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Table of Contents Preface vi Acknowledgements ix I. Evolution and the Nature of Science 1 The scientific evidence supporting biological evolution continues to grow at a rapid pace. 1 Biological evolution is the central organizing principle of modern biology. 4 Scientists seek explanations of natural phenomena based on empirical evidence. 9 Acceptance of the evidence for evolution can be compatible with religious faith. 12 II. The Evidence for Biological Evolution 15 Many areas of science have produced support for biological evolution. 15 The origins of the universe, galaxy, and solar system produced the conditions necessary for the evolution of life on Earth. 15 Living things appeared in the first billion years of Earth¿searth¿s history. 18 The fossil record provides extensive evidence documenting the occurrence of evolution. 19 Common structures and behaviors often demonstrate that species have evolved from common ancestors. 20 Evolution accounts for the geographic distribution of many plants and animals. 22 Molecular biology has confirmed and extended the conclusions about evolution drawn from other forms of evidence. 24 Biological evolution explains the origin and history of our species. 28 III. Creationist Perspectives 31 Scientific evidence contradicts some creationist views. 31 ¿Intelligent design¿ creationism is not supported by scientific evidence. 33 The pressure to downplay evolution in public schools compromises science education. 34 IV. Conclusion 36 Appendix 1: Nine Frequently Asked Questions 38 1. Aren¿t evolution and religion opposing ideas? 38 2. Isn¿t belief in evolution also a matter of faith? 38 3. How can random biological changes lead to more adapted organisms? 39 4. Aren¿t there many questions that still surround evolution? 39 5. What evidence is there that the universe is billions of years old? 40 6. What¿s wrong with teaching critical thinking or ¿controversies¿ with regard to evolution? 40 7. What are common ideas regarding creationism? 41 8. Wouldn¿t it be ¿fair¿ to teach creationism along with evolution? 41 9. Does science disprove religion? 42 Additional Readings 43 COMMITTEE MEMBER BIOSKETCHES 51
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