Evolution: A Scientific American Reader
From the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of 1925 to the court ruling against the Dover Area School Board’s proposed intelligent design curriculum in 2005, few scientific topics have engendered as much controversy—or grabbed as many headlines—as evolution. And since the debate shows no signs of abating, there is perhaps no better time to step back and ask: What is evolution? Defined as the gradual process by which something changes into a different and usually more complex and efficient form, evolution explains the formation of the universe, the nature of viruses, and the emergence of humans. A first-rate summary of the actual science of evolution, this Scientific American reader is a timely collection that gives readers an opportunity to consider evolution’s impact in various settings.
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At that time, Vesto M. Slipher of Lowell Observatory was collecting the first evidence that galaxies are actually moving apart. Then, in 1929, the eminent astronomer Edwin P. Hubble showed that the rate a galaxy is moving away from us ...
The evidence comes from observations of an effect known as gravitational lensing. An object as massive and compact as a galaxy can act as a crude lens, producing a distorted, magnified image (or even many images) of any background ...
Distant clusters contain bluish galaxies that show evidence of ongoing star formation. Similar clusters that are nearby contain reddish galaxies in which active star formation ceased long ago. Observations made with the Hubble Space ...
The cosmic background radiation provides direct evidence that the universe did expand from a dense, hot state, for this is the condition needed to produce the radiation. In the dense, hot early universe thermonuclear reactions produced ...
The big bang theory is supported by a wealth of evidence: it explains the cosmic background radiation, the abundances of light elements and the Hubble expansion. Thus, any new cosmology surely will include the big bang picture.
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