Monday, December 6, 2010

Science versus the Humanities

A Faustian Bargain - An Open Letter to George M Philip, President of the State University of New York at Albany


I came across this really fascinating article today. It's about a university in New York that closed down a bunch of its humanities departments. The president of SUNY Albany, George M Philip, defended the decision to close down the departments of French, Italian, Classics, Russian and Theater Arts, by saying that the sciences are more practical, and have more enrollment. He said that the sciences are self-sustaining, because they bring in revenue in the form of grants, whereas the humanities are just a financial drain on the institution. Philip all but said that the humanities were dead, useless subjects that not enough people are interested in to make them worth keeping around. 

A professor from a different university, Gregory Petsko from Brandeis University - who is actually a science professor - wrote an open letter to Philip, and essentially said that you can't really have a university if there aren't humanities subjects. His open letter made an excellent argument in favour of the importance and contemporary relevance of the humanities, so I encourage you all to take a look at if you have a minute. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Darwinism & Imperialism

Charles Darwin’s “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” led the British ruling class to believe that they were superior to the people of weaker countries, and they felt no guilt to exploit them. Because the nature selected them to be the strongest nation so the weak races deserved to be oppressed by them. As a result, they started to colonize weaker countries and made the colonial people their slaves. Therefore, Darwinism created a proper excuse for the British to implement their imperialism.

As time went by, nowadays many people believe that imperialism no longer exists in the world. However, imperialism may never disappear. Imperialism has become a cultural form that continues to exist in our world. For instance, people of developed countries use cultural products to influence the people of third world countries to believe that white people are superior to them. Actually, almost all third world countries are using developed countries as models to develop their politics and economy, and they believe that it is a way to modernize their countries.

Thus, Darwinism may still be an important ideology for governments of developed countries, such as Britain and the United States, and it may be one of the roots of the imperialism.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Charles was all about the cookies

In a surprising turn, Sir Charles Darwin is being hailed as a master-baker, a conniseur of cookies, and a fairly big supporter of rich foods high in chocolate. The news comes after the finding of a long lost recipe, found by Hum 321 student Nick Baron, in what appears to be a previously-unknown personal-edition of Charles 'the Origins of Species' in the 7th floor stacks of Burnaby's SFU Bennet Library.

The recipe calls for an interesting selection of various ingredients:

3 cups of oatmeal
1 cup of shredded coconut
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

And detailed directions for preparing the tasty treat, as hand-written on a piece of parchment from the author of 'the theory of evolution by natural selection':

1. pre-mix the oatmeal and coconut in a large bowl together.

2. on the stove: bring milk, sugar, butter, cocoa to a primordial boil, then add vanilla extract.

3. dump chocolately-goodness into the coconut-oatmeal bowl and mix vigorously.

4. on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet, dump spoon-sized offerings of the chocolately-mess.

5. place cookie-covered cookie sheet in fridge or freezer until cold.

6. eat cookies like they're not fit for survival.

A hand-writing analysis was ongoing at the time of print to verify authenticity, but unfortunately the results have not yet become available.

New Lengths for "Survival of the Fittest"?

As Katelyn has already pointed out, news has been released regarding the discovery of a life form found in a lake in California, with the phosphorus in its DNA having been replaced by arsenic. Arsenic is known for being poisonous to multicellular life, and it is not a member of the six element family - carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulphur - that forms the basis of all life on earth.



For these reasons, the existence of this organism, which is a bacterium called GFAJ-1, is being recognized as an astonishing discovery. For NASA, this information is relevant because it is allowing for the possibility of extraterrestrial life that is chemically built in a different way from life on Earth. In essence, it radically changes how we understand life to chemically be constructed, supporting the idea that extraterrestrial life does not have to resemble life on Earth.

However, this information is relevant to other areas of science as well. With respect to the idea of natural selection, the fact that GFAJ-1 is able to incorporate an otherwise dangerous element into its DNA - its most fundamental and basic component - means that it has found a way to survive when it is in an environment where phosphorus is not available.

The lack of phosphorus, as an environmental pressure, is one that otherwise would stifle all organic life as we know it. In other words, it is about as basic a requirement for life as there can be. At least this is what scientists thought until the discovery of GFAJ-1. The idea of natural selection says that environments decide which organisms are strong enough to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genetics, and which are not. If GFAJ-1 can survive by fundamentally altering its DNA so that it is unlike any other life on earth, it is filling an otherwise unoccupied niche, and therefore is securing its survival in a manner that undermines what were thought to be the limits of life.

