Evolution: “Overwhelming and Compelling”

Jan 3, 2008 3:55pm

The National Academy of Sciences has released a book called "Science, Evolution and Creationism" — a strongly-worded answer to the Creationist movement and the doubts about Darwin that many people express in polls and elsewhere.  "Evolution is both a fact and a process that accounts for the diversity of life on Earth," it says.  "Scientists treat the occurrence of evolution as one of the most securely established of scientific facts," says an opening letter.  Later: "The scientific evidence supporting biological evolution continues to grow at a rapid pace." It describes in detail the discovery of Tiktaalik, the four-legged fish fossil from the Canadian Arctic that appears to be the missing link between primitive fish and animals that walked up onto land.  And it argues that without an understanding of evolution, such threats as the SARS virus would be impossible to fight.  As for the Intelligent Design movement, which lost a court battle in Pennsylvania and is now part of a debate in Florida over the use of the world "evolution" in school standards, the report says "the pressure to downplay evolution or emphasize nonscientific alternatives in public schools compromises science education." The academy says the booklet — actually an update of versions published in 1984 and 1999 — is aimed at policy makers, school boards, science teachers "and others in the community who are committed to providing students with quality science education."  It’s also intended for "students as well as adults who wish to become more familiar with the many strands of evidence supporting evolution…." The report is careful not to discredit religion; it describes science and faith as different ways of arriving at truth.  Its closing line: "Many scientists have written eloquently about how their scientific studies have increased their awe and understanding of a creator….  The study of science need not lessen or compromise faith." The Academy is offering the book as a PDF for free; click HERE for the full 86-page file.  It is also offering the book for sale, and PDFs of shorter sections; you can find them HERE. There will doubtless be replies.  This is only one salvo in a debate that dates back to Darwin.
(Photograph: The Tiktaalik fossil, as published in the journal Nature in 2006.)

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus