Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dawrinism and Intelligent Design

I have been an avid supporter of Darwin’s theory of Evolution since day one of Scientific Revolutions. I openly expressed and defended my opinions of this subject in class discussions. This pattern also rang true when the topic of Darwin’s competition, the idea of Intelligent Design surfaced in class discussions. I opposed the theory from the start, stubbornly ruling out the validity of the theory’s ideas. In a passing conversation with a fellow student on our way out after the class, I realized I had little to no knowledge on the idea I was so brashly denying as logical thought. While browsing through some popular videos in the defense of Intelligent Design, I came across a trailer for a documentary on the subject. The film, "Expelled: No Room for Intelligence" stars Ben Stein and stresses some key points about how things are far more complex than we could ever imagine. The documentary mentions that recent advancements in technology have enabled us to now observe things so microscopic they were previously beyond the scope of any technology to observe. With this new technology came new experimentation and observations. What it revealed is that there is a literally an entire universe of complexity within every cell. Unimaginably small structures are somehow performing tasks necessary or life with mechanical precision. What the video tries to express with this fact is that there must be some source of information that is telling these tiny little things what to do.

When I first watched this trailer, my stubborn biased thoughts clouded my openness to the ideas that were being put forth. I felt the trailer had too many loose ends and therefore couldn’t be considered reputable. And than as if snapping out of a cognitive stupor, I remembered that what I had just watched was a trailer, and that all trailers have loose ends. Punching myself for being such a space-case, I began looking for more information on the documentary. I came across several other brief chapters from the film. Upon watching these additional clips, questions began forming in my head. My conceptions of what I was so stubbornly accepting as the only plausible logic was suddenly full of holes. Intellectually shaken and a bit perturbed, I pondered the ideas still burning in my head. After quite some time of further introspection, (several days in fact), I was able to gather myself logically and come to a realization. Darwin’s theory has some shady spots. That fact is undeniable. Some things are left unexplained, and at the moment it may seem the most logical explanation for some things in fact is divine presence. However then I remembered the pattern in human existence I had studied in depth for an earlier project. Religion seems to always be the explanation for something that we can’t understand yet. Many years later, with appropriate technological advancements and scientific experimentation, humankind usually tends to find a more reasonable scientific explanation. What I hope is that upcoming experiments involving the Hadon Collider will bring about some new scientific advancements in the field of the universe’s origin. For now I will remain skeptical of intelligent Design, and when further advancements in technology will permit, I will make further conclusions at that point. Nonetheless, I must acknowledge the potential for fallacy in Darwin’s ideas. It’s important to give some space for research into theories possibly opposing the ideas expressed through Evolution.

"Expelled: No Room for Intelligence" trailer:

As Stein’s documentary reveals, teachers and scientists are being outright shunned and discredited amongst their peers in the various fields of science for questioning Darwin’s ideas. What I’ve come to realize is that by being such an immovable supporter for Darwin’s ideas, I’m no better then the members of the Inquisition in the time of Galileo. As my roommate discovered while flipping through the various writings in Appleman’s Darwin, Darwin himself was quoted saying, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge,”(Appleman, 525). This quote was used in far different context during Darwin’s time. However, it still applies in today’s society, though with different applications. In my case, this quote implies that by being such a stubborn Darwin supporter and remaining ignorant to the pleas of other logic, I am far more likely to convince myself that what I know of Darwin is the absolute, undeniable system of reason. In stead, I should rely in what ‘knowledge’ has to offer. In this case, it is the recent observations on the most complex microbiological process that are beginning to expose potential fallacies in Darwin’s reasoning. As Pope John Paul II stated in his “Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences”: “A theory’s validity depends on whether or not it can be verified; it is constantly tested against the facts; wherever it can no longer explain the latter, it shows the limitations and unsuitability. It must then be rethought.” He goes on to say, “rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution,” (Paul, 528).

