Today the National Academy of Sciences released a tidy little monograph, Science, Religion and Creationism, that elegantly rebuts creationism and its latest intellectual excrescence, intelligent design. In particular, Chapter 2 of the monograph is a great introduction to the massive amounts of scientific evidence for biological evolution. The monograph also argues that there is no necessary conflict between science and religion. To wit:
Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that conflict with an explanation eventually must lead to modification or even abandonment of that explanation. Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist.
This formulation seems to mirror biologist Stephen Jay Gould's old "two non-overlapping magisteria" argument, i.e., religion and science don't conflict because their proper subject matters never come into direct conflict. Another way this has been put is: "Science tells us how the heavens go while religion tells us how to go to heaven." As I've written before, I have strong doubts that the two non-overlapping magisteria argument actually works.
In any case, I highly recommend directing any of your friends, family members and associates who want to learn more about biological evolution to Science, Religion and Creationism (which you can download free at the NAS website).