Free Kindle edition of evolution book

Alert reader Bob has emailed me with the news that Eugene V. Koonin’s molecular evolution book, The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution, is being offered for free on Kindle (it’s normally over fifty-one bucks).  Now I haven’t read this book, but it looks legit, and if you’re into a book that covers the stuff described below, you have  not a penny to lose.  Bob also notes that these “free Kindle offers” usually last only 24 hours or so.

The Logic of Chance offers a reappraisal and a new synthesis of theories, concepts, and hypotheses on the key aspects of the evolution of life on earth in light of comparative genomics and systems biology. The author presents many specific examples from systems and comparative genomic analysis to begin to build a new, much more detailed, complex, and realistic picture of evolution. The book examines a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including  the inadequacy of natural selection and adaptation as the only or even the main mode of evolution; the key role of horizontal gene transfer in evolution and the consequent overhaul of the Tree of Life concept;  the central, underappreciated evolutionary importance of viruses; the origin of eukaryotes as a result of endosymbiosis; the concomitant origin of cells and viruses on the primordial earth; universal dependences between genomic and molecular-phenomic variables; and the evolving landscape of constraints that shape the evolution of genomes and molecular phenomes.

If you’ve read this book, pray tell us in the comments how you liked it.

86 Comments

  1. Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Despite all the badmouthing of e-books that some people tend to do, there is something very satisfying about seeing a book that you want online one minute and having on your kindle the next.

  2. Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Already back to $43 for me :o(

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      (That was a :( that went wrong!)

      • Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Still says $0.00 for me. Perhaps it’s location based I’m in South Africa

    • Joris M
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      It was still 0.00 for me at amazon.com, accessing from the Netherlands.

    • Jack van Beverningk
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Still free here. 7PM EST

    • Tim
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Was free for me in Texas. I don’t have a Kindle, but I can use Kindle for Mac.

  3. Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    There is a whole category of free Kindle books! Who knew?

    http://amzn.to/otIo9p

    • Steve Smith
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Project Gutenberg has a lot more free non-DRM’d MOBI/EPUB/etc. for works with expired copyright.

    • Sean Boyd
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the link – quite a number of good reads in there.

      • Scott near Berkeley
        Posted September 6, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        In My Opinion, best possible Project Gutenberg book is “Tent Camping in Siberia” by George Kennan…originally published in the 1870s. Fantastic and (at the risk of sounding pedestrian or familiar) awesome true tale of adventure, adversity, hardship, and survival.

        • Petr
          Posted September 12, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          Just a detail, in case you search for it: it’s “Tent life in Siberia”. Thank you for the tip.

  4. lance gritton
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    thanks, will read it and give an update- kindle has turned out not to be the good deal I thought it would be with all my favorite books and new books costing more than the paperback editions…

  5. Posted September 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting a Kindle soon. I hope the deal lasts long enough for me!

    • James
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      You can “buy” this (or indeed any other Kindle content) without having a Kindle: there are apps for Macs, PCs, iPhones, Androids etc for reading Kindle books. In fact, there’s no reason why everyone reading this should not get the book.

      • andyo
        Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I even read them on the Nook! But I can also read them on the iPod Touch.

  6. Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting a Kindle soon. I hope the deal lasts long enough for me!

    You don’t have to own a Kindle to download the book; all you need is an account on Amazon.com. Until you get your Kindle, you can download reader apps for the iPhone and iPad, Windows, and so on.

  7. Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I took you up on this offer, it’s downloading now.

  8. Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I just picked it up for free from the U.S. Amazon site, thanks for letting us know. It looks pretty good. Remarkably broad coverage. Here’s the T.O.C.:

    Preface: Toward a postmodern synthesis of evolutionary biology

    Chapter 1: The fundamentals of evolution: Darwin and Modern Synthesis

    Chapter 2: From Modern Synthesis to evolutionary genomics: Multiple processes and patterns of evolution

    Chapter 3: Comparative genomics: Evolving genomescapes

    Chapter 4: Genomics, systems biology, and universals of evolution: Genome evolution as a phenomenon of statistical physics

