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Can a scientist believe in God? Does the ongoing debate between some evolutionists and evangelicals show that the two sides are irreconcilable? As a paleontologist and a religious believer, Robert Asher constantly confronts the perceived conflict between his occupation and his faith. In the course of his scientific work, he has found that no other theory comes close to Darwin's as an explanation for our world's incredible biodiversity. Recounting discoveries in molecular biology, paleontology and development, Asher reveals the remarkable evidence in favor of Darwinian evolution. In outlining the scope of Darwin's idea, Asher shows how evolution describes the cause of biodiversity, rather than the agency behind it. He draws a line between superstition and religion, recognizing that atheism is not the inevitable conclusion of evolutionary theory. By liberating evolution from its misappropriated religious implications, Asher promotes a balanced awareness that contributes to our understanding of biology and Earth history.
Since the 1980s, a renewed understanding of molecular development has afforded an unprecedented level of knowledge of the mechanisms by which phenotype in animals and plants has evolved. In this volume, top scientists in these fields provide perspectives on how molecular data in biology help to elucidate key questions in estimating paleontological divergence and in understanding the mechanisms behind phenotypic evolution. Paleobiological questions such as genome size, digit homologies, genetic control cascades behind phenotype, estimates of vertebrate divergence dates, and rates of morphological evolution are addressed, with a special emphasis on how molecular biology can inform paleontology, directly and indirectly, to better understand life's past. Highlighting a significant shift towards interdisciplinary collaboration, this is a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in the integration of organismal and molecular biology.