Today Brian Auten reviewed a book I now use in a biology course that I teach at the College at Southwestern: Science and Human Origins (2012). Read his review to see why he concludes it this way:
Science and Human Origins is probably the best and most up-to-date summary (for the general audience) of the evidence related to human evolution. Despite the fact that it is reasonably comprehensive in its coverage of the subject, it is rather short. The book version, which is reviewed here, contains less than 120 pages of content. While it is not perfect, it makes a very strong case against the concept that blind neo-Darwinian processes produced human beings from some hypothetical ape-like ancestor. Indeed, the fossil evidence currently indicates that no such evolution took place.
In another review of the same book, Ken Peterson reached this similar conclusion:
Those interested in recent scientific findings in genetics and paleoanthropology and their impact on some central neo-Darwinian assumptions will enjoy this book. While the subject matter can be highly technical, care has been taken in this book to make the essential elements available to the thoughtful non-scientist. As the author of Chapter 2 says: “The truth is that humans have a tendency to accept what they’ve been told over and over, and scientists (being human) are no exception to this. Stories have their place in science, in the framing of ideas, but they aren’t what makes good science so persuasive. So, scientists who insist that Darwin got our story, the human story, right would do well to ponder the evidence that would be needed to make that claim persuasive.” The evidence to date, he concludes, “has convinced me otherwise.”
I agree with both reviewers that Science and Human Origins does a great job bringing you the state-of-the-art regarding the study of human origins. And it does so in an accessible way that will reach many people. Read more about it here and purchase it here.