Preface [chapter]

2020 Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)  
The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism. -Sir William Osler (father of modern medicine) This book is being published on the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. It is an impassioned argument in favor of science-primarily the theory of evolution-and against creationism. Why impassioned? Should not scientists be dispassionate in their work? Perhaps, but it is impossible to
more » ... impossible to remain neutral when, after one hundred fifty years of stunning success, one of our most successful scientific theories is under attack, for religious and other reasons, by laypeople and even some scientists who willfully distort scientific findings and use them for their own purposes. Most educational books on evolution are written for parents or teachers and are, at best, only tangentially aimed at students.This short book, by contrast, is written primarily for college students, but it will also be useful to their parents and teachers. Nothing will make the eyes glaze over more quickly than technical jargon, and we carefully avoid such jargon wherever possible. In the same way, we stick to broad principles, hoping to make evolution clear without bogging the reader down in too much detail. Additionally, this book addresses what other books leave out: how science works and how pseudoscience works. We demonstrate the futility of "scientific" creationism and other arguments designed to show that evolution could not have produced life in its present form. The direct descendant of scientific creationism is intelligent-design creationism, and we devote more than one chapter to debunking that misconception. We next turn to how evolution actually works. Before the theory of evolution, natural scientists thought that they saw design in nature. We show why evolution predicts the appearance of design in nature, though not the reality of design, or at least not purposeful design. In the same vein, we discuss the problem, for creationists, of poor design and why we find it, too, in nature.Then we take up cosmological arguments offered by creationists to explain our existence and find them wanting as well.We conclude with a frank discussion of science and religion, specifically arguing that science by no means excludes religion, xv xvi Preface
doi:10.36019/9780813548647-004 fatcat:oxcjijtrtndzdbhuqxksrs3j3m