So not only does the discovery of this bacterium greatly increase the possibility of finding life on other planets, but it demonstrates the lengths that the notion of 'survival of the fittest' can actually reach on our own planet.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nasa

http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/archives/230390.asp

I have recently come across an article in the news entitled: “NASA announcement: Discovery changes search for extraterrestrial life”

To copy and paste the introduction from the article;

Scientists believe an arsenic-based bacterium discovered at the bottom of a lake in California could have big implications for ongoing searches for extraterrestrial life.
In an announcement Thursday, scientists explained how the discovery is redefining theories about how living organisms can sustain themselves -- mainly that phosphorus might not be an essential building block for life.
The bacterium found in California's salty Mono Lake was harvested from mud and grown in a lab mixture that contained arsenic. Scientists say the organism eventually traded atoms of phosphorus for arsenic, defying what conventional knowledge dictated was a basic principle of science.
The discovery is changing the way NASA is approaching space missions to Mars -- mostly because up until now, experiments have sought elements and reactions specific to life on Earth.

I find the second paragraph most intriguing where this discovery has since defied “what conventional knowledge dictated was a basic principle of science.”

This is exactly what we have been discussing; the difference between scientific fact and scientific theory and furthermore, the implications this has on our society. What is fact and how do we apply it to our lives? How much of the Scientific Community’s preaching do we just take in as dogma because it comes from the ‘educated elites’? And then when we find out that they have changed this dogma, how whole-heartedly do we accept that? As full-fledged members of “Darwin Scrutinized” it is imperative to be critical of what we learn from others, that we have not researched ourselves.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Renaissance Humanism and Darwin

Renaissance Humanism seeks to explore the limits of human potential, and celebrate exceeding such. This form of humanism emphasizes an interest in humanity over divinity throughout the Italian Renaissance Era. To look at the human condition and find a pride for being human is imperative in this intellectual/cultural movement that continues to this day. Within this introspection, it is clear that human culture has evolved. To continue with the model of the Renaissance, Georgia Vasari's "Lives of the Artists" pays special attention to the progress of artistic development from the start of the Renaissance through to his day in the 1550s. One of his passages bears striking resemblance to Darwinism in that "anyone who compares their works to those which came before them will observe that they were better in every respect and will see some things that do not cause any kind of displeasure in our own day, such as some of the little temples of brick covered with stucco at San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome" (Vasari 51). Here, he outlines the evolution of Renaissance artwork from a very primitive groundwork through to what he calls perfection.

However, contrary to Darwin, this evolution did not occur randomly and without any intentional selection. In each period of the Renaissance, Artists built on one another's work and deliberately sought to improve upon them. Renaissance Humanism refutes Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Likewise, our culture today refutes this as there is no random variation deciding upon which how to better construct a skyscraper, or how to build a faster racecar or how to more beautifully play an instrument. These actions take deliberate study and followthrough. So my thought in reading through Renaissance Humanism is that it was the first time a real introspection into the human condition occurred since the time of the Ancients. And it is during this time that human progress was emphasized - which is very reminiscent of Darwinism. However, the way in which this progress was attained, and the society that our culture has now become from it, refutes the very means through Which Darwin preached it had happened.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Defamiliarization in Chesterton

People who believe in religion are often accused of being narrow-minded. This is a problematic statement as people in general are narrow-minded. Religion or lack of religion has nothing to do with the state at which one choses to live or the way in which they interact with others. What I appreciate about Chesterton is that he seeks to Defamiliarize the reader with their view of social norms. In this way, the audience is able to see something in a way that has always been there, but not in a way in which it is familiar to you. As Dr. Ogden stated, this knocks you out of your comfort zone and consequently leads you to look at something in a fresh way.

This technique is imperative to examining evolution in the light of religion, or religion in the light of evolution. Moreover, it is a technique that anyone who wants to learn something must have. A person who walks into a room with preconceived views with no intention of changing them, will walk out exactly the same way. Chesterton's goal is to not allow this to happen. Despite what you may believe at any point in a conversation with him, if you can look at something in a fresh way, you have achieved the opposite of narrow-mindedness. And for Chesterton to be advocating this, especially from a religious standpoint, is to his credit as he does not allow his bias or doctrine to get in the way of seeking to help you learn something new.

Darwin and Women

What would Darwin have to say about women's rights activists? As discussed in lecture, there is a very clear and definable thread throughout his 'Origin of Species' that connects his theory to themes in Victorian society. But as those societal values began to shift, does this mean that Darwin's theory is not longer applicable? Or does his theory also shift alongside culture? Does evolutionary Theory itself evolve?