    Chapter 5: The web genomics of the prokaryotic world: Vertical and horizontal flows of genes, the mobilome, and the dynamic pangenomes

    Chapter 6: The phylogenetic forest and the quest for the elusive Tree of Life in the age of genomics

    Chapter 7: The origins of eukaryotes: Endosymbiosis, the strange story of introns, and the ultimate importance of unique events in evolution

    Chapter 8: The non-adaptive null hypothesis of genome evolution and origins of biological complexity

    Chapter 9: The Darwinian, Lamarckian, and Wrightean modalities of evolution, robustness, evolvability, and the creative role of noise in evolution

    Chapter 10: The Virus World and its evolution

    Chapter 11: The Last Universal Common Ancestor, the origin of cells, and the primordial gene pool

    Chapter 12: Origin of life: The emergence of translation, replication, metabolism, and membranes—the biological, geochemical, and cosmological perspectives

    Chapter 13: The postmodern state of evolutionary biology

    Appendix A: Postmodernist philosophy, metanarratives, and the nature and goals of the scientific endeavor

    Appendix B: Evolution of the cosmos and life: Eternal inflation, “many worlds in one,” anthropic selection, and a rough estimate of the probability of the origin of life

    Koonin, Eugene V. (2011-06-23). The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (FT Press Science) (Kindle Locations 27-49). FT Press. Kindle Edition.

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I wish he would lay off the postmodernism stuff. When the Kindle initially opened up on the preface: “Toward a postmodern synthesis of evolutionary biology.” My immediate thoughts were “Oh crap I want my money back”, but he seems to mean it in a loose metaphorical sense – basically pluralism would be a better way to say it. Postmodernism would likely include creationism and other crap.

  9. Steve Bowen
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    £26 British pounds for me

  10. Jim Jones
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I was able to download Kindle for PC, install it and then ‘buy’ this book (from Canada). I had to send it to the ‘cloud’ which apparently is my DSL line.

    But it worked.

    • Chris V.
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      You can actually download it through the Kindle software. :)

  11. Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The description and table of contents seem larded with buzzwords and buzz-phrases that only Suzan Mazur could love. I think I’ll pass, even for free. I have too many books that I suspect are good that I’ve yet to read.

  12. dbredes
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Just “bought” it ($0.00). Thanks!

  13. Posted September 5, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The intro reads like a crackpot, vanity book.

    No human brain can describe let alone anything useful abt even 1 of these topics let alone mashing them all together.

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Dunno, Koonin is fairly well-respected within his field. Even if some of us have strong disagreements with some of his positions…

      • Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        We will study him more before we spend time to read book. So much science so little time. However, we are always skeptical of any one person promising a comprehensive review of complex topics with the promise of “synthesis.” Ho hum.

    • Posted September 9, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      No human brain can describe let alone anything useful abt even 1 of these topics let alone mashing them all together.

      If that were true, teaching would be impossible. What I find impossible is reviewing a book before reading it, or at least sampling it.

      I’m not qualified to judge its accuracy, but I can say it is a more complete balanced history of evolutionary thought than anything else I’ve read. And it does something interesting: it honors past research, but places it in the context of current genomic understanding.

  14. Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Just downloaded it to my iPad via the kindle app.

    Free is good!

  15. mordacious1
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t this a recent publication? I wonder if Amazon made a mistake? Well, their loss…already downloaded. I also saved the confirmation email stating $0.00 and saved a screenshot of the page (just in case they try to charge for it later).

    • SWH
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I did the same thing – didn’t want an $50 odd charge I couldn’t challenge. But Amazon, just sent the confirming e-mail with the $0.00 price, so I guess it’s formal. So now it’s sitting on the kindle app on my iPad waiting to be read. Good deal – thanks

  16. Ecologia
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Just looked at the editorial review on Amazon and it had this nugget:

    “The book examines a broad range of topics in evolutionary biology including the inadequacy of natural selection and adaptation as the only or even the main mode of evolution.”

    Oy. Since when do evolutionary biologists consider nat. sel. to be the ONLY mechanism? And why is it so fashionable to try and demote nat. sel. to some sort of exaggeration or mistake? What gives?