Through the discussion of intelligent design and possible holes in Darwinian Theory I had a revelation in which I realized that as technology stands now, and with the current level of advancement in Microbiology, There are some things out there that don’t necessarily fit in with Darwin’s theory. I realized that I have been far too close-minded on the entire subject of existence.

This is the trailer that originally go me interested in the subject

For additional videos on Intelligent Design and trailers for "Expelled" click here

Work Cited
Darwin, Charles, and Pope John Paul II. Darwin. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: Norton Paperbacks, 2000. 525-28.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Darwin Revelation: Religious Thought

Throughout my most recent final time line and corresponding essay, and throughout the semester of Scientific Revolutions I explored the various impacts of the roles of creationism and evolution on the history of scientific thought, and common society, specifically societies beliefs on this theme. My studies of Darwin, and the effects he has on society have led to multiple new understandings, new revelations regarding how Darwin's theories were accepted within the general public. I've gained new perceptions of science, religion, culture and society all from one theme and outlook. Based on what we studied this semester of Darwin and his discoveries, my new understanding of science, is in regards to societies general beliefs shaping as a result of the continuing role of evolutionary and creationism thought throughout our culture.
The revelation that I experienced as a result of studying Darwin's entity surrounds the amount of people that support either evolutionary or religious viewpoints of cosmogony.
I have constructed new understandings as a result of Darwin's thoughts through the lens of looking at its historical role throughout society and everyday life. Through my research I have realized that religion is far more ingrained in the population’s general belief than I previously thought, according to people’s view of how we came to be, and continue to be in the future. My revelation was a discovery of the prominent belief of creationism in our society, forming as a newfound perspective for myself of the role of science and religion today in our world.
I have achieved this through looking at plenty of sources, and seeing the amounts of support for each viewpoint. From my research I found a lot profound evidence for movements to promote creationism, which seemed surprising to me, as I thought scientific evolutionary thought took the majority of support. I didn’t think people actually believed in creationism over science, but when I thought about it, it makes sense to me because religion is so prominent, and entwined in our society. I found a lot of factual evidence for evolution, natural selection and scientific thought, and simply a lot of 'movements' and 'attempts' to promote the belief of intelligent design, rather than factually or scientifically proving it. This new understanding was revealed through discovering the historical treatment of this theme throughout history. I analyzed the 'evolution' of evolution, the ups and downs of where society stands, and where the peaks are for science and religion.
To describe this ‘evolution’ of the consistent battle of religion and science, from discovering the historical and cultural contexts represented by the events of the chronological time line of this theme. When researching and discovering the annotation of the states changing laws, I found statistics showing the increasing number of supporters for intelligent design. An article from '', supports my newfound Darwin revelation, and states the increasing number of religious supporters over scientific supporters within the general public.
“The [creationism] movement's recent success may in part be a reflection of the fairly widespread sympathy for some of its basic principles. According to Gallup polls, about 44 percent of Americans believe in a biblical creationist view, that God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. About 40 percent believe in "theistic evolution," the idea that God oversaw and guided the millions of years of evolution that culminated with humankind. Only one in 10 of those surveyed held a strict, secular evolutionist perspective (Rosin).”
This statistic frightened me; I always thought science had the one up over religion, this shows the up and down evolution of this highly disputed topic. The belief of evolution is waning in the public, as it is split in separate sides, with a greater amount on religions side. To me, I interpret this evolution or development of this theme to be a constant fluctuation of where society tends to stand. I see this as the general population having a greater affinity with religion, while the scientific community, including professors, students, and scientists having views of ‘pure’ evolution, a belief that evolution is a sole basis for biology, as one the main structures of life, and scientific thought.
I thought the majority of the world stood on supporting evolution, correlating with my beliefs of scientific thought. Another element of my revelation was the impact Darwin's thoughts he had on the world, and the following response towards his ideas. To further support another aspect of my revelation of how much Darwin actually impacted society and public thought, Ernst Mayer writes in support of Darwin's scientific views, and how much he influenced peoples perception, in a book titled "Darwin" compiled by Philip Appleman.
"In intellectual revolution generated by Darwin went far beyond the confines of biology, causing the overthrow of some of the most basic beliefs of his age. For example, Darwin refuted the belief in the individual creation of each species, establishing in its place the concept that all of life descended from a common ancestor" (Appleman 23).
Another piece of evidence that enhances my already existing belief of evolution, and supports the scientific communities beliefs of evolution is seen in a video clip of evidence of the 'collapse of I.D. as a theory' proved through evolution and the fossil record. This video shows that the scientific community definitively believes in the profound scientific theories of Darwin, as it shows a lot of evidence and facts supporting his ideas, which I thought the public believed the same, which in my revelation was exposed that the general public believes in creationism. {Embedded Video}

