Return to media reviews

Why Evolution is True

Frankly, it's hard to find balance on many issues that directly support or reject specific world-views. Evolution is a prime example. Nearly all scientists feel there is sufficient evidence for natural selection and evolution—including in humans—as the explanation of species breadth we see today. However, only 9% of white evangelicals agree. Even more surprising, each side is highly confident in their conclusion. They have arguments supporting their view, but it seems that neither side fully understands the other.

The result is a lot of talk past each other. Evolution is complicated and the evidence is nuanced. It's easy to construct a straw man argument that misinterprets the opposing position and then proceed to tear it down. Instead, if we genuinely are interested in truth, we must steel man arguments.

If you're interested in understanding evolution, either because you don't have a firm grasp of what arguments are being made—and more importantly, why people believe them—or because you think scientists are misguided, Why Evolution is True is the best book I've come across to clearly outline the central claims and supporting evidence. Coyne covers precisely what scientists mean by "evolution" and "natural selection", falsifiable and verifiable claims that have been made, what we would find that might discredit the theory, and what we have found after hypotheses were made. Throughout the book, he reviews battery of evidence we've found, spanning geology, genetics, the fossil record, biology, and more. I learned a ton.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

Stay connected

I send out occasional updates on posts, interesting finds, and projects I'm working on. I'd love to include you. No tracking, one-click unsubscribe.