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      While perhaps most realise explicitly that there’s more to evolution than selection (or should, anyway, or get their degrees revoked…), the other processes still very frequently get ignored in mainstream sources, or at least dismissed as ‘processes that don’t contribute anything interesting, just noise’. While selection is not to be ignored or demoted, it still is just one of the fundamental processes of evolution, the others being mutation (which actually introduces variation and innovation, unlike selection), drift, recombination (arguable — I think it just unlinks genes, which I doubt is strictly speaking ‘fundamental’), and perhaps migration. Furthermore, selection is all too often erroneously equated with adaptation (which is a process involving introduction of variation and sorting by selection), even by professional biologists.

      • alias Ernest Major
        Posted September 6, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        How you split the processes has arbitrary elements (some people consider sexual selection distinct from natural selection), but I would replace migration by gene flow (also including introgression).

        • Posted September 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Sexual selection is a subtype of selection. Don’t see how it can even be considered distinct. Would love clarification on that, since it’s bothered me for a while now!

          And totally cool with gene flow instead of migration — not used to thinking about spatial pop dynamics, so this is way outside my ‘territory’…

      • Ichthyic
        Posted September 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        While selection is not to be ignored or demoted, it still is just one of the fundamental processes of evolution, the others being mutation (which actually introduces variation and innovation, unlike selection), drift, recombination (arguable — I think it just unlinks genes, which I doubt is strictly speaking ‘fundamental’), and perhaps migration.

        you should be perhaps a bit more careful to separate mechanisms that generate variation from mechanisms that act on that variation.

        mutation (all kinds) is a mecahism of generating variability; selection and drift are mechanisms that operate ON that variability.

        likewise with horizontal gene transfer; just another mechanism of generating variability – it is not in conflict as a mechanism with selection or drift.

        • Posted September 9, 2011 at 5:16 am | Permalink

          likewise with horizontal gene transfer; just another mechanism of generating variability – it is not in conflict as a mechanism with selection or drift.

          One recurring theme in the book is the assertion that most of the inventing of genes was done several billion years ago by bacteria.

          In retrospect, all these findings may appear quite intuitive, considering how advanced, complex, and, in a variety of ways, optimized cells and even individual protein or RNA molecules are. Once these complex systems are in place—and evolutionary reconstructions clearly show that they have been in place for most of the history of life, that is, more than 3.5 billion years—quality control and damage prevention indeed become the bulk of the “work” of evolution, the importance of occasional new adaptations notwithstanding. This realization places an enormous burden on the early, precellular stages of evolution when change must have been rapid and the roles of positive selection along with constructive neutral evolution must have been much greater than they were during the subsequent 3.5 billion years of evolution. In a sense, almost everything “really interesting” in the evolution of life occurred during its relatively brief, earliest stages antedating the “crystallization” of the basic cellular organization (see Chapters 11 and 12, and more discussion later in this chapter). Certainly, major exceptions exist, such as the emergence of eukaryotic cells or multicellular eukaryotic organisms, but there is no doubt that most of the fundamental evolutionary innovations are crammed into the earliest 5% of the history of life.

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Besides, I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘fashionable’ — we still feel like quite a minority in some places… ;-)

  17. Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Sweet, thanks for the heads-up.

    I’ll probably never get around to reading it, but it’s nice to know its there at the click of a button (unlike my physical copy of WEIT, which I have to retrieve off the shelf).

  18. gruebait
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Thankyou! I have been trying and failing to remember to check the Daily Deal every day.

