After a rather long discussion, I finally got fed up and proposed a challenge: Give me one book that provides the overwhelming evidence for evolution and I'll read it.
And the first one recommended was this title. So I've started. And I'll be taking notes and sharing my thoughts and observations as we go along.
Right now, I'm reading the Foreword by Niles Eldredge. He states:
It seems common-sensical to [those who have absorbed evolution] to see us as the product of natural evolutionary processes--and ... new facts ... such as the astonishing 98.4 percent genetic similarity between humans and chimps ... fit right in. [pg. x]
Science ... cannot deal with the supernatural. Its rules of evidence require any statement about the nature of the world to be testable... [pg. xi]
Which sounds, to me, like a great reason to limit how much "faith" [snicker] we put in science. As philosophers I've heard so often remind us: Science cannot account for scientifically why the scientific method is the best (only?) way to understand reality; those who believe that it is, do so on philosophical grounds.
Also, based on this introduction I hope to see evidence in this book for:
[Evolutionary theory's prediction 1:] more closely related organisms will share more similarities with each other than with more remotely related kin; ...there should be a single nested set of similarities linking up all of life. [Scientists are confident life evolved because we see this "nesting" take place: Rodents are similar to each other, but they also share things like cells and RNA, just as is to be expected if all life came from one common ancestor.] [pg. xi]
That's nice. Closely related things--defined by how close we deem them to be related--are more closely related than those we deem to be a more distant relative. "Capital, simply capital!"
[Prediction 2: paraphrased] Life should, through time, go from less complex to more. And we see this. [xi]
I am very interested to see what data they have on the varying levels of complexity going up the sequence, and if any of it points to good reasons to doubt creationism.
Now for an aside he tosses into the mix: [paraphrased] Biology's splits do not match man-made design advances, which along with other stuff, shows Intelligent Design to be false. [xii]
...I do hope there's more to this line of thought because that's a little too easy to topple. If, for instance, God made the world, I wouldn't have any problems believing he'd go about it differently from how we improve our computers. And, as usual, I actually like to know the "other stuff" that shows ideas to be false. I know, I'm through like that.
Creationists persistently and consistently threaten the integrity of science teaching in America--and this, of course, is of grave concern. [Paraphrased:] Their beliefs are narrow, religious and political, and that is why scientific and intellectual truth is of little concern to them. [pg xii]
Well, I'm interested in the scientific and intellectual truths scientists have come up with... that's why I'm reading this book. Therefore, I must not be a creationist, and there is no need for "grave concern" regarding my existence.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father