Does anyone know of a good, simple, clear, not-TOO-dense book explaining evolution? I'm asking for something somewhat contradictory but I'm trying to find a good balance of depth, necessary detail, and support mixed with clarity, simplicity, and the assumption of both a lack of a scientific background as well as the lack (in general) of scientific (to the reader) minutae.

Basically I'm trying to find a Primer of sorts for somewhat openminded theists. I know quite a few culturally religious co-workers who would be open to learning a bit more about the subject but are turned off by works that are either too dense and imposing (they don't want to feel like they're reading a school textbook), or too ephemeral and general, dealing with only concepts but no backing. I'm trying to find something that addresses the middleground well with a clear general overview, the first few steps along the path of "good scientific backup" where they can then pick up more detailed books if they choose.

Something to interest and get the idea across without drowning them when they take their first dip in the pool ;) I was thinking 50-100 pages at most would probably be a good limiter as well.

Any suggsetions?

Tags: evolution

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Yes! I have the perfect book. The Top Ten Myths About Evolution by Cameron McPherson and Charles Sullivan.


It is small, written in simple, easy to understand language, and answers the most common misconceptions about evolution.

As someone with a non-science background, I found it invaluable as a starter book.

You can probably read it in one or two sittings. It's certainly not heavy going.

I can't recommend it highly enough - and it's cheap, too!

You can also contact author, Charles Sullivan on myspace where he posts as Charles Evolution.

Here's the blurb:

"In this concise, accessible handbook, educators Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is "just a theory," that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees, and six other popular but erroneous notions.

Smith and Sullivan's reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution."
Hmm, possibly good to add it to the pile but I was also looking for something that addressed it as a summary of the theory with some small amount of back up, as opposed to simply attacking several fallacies, and why they were incorrect. I appreciate it though, I'll definitely pick it up as well.
You will find the book does what you need it to do, Caine. It provides an excellent summary of the theory with back up evidence.
Can you suggest something better as a small, easy to read, primer on evolution that won't demand too much of a reader who is not convinced? It is certainly not a book that would satisfy someone who already knows about evolution. It is simple, basic and doesn't get bogged down in technical language. We have to accept that most creationists simply aren't going to wade through Dawkins' et al's lengthy explanations and pages of minutely described evidence. Those books may come later, but if you give them to a person of average intelligence and education with no real interest in the subject, you might as well give them a copy of the Bible written in coptic. They're just not gonna get it.
Yeah, that's basically my problem; I don't want to to give them some flyer as that wouldn't have any relevant info, but The Blind Watchmaker ... they wouldn't get through page 5 (I know, I tried it, they didn't) lol
I'll definitely take it, appreciated. Anything helps.
This site isn't small or focused on providing a primer but it does answer most questions and give sound explanations on the issues raised by creationists.

It would be a good reference source for you when providing explanations or for them if they wanted specific questions answered.

Hope it's at least helpful in some way

Talk Origins
Appreciated but many are not that computer savvy, that's why I was looking for a book to loan, something physical they'll remember to read ;)

Appreciate it though, more information is always a good thing.
Haha. Okay. If I come across anything I'll pass it on.
Meatier than that, I want a real book with an solid explanations just some that isn't encyclopedia or textbook like density which would make it too hard to absorb to the average theist with no real scientific understanding or background. So detailed but not TOO detailed, clear but not TOO simple.

Pamphlet definitely falls on the "too simple" side
It may not be a good book for your purposes, but the one that I found a good primer was the chapter on evolution in God Delusion. I'm pretty sure your co-workers are unlikely to be open-minded enough to read from that book just yet, but Dawkins explains the underlying principle of evolution very concisely with some nice examples and extrapolations in fields other than biology. Basically, that functioning systems tend toward increased complexity over time. This is how higher plants and animals evolved and may be how matter combined into the various elements to form the universe.
Yeah, I've read it and enjoyed it but the context and title... baby steps, lol. Possibly excerpted though, that's a thought

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