Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Add this to your reading list

This week's Nature includes a review of God - Or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age. It's a book about how images and diagrams were used to communicate evolutionary ideas to the general public in the run-up to the Scopes "monkey" trial. Sounds very interesting. Pictures are powerful but dumb: one's reaction to them is very sensitive to one's prior experience, knowledge, values, and expectations, so it's tough to use pictures to convey exactly what you want to convey. The review is very positive--apparently it's a good read as well as a thought-provoking one.

As the reviewer points out, a comparative analysis of religious and evolutionary imagery would probably be fascinating. Someone should go do it!

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