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The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science is the poetry of reality, 20 July 2011
This is a very interesting book that beautifully, almost cinematically, narrates the history of science and its relationship with poetry in the Romantic era in late 18th and early 19th century Britain. The author, Richard Holmes, an expert on the Romantic poets, takes us through a journey exploring the fascinating people that pioneered new sciences from Joseph Banks to William Herschel, Humphry Davy to Micheal Faraday, exploring how their scientific approaches were deeply intertwined with a pursuit of beauty and poetry. Holmes shows how poetry and science were not two separated dichotomies but rather two intertwined paths of discovery and pursuit of truth and meaning. Epitomized in Davy who was both a poet and a scientist, but likewise other well known romantic poets such as Keats, Coleridge and Shelly were inspired by the new discoveries made of the natural world by the scientific process. Additionally, it describes a time when scientific education to the wider public was both a joy and an a necessity and is an inspiration to our times of a optimistic return to this bygone third culture. I recommend this book to anyone interested in science and its spiritual role to the individual, how scientific education to the mass public is essential to democracy and freedom, and an interest in the romantic heroes of an era where innovation and discovery beckoned the modern world into existence.


Why Evolution is True
Why Evolution is True
by Jerry A. Coyne
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to understand Evolution, 20 July 2011
This review is from: Why Evolution is True (Paperback)
In Jerry Coyne's guide to evolution he lays out not only the facts and functions of evolution but perhaps more importantly how evolution should be understood. It can be argued that is not just religious fundamentalism that plays its role in spouting "controversy" around evolution but rather the general public's ignorance of how to actually understand it. In "Why Evolution is True", Jerry Coyne, an eminent American biologist, lays out to layman reader, with elegant prose without patronization, how one should approach the theory of evolution. More to the point he addresses another misconception that arises strangely more often with the Darwin and Russel's theory of evolution by natural selection than Newton's theory of gravitation, that a scientific theory, firstly is not a presumed idea that is not proven, (to which science uses the word hypothesis) but rather that a theory is the best explanation that explains without reasonable doubt, through empirical observation, what the facts bare out. Hence it is a fact that Homo Sapiens bare a common ancestor with modern chimpanzees, the theory of evolution by natural selection explains how and why this is true. Therefore by calling it a theory does not degrade its legitimacy but rather makes it a more reliable truth than most things in everyday life that we take for granted as true but are often not factually measurable to the same degree as evolution is. He explains all the elements in a detailed yet comprehensive way dipping into diverse fields from geography and geology, paleontology and embryology, natural and sexual selection, anatomy, physiology and botany. It was a delightful read and i recommend it to all who don't understand evolution, who do, and those who think they do.


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