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The author of the book: Randolph M. Nesse
Edition: 天下遠見出版股份有限公司
Date of issue: August 2001
ISBN: 9576219027
ISBN 13: 9789576219023
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1394 times
Reader ratings: 7.9
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 23.73 MB

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The title and physical design of this book gave me the initial impression that this book was fluff. "The New Science" made it sound, frankly, like pseudoscience. The impression of pseudoscience (perhaps I was alone in that first impression) does the book a disservice, however; the book is not pseudoscience fluff. In technical terms, it is some damn good stuff.

Randolph Nesse is a biomedical doctor well-known and respected in the academic community. Williams is an evolutionary Anthropologist and biologist (or rather, he was; he died a few years ago). Anyway, that's beside the point; the point is, these two authors know their stuff and the book benefits from their holistic research backgrounds.

"Why We Get Sick" is an interesting title, since the question plagues each chapter. Evolutionary medicine concerns the "why" questions of medicine and health, as opposed to the "what" or "how" questions focused on in regular medical practice. Evolutionary medicine tries to put health in an evolutionary context, and humans in relation to their evolutionary past; all wonderfully worthy goals. Yet, the problem with this approach is that there is simply too much we don't know; evolutionary medicinal research constantly tries to bring theorizing into the realm of testability, and often fails.

Hence, the greatest strength of this book is actually its greatest weakness. Nesse & Williams know their shit, yet because of that, they are hesitant to actually provide firm claims to knowledge. This is a good thing! But, it also brings the title of the book into question. Why do we get sick? answer: we're still working on that, but in the meantime there has been a lot of cool and interesting research that provides clues. If you go into this book expecting hard answers, you will be disappointed; however, if you go into the book expecting interesting questions and thought-provoking clues about how medicine relates to the humans as evolutionary animals, then you will be very pleased.

This book makes a wonderful introduction into the world of evolutionary medicine, and would be a great companion book to something like Evolutionary Medicine, A Planet of Viruses, or Parasite Rex (with a New Epilogue): Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures. We like to study history because the past can give us clues about the future; bio-medicine is no different, and looking into the human evolutionary past can provide wonderful clues about the human future.

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