Biology is the science that studies living organisms.
The point about explanation in biology that I should particularly like to stress is this: to understand organisms one must explain their organization. It is elementary that one must know what is organized and how it is organized, but that does not explain the fact or the nature of the organization itself. Such explanation requires knowledge of how an organism came to be organized and what function the organization serves. Ultimate explanation in biology is therefore evolutionary.
-- George Gaylord Simpson, This View of Life
- The Blind Watchmaker, Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by . A popular and easily read account of the theory of evolution. (By the way, "theory" does not mean "speculative, unproven ideas." A theory is a broad, unifying view of a field provided by means of principles.)
- The Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin. The is the fundamental book in biology, a model of clear thinking and the great work that firmly proved that the diversity and efficacy of living organisms is entirely the result of natural, not supernatural, causes. Futher, the theory of natural selection provides the explanation in terms of which all else in biology becomes understandable.
Advanced and Supplementary
- Your Inner Fish, A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by . Your Inner Fish is a charmily readable, entertaining account of the evolutionary history of the human body, from the fish to the present.
- Darwin's Ghost, The Origin of Species Updated by . Using the original chapter headings and organization of Darwin's work, the author, a respected geneticist, marshalls modern scientific knowledge to recapitulate the theory of evolution. The pathbreaking achievement of Darwin is made clear by the fact that the structure and logic of the theory as formulated today is essentially the same as in Darwin's work of a century and a half ago.
- This View of Life by . A connected series of essays on wider issues, especially philosophical issues, arising from evolutionary biology, including a defense of teleology in biology, written by the great evolutionary biologist who discovered the evolutionary history of the horse. (out-of-print, see sources.)
- River Out of Eden, A Darwinian View of Life by .
- Adaptation and Natural Selection by . A fairly advanced explanation and defense of natural selection, rebutting concepts of "group" or species selection.
- Human Body by . Extensive, vivid and detailed pictures of the major internal element of the human body.
- The Triumph of Evolution, and the Failure of Creationism by . A summary of the scientific evidence for evolutionary biology and a point-by-point dismissal of the claims of "creationism."
- The Biological Basis of Teleological Concepts by Harry Binswanger. A philosophic treatise demonstrating that the root of ideas such as "goal" and "purpose" lies in biology, the study of life.
- On Growth and Form by . An extensive examination of the forms of organisms from the point of view of the mechanisms by which the forms are produced.
- The Evolution of Culture in Animals by . Evolutionary theory applied to animal's group behavior.
- About Darwin – A well organized site of information about Charles Darwin's life, his books (including links to online versions), the Beagle voyage, other important players in and a brief history of evolutionary thinking, etc.
- Biology and Evolutionary Theory – Excellent explanatory articles on a host of important evolutionary topics, including an "introduction to evolutionary biology".
- Darwin Online – The world's largest and most widely used resource on Darwin
- Darwin Resources – Resources about the thinking methods, work, and life of Charles Darwin
- Dennis Kunkel Microscopy – An excellent site filled with fascinating electron microscopy photographs and short explanations.
- Evolution and Population Genetics – Extensive references to on-line resources related to evolution and population genetics, including history, religious opposition and politics.
- Evolution and the Fossil Record – An online booklet from the American Geological Institute about paleontology and evolution.
- Franklin Institute Online – A general science site: the online "exhibitions" of the Franklin Institute.
- Genes and Disease – A very interesting and clear site about diseases whose genetic basis has been revealed by sequencing the human genome
- Hall of Human Ancestors – The Smithsonian's Human Origins Program: Hall of Human Ancestors
- Junk Science – A general science site: much-needed articles debunking contemporary pseudo-science.
- Mendel Museum of Genetics – Museum dedicated to Gregor Mendel and the history and science of genetics.
- On-Line Biology Book – an on-line introductory biology book with well organized information, a clear table of contents, helpful illustrations, and a glossary
- The Tree of Life Web Project – On more than 2000 World Wide Web pages, the Tree of Life provides information about the diversity of organisms on Earth, their history, and characteristics.
- Timeline of Evolutionary Thought – A "timeline of evolutionary thought," with clickable names that lead to detailed information about the scientist's biography and work.