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Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation Hardcover – 1 Nov 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 309 pages
  • Publisher: St Martins Press (1 Nov. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250007135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250007131
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 216,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Audible version is even better, as you can hear the humour of the author.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Nye needs to do more homework. His knowledge of creationist arguments are terrible, he blunders badly in this area. His understanding of evolution is almost as bad. I was disappointed to see Nye simply parrot old arguments, many of which were incomplete, obsolete, absurd, science fiction and disproven. This attempt to capitalize on his recent debate with Ham earns him only 1 star. I give an extra star for his entertaining tv show all those years ago.

Nuclear Chemist, Dr. Jay Wile, has posted a list of errors he discovered while reading Nye's book. It is available here:
http://www.drwile.com/undeniable_review.pdf

Also, he has a blog post available providing his thoughts, as a scientist and as a creationist, that adds balance for those interested in counter arguments to this book:
http://blog.drwile.com/?p=13235
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dan yoder on 14 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Amazon.com: 263 reviews
117 of 141 people found the following review helpful
A Treat to Read 5 Nov. 2014
By Book Shark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

"Undeniable" is in outstanding book in defense of science and the grand theory of evolution. It's a love of science and his quest to spread awareness of the ways evolution impacts our lives and what is at stake for all of us. Mechanical engineer, science educator, and Emmy award-winning TV personality Bill Nye the Science Guy provides readers with a gem. This enjoyable 320-page book includes thirty-seven chapters that cover a wide-range of topics pertaining to evolution.

Positives:
1. Entertaining, well-written and well-researched book for the masses.
2. A great topic, the grand theory of evolution and how it shapes our lives.
3. A charming and engaging tone throughout.
4. This book oozes of love for science and the admiration for one of the greatest theories ever devised. "Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. It describes all of life on Earth."
5. Bill Nye is an educator at heart and he is concerned for the well-being of our planet. This sentiment shines through clearly as the following statement illustrates when discussing the attack on reason. "This attack on reason is an attack on all of us. Children who accept this ludicrous perspective will find themselves opposed to progress. They will become society's burdens rather than its producers, a prospect that I find very troubling."
6. Debunks many lies portrayed by creationists, like the second law of thermodynamics. "The Second Law applies only to closed systems, like a cylinder in a car engine, and Earth is not even remotely a closed system. Transfers of matter and energy are constantly taking place. Life here is nothing like a perpetual motion machine, but neither is it like a ball rolling inexorably downhill."
7. Does a wonderful job of describing how evolution works. "Nature is self-organizing. That's another way of defining evolution: Nature builds ecosystems, in all of their complex glory, from the bottom up."
8. Keeps even the most complex topics accessible for the public. As an example provides an enlightening chapter on how to determine deep time. "It's just a little over a century since the French physicist Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity, and with it the key to unlocking deep time."
9. A very good explanation on why the inheritance of acquired traits was wrong and what Lamarck actually got right. "Evolution happens as each generation of living things interacts with its environment and reproduces. Lamarck got at least that part of it right. Those natural designs that survive to reproduce pass on their genes. Those that don't successfully reproduce disappear; their genes disappear as well. It's survival of the hang-in-there's, or the made-the-cuts, or the just good-enoughs."
10. An interesting and even humorous look at sexual selection.
11. A look at artificial selection. "Darwin coined the phrase `artificial selection' to describe what human gardeners, farmers, and horse and dog breeders had been doing for centuries: creating better or more useful varieties of animals and plants."
12. Provocative but never disrespectful. "How can you take the lack of evidence of a plan as evidence of a plan? That makes no sense."
13. A fascinating look at biodiversity. "The areas of Earth with the most energy input are also the areas with the most biodiversity."
14. Explains why most living things never get fossilized.
15. A look at mass extinctions. "Industrial emissions are one way humans are changing this planet, but not the only way. We are also directly killing countless species at a rate that dwarfs the rates estimated in the previous Big Five extinctions. We are killing them mostly by destroying their habitats."
16. Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky's influence. "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution."
17. Many examples of poor "design". "Your windpipe (trachea) is right next to your food tube (esophagus), making it easy to choke. What's up with that? Couldn't that have been improved?"
18. Does a commendable job of explaining micro versus macro evolution. "The processes of microevolution and macroevolution are fundamentally the same, only the scale is different."
19. Many examples of the importance of understanding evolution. "For instance, we've discovered that cancer evolves. Cancer cells can mutate in the body of a patient, so that malignant cells find new ways to get a supply of blood and become resistant to our anticancer drugs."
20. An excellent chapter on genetically modified foods. It's one of my favorites. "So for me, evolutionary theory informs our decisions about GMOs."
21. A great chapter on skin colors. "In general, the closer people live to the equator, the more ultraviolet exposure they receive and the darker their average skin color."
22. Much more...

