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Darwin: A Graphic Biography is an inspiring expedition into the physical and intellectual adventures of Charles Darwin. Presenting Darwin's life in a smart and entertaining graphic novel, Darwin: A Graphic Biography attempts to not only educate the reader about Darwin but also the scientific world of the 1800s. The graphic medium is ideal for recreating a very specific time frame, succeeding in placing the reader right next to a young Darwin on a "beetling" expedition. With specimens in both hands, and anxious to get another, Darwin ends up stuffing the third beetle into his mouth. Darwin's life presented in this form is an inspirational tale for kids of all ages. They'll be sure to identify with a curious young Darwin finding his way on youthful adventures in the fields near his house. The ups, downs, and near-misses of Darwin's youth are portrayed honestly and without foreshadowing of his later fame. This is a key point for younger readers: that Darwin wasn't somehow predestined to greatness. He was curious, patient, and meticulous. He persevered--a great lesson about what science is all about.
This book features an exploration of the interaction between Darwinian ideas and Catholic doctrine. This coherent collection of original papers marks the 150 year anniversary since the publication of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" (1859). Although the area of evolution-related publications is vast, the area of interaction between Darwinian ideas and specifically Catholic doctrine has received limited attention. This interaction is quite distinct from the one between Darwinism and the Christian tradition in general. Interest in Darwin from the Catholic viewpoint has recently been rekindled. The major causes of this include: John Paul II's "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Evolution" in 1996; (2) the document "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God" issued in 2002; by the International Theological Commission under the supervision of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the present Pope Benedict XVI; Cardinal Christoph Schonborn apparent endorsement of Intelligent Design in his "New York Times" article "Finding Design in Nature" of July 7, 2005; and, Pope Benedict XVI's contributions in the recent collection of papers "Schopfung und Evolution" ("Creation and Evolution"), published in Germany in April, 2007. Responding to this heightened interest, the book offers a valuable collection of work from outstanding Catholic scholars in various fields.
Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is considered in its application to human beings in this book. Brian Baxter examines the various sociobiological approaches to the explanation of human behaviour which view the human brain, and so the human mind, as the product of evolution, and considers the main arguments for and against this claim. In so doing he defends the approaches against some common criticisms, such as the charge that they are reductionist and dehumanising. The implications of these arguments for the social sciences and humanities are assessed, as is the naturalistic view of ethics to which they lead. A key issue examined in the book is the connection between this Darwinist perspective on human beings and modern environmental ethics, which also often assume that human beings are part of an evolved living world. The implications of these positions for the meaningfulness of human life are also examined. Throughout the discussion the positions in sociobiology and environmental ethics developed by Edward O. Wilson are taken as an exemplar of the characteristic features of a Darwinian worldview, and the arguments of Wilson and his chief critics are thoroughly examined.
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