book about fossils. How wrong I was.
Donald Prothero is a professor of geology at Occidental College in Southern California, and he has written a whole list of books, from After The Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals to The Evolution Of The Earth.
His latest book is a stimulating read. I’ve only just finished chapter 3, but I’m too excited to wait to review the whole thing. His style of writing to clear and to the point. And he knows how to introduce technical terms without overwhelming the reader. In the first chapter he explains the philosophy of science, which is very often misunderstood by the general public, especially creationists. Here is an excerpt in which he writes about science as a method and the meaning of the word theory:
…Science is not about final truth or “facts”; it is only about continually testing and trying to falsify our hypotheses, until they are extremely well supported. At that point, the hypothesis becomes a theory (as scientists use the term), which is a well-corroborated set of hypotheses that explain a larger part of the observations about the world. Some well-known and widely accepted theories are the theory of gravitation, the theory of relativity, and, of course, the the theory of evolution.
Here are a few of the other chapter titles: Life’s Origin, Cambrian “Explosion”… or Slow Fuse?, Spineless Wonders Of Evolution, Fish Tales, Dinosaurs Evolve and Fly, The Ape’s Reflection.
I’ll be back with more on this great book, because Prothero does a wonderful job crushing creationism with science, and he deserves to be applauded.