Evolution is just a theory, isn't it? What is a scientific theory anyway? Don't scientists prove things? What is the difference between a fact, a hypothesis and a theory in science? How does scientific thinking differ from religious thinking? Why are most leading scientists atheists? Are science and religion compatible? Why are there so many different religious beliefs but only one science? What is the evidence for evolution? Why does evolution occur? If you are interested in any of these questions and have some knowledge of biology, this book is for you.
1 Introduction The Importance of Science Origins of this Book Aims of this Book The Theory of Evolution Features of the Second Edition Part I The Nature of Science 2 Two Ways of Explaining the Universe Supernaturalism and Naturalism The Incompatibility of Religion and Science Further Reading List 3 How Science Works General Principles Nullius in verba Occam`s razor Religious Belief among Leading Scientists Naturalistic Origins of Religious Beliefs Patternicity and Agenticity Uncertainty Science and Religion Compared Naturalistic Origins of Moral Values Further Reading List Part II The Science of Nature 4 Darwin`s Theory of Evolution Biodiversity Adaptation Possible Explanations for Biodiversity and Adaptation The Early Life of Charles Darwin Evolution by Natural Selection Direct Observations of Natural Selection Historical Context of the Idea of Natural Selection Common Misconceptions about Natural Selection Genetic Drift Further Reading List 5 The Evidence for Evolution Seven Main Lines of Evidence Similarities at the Molecular Level Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes Similarities at the Anatomical Level Direct Observation Transitional Fossils Logical Inference Hierarchical Classification Vestigial Structures 6 Some Major Events in Evolution Time-Line of Evolution Mass Extinction Events Determining the Age of Rocks The Earliest Forms of Life The Rise in Atmospheric Oxygen The Origin of Eukaryotic Cells 7 The Evolution of Eyes Darwin`s Difficulties Light-Detecting Structures Eyes in Unicellular Eukaryotes Plausible Evolutionary Possibilities 8 Human Evolution Time-Line of Human Evolution Sahelanthropus Orrorin Ardipithecus Australopithecus Paranthropus The genus Homo Further Reading List Pale Blue Dot Definitions Suggestions for Discussion Topics <