Creatures of Accident

The Rise of the Animal Kingdom by Wallace Arthur

  • Published: Sep 14, 2020

The most important aspect of evolution, from a philosophical viewpoint, is the rise of complex, advanced creatures from simple, primitive ones. This "vertical" dimension of evolution has been downplayed in both the specialist and popular... read more

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Details of Creatures of Accident

Exact title of the book
Creatures of Accident
Book author
Wallace Arthur
ISBN
9781466801790
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Sep 04, 2007
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
272
File size (in PDF)
2448 kB

Some brief overview of book

The most important aspect of evolution, from a philosophical viewpoint, is the rise of complex, advanced creatures from simple, primitive ones. This "vertical" dimension of evolution has been downplayed in both the specialist and popular literature on evolution, in large part because it was in the past associated with unsavory political views. The avoidance of evolution's vertical dimension has, however, left evolutionary biology open to the perception, from outside, that it deals merely with the diversification of rather similar creatures, all at the same level of "advancedness" from a common ancestorfor example, the classic case studies of finches with different beaks or moths of different colors.

The latest incarnation of creationism, dubbed intelligent design (or ID), has taken advantage of this situation. It portrays an evolutionary process that is constantly guidedespecially in its upward directionby the hand of an unseen Creator, who is able to ensure that it ends up producing humans. Creatures of Accident attacks the antiscience ID worldview, mainly by building a persuasive picture of how "unaided" evolution produces advanced creatures from simple ones by an essentially accidental process.

Having built this picture, in the final chapter the book reflects on its religious implications.

About author

Arthur is a professor of zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The author of seven previous books, he also serves as European editor of the journal Evolution and Development.

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