10 books like Not in Our Genes

By Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, Leon J. Kamin

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Not in Our Genes. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection

By Charles Darwin,

Book cover of On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection

This is one of the two or three most influential science books ever published. But unlike the case with other science books, The Origin, published in 1859, is also of profound political importance. Part of this political importance—the implications of Darwin's theory for religious explanations of the diversity of life, which I call "outside" politics—is familiar to all socially-aware citizens. But there is much less awareness of the "inside" politics of evolution—the political implications of controversies within the science of evolutionary biology founded by Darwin. Of course, to understand both the inside and outside politics, you must read much more recent books. But you should begin by reading Darwin.

On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection

By Charles Darwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the Origin of Species outlines Charles Darwin's world-changing theory that life on Earth had not been brought into being by a creator, but had arisen from a single common ancestor and had evolved over time through the process of natural selection.

This beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library edition of On the Origin of Species is complete and unabridged, and features an afterword by Oliver Francis. Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.

Received with both enthusiasm…


Darwin on Trial

By Phillip E. Johnson,

Book cover of Darwin on Trial

The clearest and most comprehensive creationist critique of evolutionary biology. Johnson, a retired law professor, marshals every possible argument like a prosecuting attorney, employing reasoning and evidence that is either masterful and convincing, or deceitful and outrageous, depending upon your point of view. To Johnson, the biologists who work in the tradition of Darwin are not scientists, but propagandists in a political movement, using fake data and spurious arguments to bamboozle the public. His purpose is to clear the way for readers to be convinced that a huge, invisible, omnipotent, supernatural designer (no, don't call him God) authored the millions of organisms that have existed on Earth for 3.8 billion years. Is this a scientific critique or a political polemic?

Darwin on Trial

By Phillip E. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darwin on Trial as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is evolution fact or fancy? Is natural selection an unsupported hypothesis or a confirmed mechanism of evolutionary change?
These were the courageous questions that professor of law Phillip Johnson originally took up in 1991. His relentless pursuit to follow the evidence wherever it leads remains as relevant today as then.
The facts and the logic of the arguments that purport to establish a theory of evolution based on Darwinian principles, says Johnson, continue to draw their strength from faith--faith in philosophical naturalism.
In this edition Johnson responds to critics of the first edition and maintains that scientists have put the…


Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Book cover of Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History

Until his death in 2002, Gould, a Harvard paleontologist, was probably the best-known natural scientist in the United States. What was not always recognized was that virtually every line Gould penned proceeded along two tracks, the scientific and the political. A leftist who started his career as a Marxist and developed into a more orthodox liberal, Gould had a genius for combining scientific lessons with political disputation and presenting that combination in lucid, interesting prose. No single book summarizes all of his political/evolutionary views. This one, in which he discusses many fascinating aspects of natural history while demolishing the views of creationists, would be a good place to start reading.

Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over a century after Darwin published the Origin of Species, Darwinian theory is in a "vibrantly healthy state," writes Stephen Jay Gould, its most engaging and illuminating exponent. Exploring the "peculiar and mysterious particulars of nature," Gould introduces the reader to some of the many and wonderful manifestations of evolutionary biology.


Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics

By Robert T. Pennock,

Book cover of Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives

The best book of readings on the controversy between "intelligent design" creationism (which is more intellectually respectable than "young Earth" creationism, the adherents of which believe that every word of the book of Genesis is literally true), and secular thinkers. Essays cover the truth of Darwinist theories, the nature of parents' rights to choose what their children are taught, the Constitutional law of education, the epistemological stance of naturalism as an unchallengeable assumption in scientific method, and various other relevant topics. The essays are generally as clear and jargon-free as it is possible to be, given that their authors are scholars.

Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics

By Robert T. Pennock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last decade saw the arrival of a new player in the creation/evolution debate—the intelligent design creationism (IDC) movement, whose strategy is to act as "the wedge" to overturn Darwinism and scientific naturalism. This anthology of writings by prominent creationists and their critics focuses on what is novel about the new movement. It serves as a companion to Robert Pennock's Tower of Babel, in which he criticizes the wedge movement, as well as other new varieties of creationism. The book contains articles previously published in specialized, hard-to-find journals, as well as new contributions. Each section contains introductory background information, articles…


Cycles of Contingency

By Susan Oyama (editor), Paul E. Griffiths (editor), Russell D. Gray (editor)

Book cover of Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution

If you are interested in the interplay of development and evolution, this collection of essays will introduce you to all the key concepts by many of the key thinkers. This is a collection for serious readers who want to appreciate the complexity underlying such concepts as instinct and heredity. Many of these essays are the classics in the field. My favorite? Daniel Lehrman’s takedown of Konrad Lorenz from 1953. That one essay alone, brimming with the passion of a young iconoclast, is worth the price of admission.