Through my discovery of Darwin's mass influence on history and peoples beliefs, the path of events in history shows the evolution of this theme, how it has developed into a prominent evolution vs. creationism battle, from the 1600’s to today. This development shows the relation between the events, how they interlace with each other with one event leading to the next throughout history of cosmology. Looking at all of the relating events of this central topic, it contributed to my revelation of a new understanding of the standpoint of society on this subject as it is important to scientific thought because of its direct influence on history.

Works Cited:

Appleman, Philip, ed. Darwin. 3rd ed. New York: W.W.Norton, 2001.

Rosin, Hanna. “Kansas Board Targets Darwinism.” The Washington Post Company. 8 Dec 2008.

Darwin Revelation

After reading about Darwin that biggest revelation that I had was about the relationship between parents and their children and the genes and personality traits are passed down. Natural selection works by taking more favorable traits and passing them down instead of more unfavorable traits. This can be used to see why some people are better things then others. To show that natural selection was real Darwin used finches and the different beaks that they had and which one were better for the area that they were living to be able to get there food. “Darwin’s finches, establishing the fact of natural selection operating in real time- that is, in the biologically brief period of a few decades.” (Appleman 9) He found that there were thirteen different kinds of finches. I think that it is really interesting that we are able to see that natural selection is real in such a of time using the finches proving that it is something that takes place in most generations if not all. This means that children should be good at the same things that each parent is good at and there for would get more intelligent from generation to generation at least in these those areas. I think that is was what I found most revelation because it something that can help me understand myself and others around me better. Knowing more about natural selection can help me understand why I enjoy the same things that my parents do with more then just the simple that how I was raised.

In this video it talks more about Darwin’s finches and how important they were, and how they changed because of there food sources.

Works Cite

Appleman, Philip. Darwin. 3rd. New York: Norton, 2001.

Darwin Revelation: Justifying Gender Roles

In reading Appleman's selections of Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, I found it interesting how much his studies supported the lopsided gender roles of his day. His study states, "Man is more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman, and has a more inventive brain." This writing allowed men in Darwin's time to justify subduing the women in their lives, confining them to roles in the household and involving child rearing. I believe that Darwin's study was biased, whether unintentionally or not, as Darwin was a product of his time. He lived in a time in England where women had never been granted the right to vote, had no rights to birth control and had no ability to gain a political position. 

Although Darwin produced a biased study on gender roles in society, his intention was to simply observe. Others however used Darwin's work to keep women out of the business world and in the home. Strong gender roles were established and existed into very recent history. 

This video shows the stereotypes placed on a working woman in the 1950's:

The video clearly demonstrates that women were seen as second class citizens even recently. Although women
had been granted the right to vote, their place in society still did not match that of a man's. They were expected to
drop their work life immediately once they were married and had a family. Today that is not the way of thinking for
everyone, but many of Darwin's ideas are still prevalent in our stereotypes of beauty and female body image.

