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December 1, 2011 7:47 AM   Subscribe

What are some article length studies readily available on the internets that summarize the evidence for evolution?

My father-in-law and I have been having a good natured discussion about evolution vs creation for some time. He has recently kind of upped the ante by sending me a William Dembski article to read on creationism and I am looking for something similar to send to him (peer reviewed if possible). He won't read a full book or else I would be set as I have a good collection of stuff (a lot of which I found out about through the various Ask posts).

As I said, this is a good natured exchange we are having, I am not looking for something that is insulting to a creationist (personally - it may be insulting to their ideas) or anything like that, just something that kind of lays it out for the layman. I realize that a lot of evolution science is technical by nature when you get down to evidence, but (despite him citing Dembski) I don't think he will read anything that is full of numbers.
posted by holdkris99 to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
The TalkOrigins Archive is full of good stuff.
posted by edd at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know you asked for an article, but this free book is shorter than a lot of articles, and I think it's exactly what you are looking for:

"In the book Science, Evolution, and Creationism, a group of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine explain the fundamental methods of science, document the overwhelming evidence in support of biological evolution, and evaluate the alternative perspectives offered by advocates of various kinds of creationism, including 'intelligent design.' The book explores the many fascinating inquiries being pursued that put the science of evolution to work in preventing and treating human disease, developing new agricultural products, and fostering industrial innovations. ... Science, Evolution, and Creationism shows that science and religion should be viewed as different ways of understanding the world rather than as frameworks that are in conflict with each other and that the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:07 AM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Scientific America: 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
posted by glibhamdreck at 8:36 AM on December 1, 2011


Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything has the most wonderful chapter on evolution. It comes up later in the book after equally entertaining, well-written chapters on physics, anthropology, astronomy, etc.
posted by Elsie at 9:16 AM on December 1, 2011


You could listen to this presentation by Kenneth Miller with your dad. He highlights many of the interesting evidence for evolution, including some compelling chromosome evidence. Kenneth Miller is a Brown University professor and author of "Finding Darwin's God", which is a good read if you are interested.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:15 AM on December 1, 2011


It might make a difference to know what exactly he believes. For example, I believe that evolution occurs naturally, but I don't believe that humans evolved from apes. In other words, I don't believe that one species turns into another.

An article proving that evolution occurs would be worthless to me because I already agree with that idea.
posted by tacodave at 3:00 PM on December 1, 2011


tacodave: He is basically a young earth creationist
posted by holdkris99 at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2011


In that case, you're out of luck. This isn't an issue of science, I would guess. It is an issue of faith. He believes what the Bible says (although the Bible doesn't say how old the earth is, but that's another matter) and therefore a human-angle view on the issue is invalid. The Bible says that "a foolish man thinks he is wise," thus knowledge gained through human intellect - including conclusions reached through scientific study - is foolishness in the eyes of God. (I would guess he isn't anti-science; he still uses a computer, a cell phone, a microwave, etc.; but he is probably against unprovable science, even if it is supported by *some* credible evidence.)

This makes it near-impossible to argue against. Neither of you can "prove" your side, and his faith in the infallibility of God is probably stronger than your faith in science (human wisdom).

To put it another way: if he believes that the earth was created in seven days, that doesn't leave much time for evolution to occur. Given that belief, your statement that the earth is billions of years old is automatically invalid. It can't be that old because God said it only took seven days. You can't argue against that kind of faith.
posted by tacodave at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


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