The National Academy of Sciences’s Committee on Revising Science and Creationism released the book ‘Science, Evolution and Creationism’ earlier this month in response to renewed attacks on evolution from some religious conservatives.
The Committee on Revising Science and Creationism was spearheaded by Francisco Ayala, a professor of biological sciences in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine. The book has been designed to give the public a comprehensive and inclusive picture of the present scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom.
According to the committee, the past century has produced numerous observations and experiments that are highly suggestive and are considered by some as definitive proof of the theory of evolution. Perhaps because of the growing amount of new information being discovered on the topic of evolution, the book has continually been updated since its first issuing in 1984 through its present release this year. Although the book gives solid examples and explanations of the science of evolution, there is a sizable section of it that is devoted to explaining the differences between science and religion, and asserting that the acceptance of evolution does not require abandoning a belief in God.
Evolution, in biological terms, is defined as gradual change in the gene pool of a population by such processes as mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. Creationism, according to the biblical account of creation as it appears in the Book of Genesis, is the Christian-based doctrine that all things were created by a higher being, and did not evolve. In addition to creationism, the book argues against the teaching of intelligent design. The book asserts that physical and biological systems observed in the universe result from evolution, rather than intelligent design. Advocates of intelligent design contend that some biological structures are so complex they could not have appeared merely through natural processes.
Still, Ayala holds his beliefs close in defiance of such critics.
‘Intelligent design is not science. There are very complex systems of the human body such as the eye, the blood clotting mechanism and the immune system that have all have been scientifically explained in detail by evolution,’ Ayala said.
In a counterargument to the premise that evolution is merely a theory, Michael Rose, a professor of Darwinian biology at UCI, stated that ‘all of science is both factual and theoretical.’
Ayala clarified that the theory of evolution is as well-known as the Copernican theory, which declared that the sun moves around the Earth. Although proving that evolutionary theories are 100 percent accurate may be impossible, this does not mean that these theories are incorrect.
‘[T]he atomic theory