Overall my revelation changed the way I view Darwin's work. Having learned about evolution several times in
elementary and high school, I was just given the overview of his theories of natural selection and the idea of "survival
of the fittest." However now I look at Darwin with a more critical eye. I still believe in his theory but I see that it
was not a perfect study and as could happen with any scientist, his work was influenced by his surroundings. It also
gave me a greater understanding of how Darwin has affected my personal life. Clearly human's have been
produced due to natural selection, but being a female, my life has been influenced by more than that. I am
targeted by media and cosmetics companies, striving for an ideal beauty and if I choose to enter corporate America,
am still going to have to fight harder than my male counterparts for the same job, rank or salary.

Works Cited:

Appleman, Philip, ed. Darwin. 3rd ed. New York: W.W.Norton, 2001.

Davies, Norman. Europe: A History. New York: HarperPerennial, 1998.

Darwin Revelation: Dating

The Darwin Revelation: Dating and Mating

When Charles Darwin published Origin of the Species in 1859 and introduced his idea of natural selection and sexual selection in which only the strongest, brightest, and most adaptive of a species will live to procreate, I think the last thing that Darwin thought his theory would lead to was an online dating website. But, exists today, holding Darwin as the founder behind their idea of creating a dating website for “beautiful people who possess the qualities of effective natural selection”. I laughed at first when I saw this, but they do have a point: humans are much more willing to not only date, but mate with people that they consider to be of their same level of attractiveness or better.

We choose our mates based on attractiveness, health, virility, age, and lastly, personality. It’s easy to tell by sight if you’re attracted to someone—that’s why first impressions are so important. You see someone first, and you speak to them to judge character next. Have you ever wondered why when asked what the person you’re dating is like, you begin with a physical description that highlights all the aspects of that person that you find attractive, important, or promising? (An example of this would be, “Well, he’s tall, muscular, has dark hair, is two years older than I am…” etc.) Subconsciously, you’re going through the details of a significant other that make you believe that makes them an ideal candidate to showcase the production of natural selection.
Taken from an excerpt of the Origin of the Species in our Darwin reader (which you can find here: ) in which he explains his thinking on the topic of natural selection, Darwin states: “…Can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind?” (Appleman 111-112) For humans, intelligence, strength, and beauty seem to be the standards that we unknowingly breed for in natural selection. Some people argue that money is another thing that helps people become more successful and desirable, but wealth is material, and thus must be gained. Also, having money doesn’t guarantee you a genetic jackpot. Look at Donald Trump. (But then again, he is married to a model and fathered a child at the age of sixty. Natural selection for a better next generation?)
In a further except in the same reading, Darwin goes on to say, “As man can produce and certainly has produced a great result by his methodical and unconscious means of selection…Man can only act on external and visible characters…Man selects only for his own good…” (Appleman 113). On, they provide a (seemingly) tongue-in-cheek explanation of what are not attractive characteristics that people applying to the site are not allowed to have, including “no visible skin between the eyebrows” and “no proportionally large ears”. We are, admittedly, a very sight-biased species, but in the world of dating and mating, we would rather die than admit to trying to procreate with someone “ugly” or “beneath us”. Maybe this fascination with aesthetic beauty is Nature’s way of further evolving the human species.
Some people have certain “types” that they find themselves attracted to. Some people can’t tell you why they’re with their partner based on looks, but they certainly can tell you what they find attractive in a member of the opposite sex, and chances are, some or most of those traits will be exhibited in the person they are with. has exploited this tendency in people to find new partners based on looks, and everything that goes with it in our society today, which includes a certain physique. You can’t blame them, really—everyone dates according to the process of natural selection: that’s why the human race is still around today and flourishing. Most of us just don’t publicly subscribe to the notion like they do.

Works Cited:

1.) Appleman, Philip, ed. Darwin. 3rd ed. New York: W.W.Norton, 2001.