    (I really have to make it a cron job…)

  19. Timothy H
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Looks good, but it’s reduced to half price £26 in UK store not free :(

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      What to do:

      ** Go to Amazon.co.uk

      ** Click ‘Your Account’ [top right]

      ** Scroll down to the ‘Settings’ section & click on ’1-Click Settings’ & you’ll be taken to the ‘Manage Addresses and 1-Click Settings’ page
      [you may be asked to give your name/password to get to here, but that's OK ~ do as you're asked]

      ** Give yourself a US address & phone number by googling say a shoe shop & use there details but changed the unit number & phone number

      ** When you change your details & you will be redirected to Amazon.com

      ** In the Amazon search boxes at the top select ‘Kindle Store’ to the left & put “The Logic of Chance” in the right box & click ‘Go’

      ** The top result was correct. Click on it & there’s the book. Check that the page reads “Kindle Price: $0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet. You Save: $69.99 (100%)”

      ** There’s a yellow ‘Buy now with 1-Click’ button to the top right. Underneath is a drop down menu. Select ‘Transfer via computer’ from the drop down & click the yellow button

      ** You’ll go to a download page & a dialog box pops up ~ select ‘Save File’ & ‘OK’ & the file is downloaded to your computer

      ** transfer to your Kindle via USB [or read on your PC with the free Kindle app for PC]

  20. Jack van Beverningk
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    … being offered for free on Kindle

    Note that you don’t NEED a Kindle to read this free book. You can download the free Kindle PC-app (amongst other options), and read it on your PC (or laptop, or phone, or iPad)

  21. Jack van Beverningk
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    And yes, “The Origin” is available for free too (and most likely not time limited):

    • Jack van Beverningk
      Posted September 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      And if you have a Nook: Barnes & Noble offers tons of free books too: if you need/want a book that you would consider a Classic, chances are you can get a free eBook version of it.
      TONS of free stuff!

  22. Marella
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Bought $0.00! I do like free. ;-)

  23. Posted September 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh BTW ~ Bob’n’Jerry thank you

  24. Miles Teg
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I got mine for free about eight hours ago (from Australia).

  25. Jim Mauch
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    i am just starting the book but it is looking to be quite informative and fun. It is starting with something I have wanted to learn more about; how Darwin’s Theory evolved to become the early 20th century evolutionary theories of the modern synthesis. Got to get to back to reading.

  26. Posted September 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I didn’t know theree were free ebooks and I also didn’t know that I could read them on my PC. This is great for me, since I live in a virtually library-less and bookstore-less country.

    Looking quickly at the book, I was disappointed that it does not talk at all about the genetics of the speciation process.

  27. R.W.
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    If there was a Nobel prize for moving the goalposts…

    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-and-ted-and-alice.html

    • Dominic
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 2:00 am | Permalink

      Who is that guy? Utter rubbish.

  28. Posted September 5, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I just downloaded it into my Kindle for free from Amazon here in Kentucky, USA as of 11 PM EDT 9/5/2011. Despite any (real or imagined) possible shortcomings the book (may or may not) have, it looks at first examination to be certainly worth WAY more than the price!

  29. Posted September 6, 2011 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I think the free offer has closed (Sept 6th, 8.15 am British time). Can anyone deny this or confirm it? Even after following Michael Fisher’s instructions above, and logging in from an American address, I see the price as $42.86.

    • Joris M
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      It still shows up as free for me in the Netherlands (9:53 British). Did you try looking at Amazon.com?

    • Sigmund
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      It’s still available (Tuesday noon in Sweden).
      I guess you need to follow the link in the above article which takes you to the US amazon.com rather than the UK version.

  30. Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    On the Richard Dawkins forum someone said the following works, but I suppose you have to be willing to be dishonest and effectively steal the book :)

    Comment 15 by Michael Fisher
    What to do if you’re Amazon accnt is not US:

    ** On the Amazon page click ‘Your Account’ [top right]

    ** Scroll down to the ‘Settings’ section & click on ’1-Click Settings’ & you’ll be taken to the ‘Manage Addresses and 1-Click Settings’ page [you may be asked to give your name/password to get to here, but that's OK ~ do as you're asked]

    ** Find yourself a US address & phone number by googling say a shoe shop & use their details [but change the unit number & phone number slightly]

    ** Change your address details & you will be redirected to Amazon.com

    ** In the Amazon search boxes at the top select ‘Kindle Store’ to the left & put “The Logic of Chance” in the right box & click ‘Go’

    ** Select the correct result. Check that the page reads “Kindle Price: $0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet. You Save: $69.99 (100%)”

    ** There’s a yellow ‘Buy now with 1-Click’ button to the top right. Underneath is a drop down menu. Select ‘Transfer via computer’ from the drop down & click the yellow button

    ** You’ll go to a download page & a dialog box pops up ~ select ‘Save File’ & ‘OK’ & the file is downloaded to your computer

    ** transfer to your Kindle via USB [or read on your PC with the free Kindle app for PC]

    • Heleen
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 4:24 am | Permalink

      One doen’t need to be in the US to have a US Amazon account. Just start an account of Amazon.com in any country. The Netherlands worked. I got the book directly on my Amazon account after downloading Kindle for PC.