Darwin proposed sexual selection as a disclaimer for natural selection as it was not able to encompass all areas of evolutionary life. The Victorian values of a man courting a woman, a male fighting for/conquering the female is considered to be not completely outdated today, however it is viewed upon as a more traditional means of 'sexual selection.' However, these ideals today have evolved; Women gained the Vote in 1919, they gained 'control' over their sexuality in the 1960s and today, they are CEO's and influential leaders. What would Darwin have said to this? Does his theory have to change in order to accommodate these new social norms? In order to understand Darwin's 'Origins' we must familiarize ourselves with Victorian Era values - which isn't so hard as it is part of our ancestry as a former British nation. But what about those who do not have an understanding or a recollection of the Victorian Social Strata? How does one apply Darwinism in that setting? This is a flaw with Darwin, as it is a flaw with all of us - that we are a product of our times - our surroundings, our nature and our nurture. However, despite that disclaimer, Darwin cannot apply something that is era-specific to his theory on multi-era generations/formations/origins. It cannot and will not apply. Victorian values were not present in Homo Sapiens Sapiens, so why is it present in his 'Origin of Species'? Mr Darwin's own gap-filler for natural selection has undone his whole theory.

The Darwin Awards

Considering that Charles Darwin believed that it takes a long time for certain traits to get weeded out of the population, it is amazing that there are the “Darwin Awards” which reward those that died in unique ways. Just because they have died does not mean that their genes are completely removed from the gene pool as they could have already produced off spring. This system seems like another miss conception of Darwin’s Theories by so-called Darwinists. Especially because today in a bookstore I was reading the description of how Darwin was in a book outlining some of the more famous Darwin Award recipients, and it called Darwin the Father of Evolution. As Darwinist Bruce Alexander said, many Darwinists have misconceptions of what Darwin actually said as they have not actually even read his books. Could this be another case where a publisher decided it would be a good idea to put out a book on this topic but not actually look at Darwin and his writings and just label himself a Darwinist? It is perplexing that an idea such as this can be put into print even though it is not necessarily the truth.

It seems like it would be better to call them the Bernard Shaw Award’s, as the individuals did not have the “will to live”. This is similar to the fifth part of Shaw’s play where the elder is telling the newborn about how they will live for about 300 years then have an unfortunate accident to end their life. This could be seen as these individuals’ unfortunate accidents as they were not able to survive. The individuals will to live was lost as they were put into a compromising situation and ended up taking their life. It is important to understand that Darwin’s theories of natural selection do not always apply to every situation, and this seems like an odd place to have his name attached to after studying his theories for the last three months.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is behind the scientific fact?

Many people believe that Darwinism is a scientific fact since their teachers taught them in this way, and usually people won’t doubt these “facts” because “facts” are for people to believe.


I believe that global warming is a very similar case to Darwinism. Most people have learnt that global warming is a scientific fact, and in daily life people can also see many advertisements and organizations that claim to fight against global warming. However, some recent studies have shown that global warming is a scam (Lewis, 2010). Basically, global warming was based on some fake data which was created by the scientists (government). What would be the motive behind promoting global warming as a scientific fact? Because it can be a good excuse for government to raise the carbon tax, just to name one example. Global warming has become a “fact” in mass media even though some studies and researches can prove that global warming is not occurring. Nonetheless many people still deeply believe it because they are taught or they read somewhere that it is a “fact”.


My previous posts may have shown that Darwinism is not a scientific fact: over 98% of DNA has largely unknown function, and the scientist call them “Junk DNAs;” Darwinians are delivering misconceptions about the human genome projects with misleading messages that promote "genetic similarities" between human and chimpanzees and hiding the fact that these are subjective interpretations which do not provide any evidence for the theory of evolution. Why would the government still promote Darwinism as a scientific fact? Because Darwinism may be a good excuse for the government to carry out eugenics projects; and Darwinism may also be able to make poor people blame themselves (with weak genes) instead of the society or the government. Sometimes, education or mass media is a tool for governments to control their citizens and to reinforce their political regimes. Thus, people should be suspicious of what these “facts” are, and what is behind the scientific facts may usually contain conflicts between the people in general and the ruling class.


Scientific facts may change all the time, so people should be open minded to accept new things and always to think about if there are more untold stories behind the facts.


http://greenwatchamerica.net/

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/30017

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gulliver's Travels The Movie

Coming this Christmas is 20th Century Fox’s rendition of Gulliver’s Travels. Just incase your interested, here is the link to the trailer:

http://www.gulliverstravelsthemovie.com/

The setting is not England in this case, but instead New York as the base line and the main character played by Jack Black is heading to the Bermuda Triangle on a mission (20th Century Fox, 2010). The most interesting part of the making of this movie will be to see how closely it actually ties in with Jonathan Swift’s original novel.

Even the fact that the story is still being re-worked and used today shows its importance in society. Even though science has become a very powerful force in society, it is important to look at what its ultimate impact is. The four sections of Swifts novel definitely are able to bring these issues out, but will this film focusing on when he goes to the land of the small people in part one be able to complete the same objective? There is a need to ensure that the story line still follows the same principles that the novel does and that the message that is intended is not lost. Unfortunately for me from this trailer at least it appears that this maybe the case, however I will give it the benefit of the doubt until I am able to watch it for myself.

