But in this sesquicentennial anniversary of Among Dawkins's strengths are his command of evolutionary science and his vivid metaphors, his wicked wit, and his ability to present the reader with a thoroughly enjoyable stage performance rather than a classroom lecture. After the opening chapter in which he explains that evolution is both a scientific theory and a fact—both words are suitably defined and analyzed—Dawkins launches into the subject the way Darwin did: with artificial selection, then natural selection.
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Although many religious groups have found reconciliation of their beliefs with evolution, such as through theistic evolution, other religious groups continue to reject evolutionary explanations in favor of creationism, the belief that the universe and life were created by supernatural forces. S.-centered creation–evolution controversy has become a focal point of perceived conflict between religion and science.
Several branches of creationism, including creation science, neo-creationism, and intelligent design, argue that the idea of life being directly designed by a god or intelligence is at least as scientific as evolutionary theory, and should therefore be taught in public education.
“The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree.
I believe this simile largely speaks the truth…” The tree-of-life concept was absolutely central to Darwin’s thinking, equal in importance to natural selection, according to biologist W.
The observation of evolutionary processes occurring (as well as the modern evolutionary synthesis explaining that evidence) has been uncontroversial among mainstream biologists since the 1940s.
Since then, most criticisms and denials of evolution have come from religious groups, rather than from the scientific community.
In chapters 3 and 4, he moves into macro-evolution (the real area of conflict), describing the bases of radioactive dating and the temporal orderliness of the fossil record.
Chapter 5, on rapid contemporary evolution (microevolution), is excellent, though it seems somewhat out of place amongst the macroevolutionary chapters.
At first it's very scary – but in the past couple of years people have begun to free their minds." Both he and co-researcher Dr Ford Doolittle stressed that downgrading the tree of life doesn't mean the theory of evolution is wrong just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe.