Universe: The Perimeter of IgnoranceThe entire November issue of Natural History Magazine is devoted to an exploration of evolution and of Charles Darwin, including a rousing defense of evolution against the intelligent design movement by none other than Richard Dawkins, perhaps the preeminent evolutionary scientist in history (other than Darwin and Wallace, of course).
A boundary where scientists face a choice:
invoke a deity or continue the quest for knowledge
By Neil deGrasse Tyson
...Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today, we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes "acts of God" are the people who write insurance forms.
Evolution In Action (one of my favorite phrases, by the way) explores how, right now, right in front of our eyes and in our lifetimes, we've watched species evolve and adapt to new or changing environments.
Included in this article is a brief description of how bacteria and viruses can quickly become resistant to antibiotics. Which got me to thinking: if you really want to cinch the evolution argument, ask your ID friend why it is that doctors have to keep coming up with new drugs to battle the same old diseases? Could it be that God intervenes and makes a bug more destructive? Or is it MORE likely that the bug adapts to the medicine and evolves a way to ignore it?
And then ask him or her that same question in six months when the avian flu has decimated entire countries and cities.
This magazine ought to be required reading for any progressive who gives a damn about science and the future, and keeping the church and the state separate.