College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts Matters

Because Ideas Matter...

The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences presents

Recommended Readings

Why Evolution True Why Evolution is True

by Jerry A. Coyne, Viking 2009

Reviewed by Michael Zimmerman

With great care, careful attention to the scientific evidence, and a wonderfully accessible style, Coyne, a University of Chicago ecologist, presents an overwhelming case for the truth of evolution.

He builds that case by fully explaining the nature of science and making it clear that "for a theory to be considered scientific, it must be testable and make verifiable predictions." Coyne repeatedly provides examples of such predictions, concluding that "evolutionary theory, then, makes predictions that are bold and clear."

Ranging from biogeography to geology, from anatomy to genetics, and from molecular biology to physiology, he demonstrates that, in addition to being clear, those predictions are consistently borne out by the data. He also shows just how many of those predictions can actually be attributed back to Darwin.

Additionally, although he is fully respectful of those who promote intelligent design and other forms of creationism, he uses the ample data at his disposal to demolish any thought that creationist ideas might be supported while explaining why, in fact, those very ideas fall outside the bounds of science.

Coyne also directly addresses the concept often advanced by religious fundamentalists that an acceptance of evolution must lead to immorality concluding that "evolution tells us where we came from, not where we can go."

Readers looking to understand the case for evolution and searching for a response to many of the most common creationist claims should find everything they could hope for in this powerful book. Although other books have covered much the same ground, this one does so with greater clarity and comprehensiveness.

- Michael Zimmerman is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of biology at Butler University