May 12, 2007

Evolution for Everyone!

Have you heard about David Sloan Wilson's new book Evolution for everyone : how Darwin's theory can change the way we think about our lives ?

I saw him speak at Hampshire back in February, and he was great. Natalie Angier reviewed the book in the April 8 issue of the New York Times, and of it, she says:

"Rather than catalog its successes, denounce its detractors or in any way present evolutionary theory as the province of expert tacticians like himself, Wilson invites readers inside and shows them how Darwinism is done, and at lesson’s end urges us to go ahead, feel free to try it at home. The result is a sprightly, absorbing and charmingly earnest book that manages a minor miracle, the near-complete emulsifying of science and the 'real world...' "

Of related interest is his 2005 article Evolution for Everyone: How to Increase Acceptance of, Interest in, and Knowledge about Evolution in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology (13.5).

"This essay reports a success story, showing how both walls of resistance can be surmounted by a single college course, and even more, by a university-wide program. It is based on a campus-wide evolutionary studies program called EvoS, initiated at Binghamton University in 2002, which currently includes over 50 faculty members representing 15 departments. Enthusiasm at all levels, from freshmen students to senior administrators, makes EvoS a potential model for evolution education that can be duplicated; the basic ingredients are present at most other institutions, from small colleges to major universities."

Worthwhile both for ideas about how to start a new program on campus, but also for the science, as Wilson explains a bit about what he teaches in the EvoS program.

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