Darwin Revelation

Some of Darwin's very basic studies point out that every species survived to the point we're at now by being able to stronger, faster, and more clever than other's of our species. The term "survival of the fittest" was coined through this observation. We can see today that the human species is the same. Those of use who look both ways before crossing the street, usually don't get hit by cars. The ones that check the expiration dates on food don't end up with food poisoning. Those who eat healthy and avoid an over abundance of fatty food usually maintain a healthy weight and heart. Most of the time, those are the people who survive longer, and are able to reproduce in a more effective manner passing on healthier and more fruitful genes.

That's not to say that those with lesser intelligence don't survive. In fact, they tend to procreate more, but unlike in lesser species, they have the same margin for survival that the smarter do. In all of human society, back all the way to the beginning of civilizations, it's never been about who's got the bigger IQ, it's about who is "more." When I say more, I mean more of everything. Better looking, more money, more muscle, more friends, just more of everything. This isn't an exclusive method of choosing,  I mean someone's got to love the ugly people, but this seems to be the norm.

In Appleman's Darwin, Darwin himself writes, "females are most excited by... the more ornate males." In the text, this is made in observation to birds, but the same stands for humans. In this video, you can see that like all species, there are certain preconceptions about attraction.

The Chief, the green guy, shows us how there are certain ideas that we have about attracting the opposite sex. Though this is an extreme example, seeing as how the Chief is extremely socially inadequate, it makes my point. In the end, he was able to be more attractive by having more of something. In his case, it was more social skills, but it was still more than what he started with. He was able to flaunt himself, and as a result gained respect and some sort of attraction from the girl he encountered, regardless of the fact that he was about as bright as a fleck of dust. 

Work Cited:

Appleman, Philip. Darwin. 3rd. New York: Norton, 2001.

Darwin Revelation

Zachary Morse
COR 210
December 14, 2008
Darwin Revelation
Antibiotics: Blessing or Curse?
Charles Darwin was one of the most influential scientists in history. His discoveries still resonate to this day, even one hundred and twenty years after his death. Unfortunately some of his discoveries have been overlooked and unheeded by some members of the medical community. My revelation came to me when I read a bottle of hand sanitizer in a bathroom on campus. I caught a small label on the bottom of the bottle; it said that it kills 99.9% of bacteria. Not long after that I had a flashback to my high school biology class; in the class we had a two week discussion on microbes. During the class we discussed how on the average human hand there can be tens of millions of bacteria. It was then that I realized that if even a tenth of a percent of 30 million survive then 300,000 bacteria survive and are immune to the hand sanitizer and can spread unhindered throughout the population. The ability for microbes to exploit their advantage over other microbes is better expressed in Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”.
“Owing the this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving, for, of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born” (Applemann 108)
What this means in layman’s terms is that if a certain bacteria, or virus, or any other organism has an advantage over others in its own species then it will have the upper hand and will then will have a better chance to procreate. For example if the outer coating of a cell wall of a bacterium is thicker or has some other advantage that makes it resistant to antibiotics or hand sanitizer than it will be more successful in procreation; and will therefore be able to spread farther and for longer without being killed. Eventually bacteria, which reproduce far faster than us, will become far more resistant to our treatment methods and our strongest drugs like penicillin and other antibiotics may become less and less affective. It is only a matter of time before our methods become more obsolete and we will have to search for new options or face a new health crisis in the form of mass bacterial infections resulting in fatalities. The imbedded video show some of the first signs of this resounding possibility.

In the video Russian prisoners have started to contract an old disease, Tuberculosis, which has evolved in to a new more potent and more deadly strain. The cause of this is a direct result of poor prison conditions and even worse health care in the prisons. In the video they discuss how they have developed a new drug that could eliminate the new strain, however watching this forces me to ask the question. How long will it take for the disease to develop a resistance to this new drug and become just as deadly as it was before the invention of antibiotics.

Works Cited:

Appleman, Philip. Darwin. 3rd. New York: Norton, 2001.
Evolution Ep4: The Evolutionary Arms Race. April 27, 2007. December 14, 2008.