  31. Dominic
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    One other site – remember the Darwin Correspondence Project website, plus the full text of all his writings -
    http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/

    It really is a great site!

  32. Heleen
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    About the book by Koonin:

    Box 13.1
    Postmodern reassessment of some central propositions of Darwin and Modern Synthesis

    Contrast 1
    OLD:
    The material for evolution is provided primarily by random, heritable variation.
    NEW:
    Only partly true. The repertoire of relevant random changes greatly expanded to include …..
    More importantly, (quasi) directed (Lamarckian) variation is recognized as a major factor in evolution.

    The first sentence in NEW seems to suppose that OLD was about single nucleotide changes. This misunderstanding of heritable is common in ‘postmodern circles’.
    The second sentence in NEW has not enough foundation in table 9.1 (Lamarckian and quasi-Lamarckian phenomena) to justify the ‘major factor in evolution’ found here.

    Box 13.1: Contrast 5
    OLD:
    Evolution by natural selection tends to produce increasingly complex adaptive features of organisms, hence progress is a general trend in evolution.
    NEW:
    False

    I don’t think ‘progress is a general trend in evolution’ was ever part of evolutionary biology in whatever version.

    The book is a molecular biologist’s book, what might explain the lack of interest in selection. People from the ecological side will be more interested in selection.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      The book is a molecular biologist’s book, what might explain the lack of interest in selection. People from the ecological side will be more interested in selection.

      Maybe, but what you quoted from the book is blatant error.

      I’ll have to take a close look at this; it might not have been a good idea for both PZ and Jerry to recommend this book unread.

      • Posted September 8, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        No, it isn’t a “blatant error”. You might not agree with Koonin’s take (I’m pretty skeptical of it myself), but there is a real debate among evolutionary biologists on these issues, especially among those who work in molecular evolution and genomics. The fact that most evolutionary popularizers seem to be zoologists unfortunately gives an incorrect notion that the Modern Synthesis has no current detractors.

      • Posted September 9, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        The fact that most evolutionary popularizers seem to be zoologists …

        This is mentioned in the book, particularly in regard to the tree of life. What Koonin argues is that most evolutionary innovation happened long ago in microbes, perhaps even before current cell structure was established.

  33. pete
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    BAH! Used our NY office address deleted my UK addresses but still $43

  34. Invigilator
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    If you read Russian, almost everything is free, in several formats (e.g., FB2, Mobi, Epub).

    • Invigilator
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      I was looking into this a bit further, and various Russian book sites also seem to have quite a few books in English — including current ones — available for free download, mostly more popular titles. I just found The God Delusion in pdf, for example.

      Since the legitimacy of such downloads is questionable at best, I won’t include any URLs.

  35. hexag1
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I just got it for free here in Texas.

    Look forward to checking out the book, and I hope that its a serious book. Some of the chapter titles have titles that sound against the modern synthesis. I am not qualified to judge such things, however.

    Perhaps we will have some discussion after we’ve all had a chance to look at the book?

  36. Billy Oldham
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Just got it free. 10:30 Mountain Daylight Time.

    Billy Oldham

  37. Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    There are sites focused on Open Access books, I like this one: http://www.intechweb.org/subject/biological-sciences/

  38. kent
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Well I downloaded it and tried to read some of it. I’m the farthest thing from a biologist but I have read several popularization type books on evolution (Dawkins and a couple others) as well as most of Darwin’s *Origins*. I also have an academic background in philosophy.

    So far, I am finding the book almost totally unreadable. Badly written, repetitive, and yet somehow unclear to a distressing degree. I’d be interested if others have a more positive reaction.

