I haven’t written about evolution in a while, probably because no one has said anything new on the subject for a while. Now I’m reading The Selfless Gene, by Charles Foster, which is currently (first three chapters) saying exactly what I think.

That so rarely happens with books, you know. I read something and think, “Well, they aren’t considering thus and so” and then the next book on the subject comes out and they still aren’t considering thus and so. In this case, Foster is bringing up all the points that bother me when I read recent books on evolution. Like, what about things with no or little apparent adaptive value, like art? And do people who think that Genesis must be taken literally think God isn’t smart enough to write figuratively? And has anyone noticed that memes have no actual physical existence and therefore probably don’t belong in biology? Stuff like that.

Naturally, the suspense is considerable. I mean, he’s bringing up these points, but he hasn’t answered them yet. I hope he has answers.

This is also a witty, well-written, well-argued book. Foster gives basic explanations for things like natural selection, but he mostly gives new information and responses to people like Gould and Dawkins. I think he’s assuming that all his readers have already read that stuff. On the other hand, he has copious end notes, so probably everyone can read and enjoy this book.

I’d love to know what other people think of it.