The world, how it works, surroundings, myself, etc.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Greatest Show on Earth: Evolution

All of us have religious friends, who might otherwise be fairly smart and logical but assume a veil of irrationality when it comes to anything that challenges their "faith". All logic and science is kosher as long as they don't contradict their beliefs. Out of respect you tread not to offend them but at the same time you wish you had solid arguments or anecdotes that could help them discover their irrationality if only one step at a time.

Richard Dawkins's "The Greatest Show on Earth" is just that. Through a series of examples, historical as well as contemporary, worded in layman's vocabulary, he conveys the scientifically observed tenets of evolution. Evolution is not a theory. It's a fact. It's a fact beyond reasonable doubt. It's a fact beyond all doubt. It's a fact. Period. It can be proven with scientific rigor, it can be repeated, and to date there hasn't been a single observation or finding to the contrary.

When you think of evolution you might think of centuries of chiseling of the genetic code through natural selection. The picture of fish to amphibious mammals to apes to humans is all too familiar. But did you know that there are examples of evolution that you can observe in daily life, today? Evolution through natural selection is the reason why every time you have a bacterial infection the doctor requires you to complete your antibiotic dosage -- you're not supposed to terminate it premature even if you feel fine, or else you'd have selected in favor of resistant bacterial mutations before you get rid of the entire population.

I've just finished Chapter 5 and I've already seen several such examples from daily life, as well as examples from radioactive timing of fossils from millions of years of evolutionary life. The grandeur is so beautiful and makes so much sense through an understanding of evolution that you begin to pity the desperate arguments by creationists who believe that all life originated merely some thousands of years ago through the whims of a sad God. The book is absolutely delightful so far.
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