  39. IW
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    It would seem impossible to get this if you’re running Linux. Amazon seems unwilling to download the book unless you have a Kindle or a Kindle app installed, and it offers no Kindle app for Linux systems that I can see!

    • Posted September 7, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      You don’t need Kindle installed to download a Kindle book

      Also you can read a Kindle book on the Linux OS:

      1] Install Chrome browser & then…

      2] Use Kindle Cloud Reader

      …Instant access to your Kindle library. Continue reading even when you lose your internet connection

    • Steve Smith
      Posted September 9, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      It would seem impossible to get this if you’re running Linux.

      Nothings is impossible if you control your own bits. Install wine-devel and winetricks using yum or your favorite package manager. Then:

      bash$ winetricks kindle
      bash$ wine kindle

  40. Posted September 7, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    So far, I am finding the book almost totally unreadable. Badly written, repetitive, and yet somehow unclear to a distressing degree. I’d be interested if others have a more positive reaction.

    My reaction is entirely the opposite in all regards.

    I don’t see anything entirely new, but things I have only seen briefly in internet arguments have been clarified for me.

    I’m not sure how biologists will view it, but as a bystander I’d put it in the same league as Mayr and Dawkins.

  41. InvincibleIronyMan
    Posted September 8, 2011 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    I am getting so sick of this discrimination! I am in the UK so if I go to Amazon.com to get my free book I am told I have to go to Amazon.co.uk, where the book costs £26! Perhaps I should be grateful, after all at least I can get the book at all! Many books that are available on Kindle on the US site aren’t available at all on the UK site. Grrr…

    • Posted September 8, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you should investigate using a proxy server. Google it. I don’t know if that will work in this case, but I have seen numerous references to workarounds at Pharyngula and at Dawkins’ site.

      My assumption is that this is a marketing move designed to get some internet buzz going. The book is heavy lifting compared to most popular books on evolution. Lots of charts, graphs, and a few formulas. By the usual standards of such things, it will not sell to the general public.

  42. Posted September 8, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    In genomics and microbiology, Koonin is very well known. He basically falls into the Ford Doolittle camp, so you know pretty much what he is going to say: Horizontal gene transfer means there is no tree of life, the Modern Synthesis is ossified and needs to be replaced/modified, selection is overrated as an evolutionary mechanism, etc. Whatever it’s worth, if you haven’t heard/read Doolittle or Koonin discuss these topics, it’s worth a read.

    • Posted September 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Horizontal gene transfer means there is no tree of life

      That would only apply to microbes, and applied to them, it is probably true.

      The book covers nearly every theory out there and is well worth reading.

  43. strangertides
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Just to add some comments about the Koonin book from a non-scientist…

    I consider myself a fairly prolific reader, with one of my favorite genres being “popular” science books, in the vein of Dawkins, Pinker, Zimmer, and of course WEIT. So I went ahead and downloaded the book. I’m up to chapter 5, and according to my iPhone Kindle app, I’m 17% through it (there don’t seem to be page numbers).

    So far, I’m finding it interesting, but rather dense. His arguments sound reasonable while I’m wading through them, but then I find myself wondering “so what?” (again, I’m a software guy, not a scientist – so I could be missing the significance of what he’s saying).

    For example, here’s a quote from the synopsis at the end of chapter 4:

    “Certainly, adaptations are common and indispensible for the evolution of all life. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the overall quantifiable characteristics of genome architecture, functioning, and evolution are primarily determined by non- adaptive, stochastic processes. Adaptations only modulate these patterns.”

    Yeah, so there’s random change, and then there’s selection based on the changes, right? I just don’t see (so far) what this very wordy volume is adding to my layman’s understanding of evolution. But I’ll keep reading and maybe have a different conclusion later!

    Chris B


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  1. [...] – Geez. I just alerted Jerry Coyne to a free science book deal on Amazon, and almost forgot to tell my own readers about it. The book is Eugene V. Koonin’s The Logic [...]

  2. [...] Evolution Is True blog’s Jerry Coyne has brought it to many people’s attention, including myself, that there’s a free [...]

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