For a bit of a shock, I read a report from Discover Magazine which had this gem on their webpage: “Darwin’s Natural Selection Worksheet” by Robert Wright. This is a book I have been waiting to read since my college days of course! The author spends lots of time explaining the Darwinian concept, the fossil record and so on, so much for the scientific claims!
The book is basically a text of some hundred pages. Its pages are lined with links to related topics and is divided into 12 sections. Some might find this confusing, but it is actually quite an impressive concept in itself. Within each section there is a case study showing what has worked in a real life setting with real people.
A few of the points that are highlighted, are the tendency of authors to exaggerate and mention unlikely feats like creating a worm by looking at a tadpole or pond. Others can be perplexing, such as the author stating the book is about a pyramid scheme (not so!) as well as false claims about “the ravages of time.”
A few points which seem a little odd, but do not cause us to dismiss the whole book, are the many case studies and the creation of the pyramid scheme (a pyramid scheme is where a pyramid scheme operator has their own affiliates who spread information to their list of friends and family). However, the pyramid site only targets those members who want to learn how to get rich fast, not those who are already wealthy. It is an additional benefit to the pyramid site is the opportunity for the pyramid site operator to make money, by charging the members to join, from sign ups and promotements. Of course the member cannot pay and a sales letter from a pyramid site is not really bad, and we all know they are marketing.
Speaking of marketing, I do not see much evidence of marketing in the book, as this is something that might be easy for someone who is already well versed in the subject. It is interesting that the author concentrates on marketing his book and at the same time goes into considerable detail about issues such as the evolution of social groups and genetic drift. I could not possibly understand or test these and this really defeats the whole purpose of the book!
I feel that the author’s main intention is to help us better understand the concept of natural selection and we all know that understanding is the best way to explain a phenomenon. And this is certainly what is lacking from this book. We just do not have the answer to the big questions as to how we came to be, nor do we have an answer as to why we have what we do.
Once again, I feel this is a very well researched book which proves to be very informative, but I cannot say it will help people to understand and comprehend natural selection, genetic drift, and other aspects of Darwinian Theory. I believe one must understand biological evolution first before one can actually understand how it works. This book provides a perfect introduction into the field and a quick summary of the other topics.
Please consider all this in 2020 and reconsider buying this book, from someone who lacks any qualifications to write an article on Darwin’s Natural Selection Worksheet. He could be a fly by night publisher, or more likely an adept at getting the information onto the web without having actually done any research.