The editors of this volume are all experienced primatologists. Vernon Reynolds studied chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest, Uganda, in 1962, and wrote his first book about that experience. He subsequently returned to found the Budongo Forest Project in 1990. This highly successful project continues today. Recently Prof Reynolds published a definitive volume about the Budongo Forest chimpanzees: The Chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest, published by Oxford University Press in 2005.
James Paterson had a long career as a primatologist at the University of Calgary, and specialized in the study of baboons and other monkeys. Hugh Notman studied the Sonso chimpanzees in 1996, and then again in 1999 and 2000 when he collected data on pant-hoot vocalizations for his doctoral research.
Nicholas Newton-Fisher began studying chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in 1994, his doctoral research on the relationships of adult male chimpanzees - a rather neglected area at that time. He was the first to study the chimpanzees of the Sonso region of the Budongo forest, having first to habituate them to behavioural observation at close quarters, and to being trailed through the forest. His studies of this chimpanzee society has continued to the present day and forms the foundation and framework for research conducted by others on these chimpanzees. He has published numerous articles on the behaviour and ecology of these chimpanzees, and, in collaboration with others including Vernon Reynolds, his research has provided a deep understanding of this unique community. His current interest is in the use of aggression by male chimpanzees to coerce females’ mating behaviour, and the strategies used by females to counter such aggression. He has discovered vigorous retaliation by females against male aggression, including females forming coalitions to respond to males, a behaviour otherwise unreported in wild chimpanzees.
Throughout his distinguished and unconventional career, engineer-turned-molecular-biologist Douglas Axe has been asking the questions that much of the scientific community would rather silence. Now, he presents his conclusions in this brave and pioneering book. Axe argues that the key to understanding our origin is the “design intuition”—the innate belief held by all humans that tasks we would need knowledge to accomplish can only be accomplished by someone who has that knowledge. For the ingenious task of inventing life, this knower can only be God.
Starting with the hallowed halls of academic science, Axe dismantles the widespread belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is indisputably true, showing instead that a gaping hole has been at its center from the beginning. He then explains in plain English the science that proves our design intuition scientifically valid. Lastly, he uses everyday experience to empower ordinary people to defend their design intuition, giving them the confidence and courage to explain why it has to be true and the vision to imagine what biology will become when people stand up for this truth.
Armed with that confidence, readers will affirm what once seemed obvious to all of us—that living creatures, from single-celled cyanobacteria to orca whales and human beings, are brilliantly conceived, utterly beyond the reach of accident.
Our intuition was right all along.
Trivers has written an ambitious investigation into the evolutionary logic of lying and the costs of leaving it unchecked.