Posts Tagged ‘evolution’
It is a new piece to a giant jigsaw puzzle of the course of human evolution from the earliest protozoan through the mini-mammals surviving the K-T boundary, up to the Cro-Magnons who are reading and typing on the internet . It’s quite likely that the pieces we have put together so far are in the wrong places in the picture that the puzzle represents, and that is why paleoanthropologists do what they do.
I remember reading Finding Darwin’s God awhile back. The first half of the book was an excellent defense of evolution and critique of creationism. The second half of the book was a poor defense of god belief. I remember thinking that if Miller had only applied the logic from the first half of his book to the second half, he would be an atheist.
If we step outside of our chauvinistic inclination to look at evolution as a process with humans as the teleological result of its process, the unfolding story of life’s continual divergence makes even more sense. As Klink illustrates, we are but a small twig on a minor branch of the Tree of Life and not necessarily its crown.
Science and environmental edition: Bizarre caterpillars, space photography on the cheap, the evolution of human color vision, art and light from junk, the consolidation and corporatization of the organic food industry, oil still available at abandoned sites in the Amazon, Indian islands disappearing under rising water, Honda offers a new–and affordable–hybrid, greenwashing, photographing the melt, unique orcas doomed by the Exxon Valdez, an unusually large gathering of right whales, sweeping land and water conservation legislation passes, cleaning products creating superbugs, and studying the ties between particulate air pollution and heart disease.
For me, the value of inserting religion into science is that we can see we are inserting an extraneous variable into our statistics and our mathematical equations. The formula most beloved by people who are interested in science is the famous “e = mc².” It is useful in understanding the relationship between energy, mass and the conversion thereof. It has been tested and verified through the observation of matter and light in the labs and in astronomy’s galactic lenses.
On Tangled Up in Blue Guy, I often post a “Friday 419” piece. Today I will talk about a different kind of scam. Magazines and newspapers are selling you copies of their publications with the shocking revelation that Darwin’s work was not completely accurate, based on new knowledge gained since his time.
Cells also contain mitochondria, and this is one of the puzzles of early evolution. Mitochondria are symbiotic, originally a form of self-sufficient bacteria which when integrated with eukarytic cells gain and provide benefit to the host cell. Mitochondria have their own set of DNA, and this DNA provides the basis for all of its key structures which produce not only their structure, but the unique tools that the mitochondria use to convert sugar into the energy it shares with its host.
One look at the November 20th, 2008 cover of “Nature” will remind you that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. To celebrate, The Bell Museum of Natural History has planned a big, fun, evolutionary birthday party with cake, drinks and presentations by University of Minnesota faculty.
Anyway, my purpose here and now is to make a few recommendations to you as to what you should read from the Charles Darwin canon. This is not from the perspective of True Darwin Scholarship. Technically, I’m not a Darwin scholar, so I would not know how to recommend the more erudite approach to this literature, and if you are a Darwin scholar, then you certainly don’t need my advice. I’m not suggesting this from the perspective of an educator in the life sciences, either. Rather, I’m suggesting specific readings (in a specific order) because I believe that this approach will captivate you and provide the most meaningful sampling of Darwin’s work with the least effort on your part.
It does seem absurd to think that nature can do what man was unable to do until the invention of the camera: to interpret changes in light in ways that provide meaningful data to the beholder. The above passage from Darwin has been used in quotemines to cry triumphant defeat of evolution, admitted to by the scientist most closely associated with natural processes of biological evolution. Darwin admitted no such thing, and it is important to understand his method of presentation.