Friday, March 26, 2010

why evolution is true

The back of the book says "Coyne does not aim to prove creationism wrong. Rather, by using irrefutable evidence, he sets out to prove evolution right." After reading the book, can you agree agree with that statement, or do you think that Coyne also used this book to point out holes in the creationist arguement? Remember to use examples from the book to support your opinion! Also, it's been over a year since this book has first been published (it was first published January 22, 2009). Has there been any scientific findings since then that if included in the book, would of helped Coyne's argument that evolution is true?

1 comment:

  1. I believe that the focus of the book is to prove that evolution is true, although to do this Coyne does poke holes in creationist theory as well. He does not merely address the arguments leveled against evolution, as he does with David Gish's whale-mammal transitory stage argument mentioned on page 47 or the perceived unreliability of using radioactive decay to measure sediment age on page 24; rather, he builds up the undeniable nature of the theory of evolution through the use of many examples and support, and to do this, he reveals the weaknesses in the arguments of creationists and believers in intelligent design. The book appears to based on a certain structure in which he first introduces and explains a specific pattern that appears in nature, uses it to show a hole in creationist theory, and then, after showing how it cannot be sufficiently explained by other theories, delineates how eloquently evolution meshes with these occurances. Some examples that appear in the book following this pattern are dead genes and the appearance of different species in geographically separated yet environmentally similar areas. With the former, Coyne defines what dead genes are, questions why a designer would place the genes of the traits of other species, and how it irrefutably supports evolution. Similarly, he introduces the comparison of succulents in American and Old World deserts, asks why a creator would place organisms that are fundamentally different in ecologically similar areas, and later describes the phenomenon of convergent evolution. However, by no means is this pattern the only thing that makes of the book; in only serves as a part of his argument, while a large portion of the text is dedicated to fully explaining evolutionary theory, such as the explanation of traits that enhance reproductive chances and our own evolution from ape-like ancestors.
    Several discoveries since the publishing of Coyne's book could also work in tandem with his argument to strengthen the viability of evolutionary theory. One of these is the discovery of the fossilized remains of the elephant's oldest known relative: Eritherium azzouzorum. The remains are far smaller than today's elephants (4-5 kg) and have more primitive features, but distinctive features common among proboscidean. As explained by Science Daily, "Eritherium is a new major find, and one of the oldest known calibration point of the phylogeny of the placental orders. It is especially important for the fine tuning of the placental molecular trees." Thus, the discovery of this organisms fills another of the important 'fossil gaps' often cited by creationists that are integral in tracing the radiation of branches of the evolutionary tree.