Negatives:
1. There are more substantive books on evolution (see my further recommendations) but few as charming and enjoyable to read.
2. A few sketches but overall lacking in visual content (graphs, timelines, and diagrams).
3. No notes.
4. No formal bibliography.

In summary, this is a wonderful book on the grand theory of evolution. Inspired by a debate with creationist Ken Ham, Bill Nye the Science Guy takes the reader on a delightful journey through popular topics concerning evolution and along the way teaches us the importance in understanding it. A tad on the accessible side of the equation but a wonderful book nonetheless. I highly recommend it!

Further recommendations: "Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction" by Eugenie C. Scott, "Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)" by Matt Young, "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution" by Richard Dawkins, "Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution" by Robert M. Price, "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body" by Neil Shubin, "Understanding Evolution and Ourselves" by Dennis Littrell, "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry A. Coyne, "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood" by David R. Montgomery, "What Evolution Is (Science Masters Series)" by Ernst Mayr, "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters" by Donald R. Prothero, and "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution" by Sean B. Carroll.
124 of 152 people found the following review helpful
Review from a former Jehovah's Witness 11 Nov. 2014
By Just Me - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was born into the Jehovah's Witness religion. I had twenty-nine brain washing indoctrinating years until one day I woke up and somehow saw "the matrix" for what it was and started thinking rationally while questioning the religions references and methods. I finally came to the realization that my religion was a cult. I am now thirty-four years old. In the short time that I have walked away from that "Faith", I decided to go to college and pursue degrees in things that always interested me. In a short sporadic 2.5 years, I attained an Associate's and Bachelor's degree while raising a family. This is a big no-no in that religion. Jehovah's Witnesses look down on education and even though they don't say you can't go to college, every time it is brought up it is in a bad light and described as a worldly place where bad association exists. College is for lovers of money and the greedy. Some go for two years for a technical degree which is almost shameful to other members.....if you go for four years...OH MY, you are never coming back!

Jehovah's Witness are taught to believe that EVERYTHING in the bible is to be taken literally. They even have their own book promoting Creationism titled, "Life--How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?" The liberties, lies, and misquotes the religion took when writing this book are mind baffling. Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Darwin and many more were grossly misinterpreted many times to make the organizations case for creationism look correct. All it takes is a quick google search to find the references to these atrocities.

In the time I have been out of organized religion, I have opened my mind and have been trying to seek answers that do not rely on faith but on concrete evidence. What I have learned in the last four years is astonishing. I now have a greater respect for my life, others, and all of my surroundings.

Bill Nye is an advocate for educating the young (and old), and we need more like him. Today's youth will eventually be making the big decisions that will affect the future of our planet. In my opinion, Mr. Nye's book is a great stepping stone to help others that might have been in similar shoes as me. It takes information that is sometimes hard to process and hones it enough that anyone "nine to ninety" can learn the basics of why creationism is laughable. Nye does it in a way that is heartfelt and nonjudgmental. I wanted to thank Mr. Nye for taking on this touchy subject and giving believers in creationism a healthy dose of SCIENCE!

Bill! Bill! Bill !
216 of 272 people found the following review helpful
Undeniably Excellent 4 Nov. 2014
By Michael Patrick Hicks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
(This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy obtained from the publisher via NetGalley.)

Bill Nye’s latest effort in bringing science to the masses probably could not have released at a more important time. Recently, Pope Francis made (non)news for affirming his belief in reality (with a few caveats, of course) by stating that evolution is real (something the modern world has known for more than two hundred years), even while at least a third of the United States rejects evolution and GOP ignoramuses work to force creationism into public school science classes. In February 2014, Nye squared off against Ken Ham in a debate that put fact vs. fiction on the front-lines. That this debate was even held in the first place, nearly halfway through our second decade in the 21st Century, and with the alarming segment of the American public that rejects scientific fact in favor of magical fantasy, proves that there is quite a long way to go in educating the populace and that proper scientific communication is perhaps more necessary now than ever before.

