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Meditation 773
"Why Evolution Is True."

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Jerry Coyne, a professor at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution who specializes in evolutionary genetics and works predominantly on the origin of new species has released a new book "Why Evolution Is True."

He was recently interviewed by Free Inquiry; the full interview is available online, and an extract was published in the current issue of the magazine.[1] Below is one question and answer from that interview which concisely summarizes why the evidence for evolution pervades almost every area of biology.

Free Inquiry: You say that there is so much and so many kinds of evidence for evolution that one would either need to be willfully ignorant or blinded by faith not to believe in it. So what kind of evidence is there? Does it all amount to just the fossil record, what we dig up?

Jerry Coyne: That's certainly where you most easily see evolution occurring over time-you can line up all the fossils, hominid skulls for instance from 7 million years ago to the present, and actually see the changes for yourself. But there is far more evidence than just the fossil record: molecular biology, for example, in the presence of inactive, dead genes in the genomes of species that were functional in their ancestors; embryology, the appearance in transitory form of structures that don't make any sense unless evolution had occurred; the existence of vestigial organs, like the nonfunctional wings of flightless birds; the distribution of species on the surface of the planet, called "bio-geography," only explained by evolution; and bad design, like a man's prostate gland squeezing his urethra, which would not be there if there were a beneficent or wise designer that created organisms. The evidence for evolution pervades almost every area of biology.


  1. Why Evolution Is True: A conversation with Jerry A. Coyne, Free Inquiry June/July 2009 p. 13