Cycles of Contingency

By Susan Oyama (editor), Paul E. Griffiths (editor), Russell D. Gray (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cycles of Contingency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The nature/nurture debate is not dead. Dichotomous views of development still underlie many fundamental debates in the biological and social sciences. Developmental systems theory (DST) offers a new conceptual framework with which to resolve such debates. DST views ontogeny as contingent cycles of interaction among a varied set of developmental resources, no one of which controls the process. These factors include DNA, cellular and organismic structure, and social and ecological interactions. DST has excited interest from a wide range of researchers, from molecular biologists to anthropologists, because of its ability to integrate evolutionary theory and other disciplines without falling into…


The Selfish Gene

By Richard Dawkins,

Book cover of The Selfish Gene

An all-time classic in popular science, the reference for approaching evolution and (bonus point) the first book to introduce the term “meme”. The Selfish Gene comes from the late 1970s but has many hints to understand contemporary biology, epidemics, and even, well, memes.

The Selfish Gene

By Richard Dawkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Selfish Gene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.

As influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology
community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty…


The Biology of Belief

By Bruce H. Lipton,

Book cover of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles

A powerful look at the capability of our thoughts on our DNA expression. I loved this book because it empowered me to change my thought life in order to experience personal transformation by changing my relationship to alcohol. It completely changed my outlook on what’s possible in my life. We are not victims of our DNA. We are victims of our thought life.

The Biology of Belief

By Bruce H. Lipton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Biology of Belief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This 10th-anniversary edition of Bruce Lipton's best-selling book

The Biology of Belief has been updated to bolster the book's central premise with the latest scientific discoveries-and there have been a lot in the last decade.

The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology. Former medical school professor and research scientist Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., presents his experiments, and those of other leading-edge scientists, which examine in great detail the mechanisms by which cells receive and process information.

The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do…


Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

By Robert J. Richards,

Book cover of Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

I often find well-researched histories of ideas invaluable as quarries for enhanced understanding and intellectual inspiration. This book is an exceptionally useful history of some key Darwinian ideas. Its principal focus is on evolutionary theories of mind, morality, and behavior, which have massive implications for the further development of the social sciences today. Richards sketches the intellectual background of Darwin’s thought in the nineteenth century, showing how he distanced himself from utilitarian approaches to moral and psychological analysis. The contrast with Herbert Spencer is particularly pertinent. But even more so, Darwin’s anti-utilitarianism remains highly relevant today, as much of social science – especially economics – is still dominated by utilitarian ideas. This history of thought defends evolutionary approaches to morality and it is explosive in its implications.

Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior

By Robert J. Richards,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With insight and wit, Robert J. Richards focuses on the development of evolutionary theories of mind and behavior from their first distinct appearance in the eighteenth century to their controversial state today. Particularly important in the nineteenth century were Charles Darwin's ideas about instinct, reason, and morality, which Richards considers against the background of Darwin's personality, training, scientific and cultural concerns, and intellectual community. Many critics have argued that the Darwinian revolution stripped nature of moral purpose and ethically neutered the human animal. Richards contends, however, that Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and their disciples attempted to reanimate moral life, believing that…


The Blank Slate

By Steven Pinker,

Book cover of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

First published 20 years ago by one of our best science writers, this book shattered the blank slate myth which dominated thinking at that time. The Blank Slate is a landmark against which I hope you will see how far we have come in recognizing the importance of genetics in psychology. The 2002 edition is still an excellent read but I recommend the updated 2016 edition with its new Afterword.

The Blank Slate

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Blank Slate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature from the author of Rationality, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and Enlightenment Now.

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." --Time

Updated with a new afterword

One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses…


How Art Works

By Ellen Winner,

Book cover of How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration

If you read one book on the psychology of art, make it this one. Winner gives us a book that celebrates the importance of art even as she remains grounded in experimental data and avoids hyperbole. She asks deceptively simple questions. What is art? Why do we make art? Does art make us better people? The clarity of her logic and the elegance of her prose as she answers these and other incisive questions make this book a delight to read.

How Art Works

By Ellen Winner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Art Works as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is no end of talk and of wondering about 'art' and 'the arts.' This book examines a number of questions about the arts (broadly defined to include all of the arts). Some of these questions come from philosophy. Examples include:

* What makes something art?
* Can anything be art?
* Do we experience "real" emotions from the arts?
* Why do we seek out and even cherish sorrow and fear from art when we go out of our way to avoid these very emotions in real life?
* How do we decide what is good art? Do aesthetic…


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