Posts Tagged ‘Evolution-The Extended Synthesis’

Bill Nye, the “Science Guy” Irony

While on tour this summer to tout Obama’s educational policies in New Hampshire, Hollywood science commentator Bill Nye poured more fuel on the firestorm of anti-creation sentiment noting that “Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.”

Nye was responding to questions on his views produced in the video entitled “Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children” posted on August 23. Continue Reading

Anti-Science Irony

Anti-Science, evolution and climate change are now at the center of the 2012 Presidential campaign. The answers to the head-turning question, “Do you believe in evolution?” gets top media attention even though few politicians have biology training beyond Biology 101. Of course, “does life have meaning and purpose?” is the real core of the question.

The use of the term Anti-Science today has evolved to mean anti-evolution and anti-climate change. How candidates manage the “evolution” question will likely leverage an effect on the final vote next year.” Question like “Do you believe in evolution” are now one of the most dreaded types of questions on the political campaign trail. But, what is Anti-Science? As we will see, the history of the Anti-Science is an amazing saga of irony.

At the core of the Anti-Science debate is the definition of Science. The Oxford English Dictionary says that science is “a method of procedures that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” Continue Reading

Essential Elements of Darwin’s Theory

In the same way Isaac Newton discovered the physical laws of motion and gravity, Charles Darwin attempted to discover the natural laws of evolution in The Origin of Species. Natural selection became Darwin’s proposed natural law, as expressed in the title−The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

Today, Darwin’s theory of evolution is promoted as a “fact” that accepted by “all scientists”. Evolution as a “fact”, not theory, is center stage in the realm of politics. The media hammered presidential candidate Rick Perry for stating that evolution is “just a theory”. Ironically, though, the facts of evolution continue to elude even the vast majority of the most educated in Western society.

In an article published in BioEssays (2011) entitled “Why is it so difficult to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution? Jacques Dubochet, professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, was amazed to discover that less than 20% of attendees to a celebration of Darwin’s 200th birthday could “[w]rite down in a few words, the essential elements of Darwin’s theory of evolution”. Continue Reading

The Platypus Terrorizes Evolution

The puzzling platypus was discovered long before Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species. This duck-billed oddity is like a mammal, a bird, and a reptile all in one species.

When the platypus, nicknamed the “watermole,” was first discovered in 1797 by early European settlers near the Hawkesbury River, outside Sydney, it triggered a lasting controversy. The perplexed local governor, Captain John Hunter, sent specimens back to Mother England for study.

The “watermole” was equally mystifying in England. Zoologists George Shaw suggested it was a “freak imposture” sold to gullible seamen by Chinese taxidermists. Suspecting fraud, they tried to pry the “duck’s bill” off of the pelt, leaving marks on the bill that are still visible today at the British Museum in London.
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Critique, a Darwinian Legacy

At the time of the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, the topic of evolution was “in the air”, according to Charles Darwin, all 1,250 printed copies of the book were sold on the first day. The Origin of Species delivered a state of evolution critique on other popular theories.

In the nineteenth century, critiques on theories of evolution raged all the way into the chambers of the British Parliament. To resolve the debate the Parliament commissioned of the HMS Challenger, the largest international expedition ever convened, with the task of finding Darwin’s theoretical “innumerable” transitional links.

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Battle of the Architects

 

The essence of Charles Darwin’s theory, natural selection, is reflected in the title of his book—The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Natural selection, Darwin argued, is the architect of evolution, “As square stone, or bricks, or timber, are the indispensable materials for a building, and influence its character, so is variability not only indispensible but influential. Yet in the same manner as the architect is all important person in a building, so is [natural] selection with organic bodies.”

Charles Lyell and Asa Gray, Darwin’s closest confidants, solidly disagreed. Lyell argued that natural selection can only preserve or eliminate; natural selection cannot create: “The destroy[ing] force is selection, the sustaining [force] preserves things … but in order that life shd. Exist where there was none before… this is not [natural] selection, but creation.”

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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.

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