Darwin's Gift:: To Science and Religion

by Francisco J. Ayala



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Darwin's Gift:: To Science and Religion by Francisco J. Ayala

With the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature's diversity. This was to be his gift to science and society; at last, we had an explanation for how life came to be on Earth. Scientists agree that the evolutionary origin of animals and plants is a scientific conclusion beyond reasonable doubt. They place it beside such established concepts as the roundness of the earth, its revolution around the sun, and the molecular composition of matter. That evolution has occurred, in other words, is a fact.

Yet as we approach the bicentennial celebration of Darwin's birth, the world finds itself divided over the truth of evolutionary theory. Consistently endorsed as "good science" by experts and overwhelmingly accepted as fact by the scientific community, it is not always accepted by the public, and our schools continue to be battlegrounds for this conflict. From the Tennessee trial of a biology teacher who dared to teach Darwin's theory to his students in 1925 to Tammy Kitzmiller's 2005 battle to keep intelligent design out of the Dover district schools in Pennsylvania, it's clear that we need to cut through the propaganda to quell the cacophony of raging debate.

With the publication of Darwin's Gift, a voice at once fresh and familiar brings a rational, measured perspective to the science of evolution. An acclaimed evolutionary biologist with a background in theology, Francisco Ayala offers clear explanations of the science, reviews the history that led us to ratify Darwin's theories, and ultimately provides a clear path for a confused and conflicted public.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309102315
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 04/23/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Introduction     1
Intelligent Design: The Original Version     15
Darwin's Revolution: Design Without Designer     27
Natural Selection     49
Arguing for Evolution     79
Human Evolution     95
Molecular Biology     117
Follies and Fatal Flaws     137
Beyond Biology     161
Postscript for the Cognoscenti     181
Notes     203
Acknowledgments     225
Index     227

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