A theoretically inventive account of evolution that lacks a detailed, well-researched argument.

Intended Evolution

HOW SELECTION OF INTELLIGENCE GUIDES LIFE FORWARD

A radical reconsideration of evolution that emphasizes human intentionality.

Although evolution is accepted as scientific fact, there’s still considerable debate about the details. Debut authors Bob Zhang and Dongxun Zhang, a doctor of acupuncture, offer a new interpretation that posits a more directly participatory role for organisms as active catalysts, as well as subjects, of evolution. The study begins with a concise primer on evolutionary theory, which tends to focus on “external factors”—a living organism’s environment. However, the authors assert that there are also internal factors—a living being’s intentional activity—that can have just as much impact, if not more. Living organisms collect, organize, and store information on the basis of their interactions with the surrounding ecosystem, the authors say, and their internal systems can essentially remodel themselves with the decisions the organisms make. Zhang and Zhang posit that “the DNA that will be encoded in an organism’s offspring, can change on the basis of the organism’s intentions, although, of course, we do not know the details of how this is done or to what extent.” In effect, the authors are revising Charles Darwin’s views on the basis of implications contained within his own theory, as his important account of life’s natural-selection “struggle” presupposes some element of active agency and design. Part of this book is an exploration of the practical consequences of “intended evolution,” especially with respect to health and fitness. The authors candidly confess, however, that this book is only a general outline of their theory, and it doesn’t provide much in the way of mechanical detail or scientific evidence. This can be frustrating because its central concept of intentionality is left underdetermined, as it includes both single-cell organisms and human beings. Even at the level of human choice, the book lacks a searching analysis of the different modalities of intention. Still, there’s plenty of engaging philosophical provocation, and it presents a new understanding of consciousness, self-awareness, and death. But a general vagueness permeates the whole study, and the authors’ acknowledgement of it doesn’t entirely forgive it.

A theoretically inventive account of evolution that lacks a detailed, well-researched argument. 

Pub Date: April 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63299-018-1

Page Count: 210

Publisher: River Grove Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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