Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Rest and relaxtion is over.....

My apologies for the lateness of this post, however, I arrived back in England from Belgium last Saturday and due to me starting my university course, I am currently busy at a placement in a primary school.

During this time I had plenty of opportunity to read two great books on Evolution and watch two episodes of Last Chance to See. The first book I read was River out of Eden, one of Dawkins' books. Dawkins discusses genetics in this book and likens it to the Biblical quote which the book title is based upon. He explores several fallacies such as argument from personal incredulity and displays the problems with these in a systematic fashion. Short and easy to read, this book is probably one of the best books to start with for those looking to explore his work.

The second book is one that again explores the fallacies creationists often propose to try and prove Evolution false. Why Evolution is True, by Jerry Coyne, examines these fallacies and reveals how to avoid them whilst providing clear examples. This is a fairly new book but I highly recommend it for those that are daunted by Dawkins or dislike his negative commentary towards religion. I would possibly question his data involving hominin evolution (such as the neutral manner over the confirmation on whether the Hobbit is a separate species and lending credence to the claim of hypothyroid cretenism), however, these are very minor controversial points in what is generally a very well-researched book. If you do wish to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of non-scientific thinking on evolution I highly recommend this book.

Onto the episodes of Last Chance to See, a TV programme that I am very excited about and I am not being disappointed at all. Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine have seen rare rhinos, chimps, gorillas, lemurs and chameleons in this fascinating show and it really has been a pleasure to watch. The programme is intelligent, informed and fascinating, showing rare species and the measures being taken to conserve them. Its the one show that makes you want to become a conservationist, for the simple reason of protecting these fascinating creatures.

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