Nye wastes no time in tackling and discrediting the misinformation campaign of creationism, sometimes known as Intelligent Design, and laying out crystal clear details to illustrate the scientific reasoning in support of evolution while also punching many holes in the claims made by Ham and his disciples.

The writing is crisp and concise, with Nye’s brand of humor on full display and his “voice” ringing through each word. He’s able to present a layman’s view of the scientific evidence without bogging reader’s down in the minutiae. You won’t find paragraph after paragraph of Latin names and dense atomic nomenclature. Instead, Nye spends his time using fully relateable concepts to ground the sometimes heady topic of evolution, while canvasing the importance of transitional fossils like tiktaalik and ambulocetus, and how dinosaurs turned into birds, and why birds, and bats for that matter, are not so terribly different from you and I (organizationally speaking, at least). He also touches upon a few other topics that are tied directly into evolution, such as GMOs and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Throughout the book, Nye showcases several perfect examples of evolution in action, in both historical and present-day models, such as the evolution of a new breed of mosquitoes in the London Underground that is quite distinct from its above-ground brethren, and how bacteria and viruses evolve over time. Whether or not they admit it, or are conscious of it, people who get a flu shot are obviously believers in evolution. I’ve often joked, particularly during those weeks of seasonal change, that people who believe in Intelligent Design have obviously never had sinus infections or allergies.

Nye does a terrific job showing the natural process of evolution, and the deficiencies inherit in creationist arguments. Really, all one needs to do is critically examine the human body and all its flaws, or even just compare features of our anatomy, say the eyeball, to that of other creature’s, like an octopus or hawk, to see the imperfections and utter lack of planned, elegant design. There is no “creator,” and with the process of evolution, there is no need for one, either. It works just fine on its own, through adaptation and selective gene flow. Evolution gives lie to the creationist claims, and Nye expertly explains that evolution is not so much a method of perfect design so much as it is a system of simply being good enough.

Undeniable, however, is much more than merely good enough – it is, in fact, truly excellent. This is a necessary book, one that should be on the bookshelves and e-readers of anyone looking to expand their horizons with thoughtful scientific insight and an explanation of the natural world around us. Highly recommended.
38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
This is a fantastic book! I watched his television show while growing ... 5 Nov. 2014
By Aaron Colby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book! I watched his television show while growing up, so for the sake of nostalgia, I decided to order this on my Kindle. I am very happy I did! His tone is very conversational and logical. If you have a general interest in science or are curious about evolutionary sciences, I highly recommend.
34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
The whole book is sprinkled with Nye's endearing, geeky humor and I laughed out loud many times. 5 Nov. 2014
By Tracey moody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For the most part it was a layman course in evolution by natural selection, with emphasis on debunking the talking points of creationists. He refers to his debate with Ken Ham often, as you'd expect. The whole book is sprinkled with Nye's endearing, geeky humor and I laughed out loud many times. My favorite bit was the chapter regarding altruism and the evolutionary motivations in our psychology. This aspect of evolution has been intriguing me more over the past couple years.

It's not a very long book, but it covers lots of topics in clean summaries. The terminology is simplified, and nothing is presented in a way that would intimidate a person who's newly curious about evolution. I'm saying it's a great beginner course for creationists or the undecided. Also, it's an ideal rebuttal mine for those who are interested in engaging in dialogue with creationists. It's definitely not The Greatest Show on Earth (Richard Dawkins). Although that is one of my favorite books, Dawkins doesn't hold back any detail or 10 syllable word on behalf of his reader's comprehension level.

Aside from evolution Bill discusses GMOs, religion (briefly and non-judgmentally), space and astrobiology, ethics, human cloning, some scientific history, and personal anecdotes.

I have been anticipating Nye writing an adult book for a while, and he didn't disappoint me after the wait. If you begin the book keeping in mind his token Science Guy humor and manner of presenting complicated matters in ways that are accessible to most education levels, you'll probably enjoy it too. Definitely lend it to a creationist friend when you're finished.

If you're a mean, smarty pants who eye-rolls at dad-jokes, maybe it's not the book for you.

My favorite quote from the book: "If you're like me, and I know I am..."
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