20th Century Fox (2010). Gulliver’s Travels. Retrieved November 22, 2010 from 20th Century Fox’s Website: http://www.gulliverstravelsthemovie.com/

Darwin in the News

I was listening to News1130 on my way to work this morning and heard this report which I later found on their website; http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/132485--checking-out-the-caveman-workout - It is a really interesting piece (take it for what you will) on just how prevalent Evolutionary Theory is in our society today.



Checking out the caveman workout
We were built to get fit in an artificial gym
Mike Lloyd Nov 22, 2010 08:24:36 AM
1 Comment(s) 0 Recommendation(s) VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Forget the Stairmaster or the elliptical; there is a new workout fad in town. Call it caveman fitness!

Greg Karver is a primal fitness expert with StrengthBox and says the concept has been around a long time. "Most of the time, when we were evolving, we were doing random activities in the wild. We weren't in gyms. We weren't in controlled artificial environments. We had to run, climb and lift heavy things just to survive."

Primal movement is all about mimicking those movements and Karver explains you don't have to be trapped on a repetitive machine.

"Maybe I'm outside at a park and maybe I'm going to pick up a heavy rock. So I'm going to dead lift a rock, then I'm going to throw it as hard as I can and run to it and do it again. Maybe I'm going to do that five times and then I'll walk on all fours. I find a swing set and I'm going to leap up to the bar and do a pull-up, maybe I climb on top of it."

Primal yells aren't required, but they're not discouraged either and Karver says anyone can do it. "Whether you are an extremely fit individual or you are a grandmother, it doesn't matter."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chesterton's Approach

The human race relies heavily on certainty. To be certain that we have a past, that the sun will come up tomorrow, and that in adversity there is hope and actions that can be taken to get through the event. A lot of Gilbert Chesterton’s writings are meant to keep readers off balance and to give them a new perspective. However, many readers are not interested in a new perspective and, even though it is very important to look at things from many different angles, only want to have their view on a topic and nothing else. The opposite of this can be seen in Darwinism, which states that changes come by stronger variations beating out weaker ones over a long period of time through a random process. This seems like a very plausible explanation, but lets look at what it implies. It means that nothing happens fast, which people will like because most do not enjoy significant changes coming at a rapid rate. It also says that the variations happen not because of the individual but because of some random process.

In a lot of circles Darwinism is held as the only option that could potentially explain the evolutionary process. This however seems like a safe fall back as it is a simple process to explain. Darwinists that hear Chesterton’s readings would likely become highly offensive in trying to defend themselves, as they would not want to try and accept these ideas. They would also likely tell them that they are wrong, as they do not want to hear about why Christianity and miracles could actually be real. This is why I appreciate Chesterton’s approach to writing as it gives a different perspective then the regular writings that are straightforward and suppose to present the evidence in a very methodological manner.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sociobiology and Altruism

According to the new school of Darwinian thought all humans are essentially selfish creatures. Sociobiologists like E.O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins believe that all acts of human altruism are a thin veneer that disguises an essential selfish nature. Altruism in a sociobiological context could be defined as the behavior by an animal that may be disadvantageous to it, but that benefits others of its kind. For the Sociobiologist, all such altruistic actions simply seem unselfish, but actually supply the agent with some evolutionary advantage, i.e. aids them in their pursuit of food or offers increased chances at reproduction. However, Sociobiologists like Wilson and Dawkins are the first to admit that altruism is difficult to explain; acts of true altruism cannot exist in their theory because such acts damage a person’s chances of acquiring more food and sex: aiding another to survive in the struggle for life means one more competitor in the conspecific war of all against all, and amounts to a decrease in available food and potential mates for the altruistic actor.

An example of altruistic behavior in animals can be seen in the submission signals sent by humans, dogs, and many other species that tend to terminate fights between conspecifics before they result in death, like a dog that rolls onto its back and exposes its throat to an adversary. For the sociobiologist, such behavior is puzzling: why wouldn’t one dog immediately tear the throat out of the other, thus eliminating a competitor for both food and sex? Another example is the phenomenon of “baby snatching” observable in some primate species where a bereaved mother kidnaps another female’s baby, adopting it as for its own. For the sociobioligist such behavior makes little evolutionary sense, the kidnapper not only wastes her own time to bring someone else’s genes to maturity, but also frees a rival female from raising the young and to mate that much sooner. The problem for the sociobiologist is why don’t all species always fight to maim or kill, or why don’t mothers welcome baby snatchers?

In an earlier argument I mentioned that human society, when it reaches a certain level of sophistication, always develops specialized castes: warrior, priest and doctors, all of which are inconsistent with the siciobiological belief that humans are essentially selfish. A soldier risks increased chances of being maimed or killed in battle; priests often take on oaths of celibacy, fasting, and self-mortification; doctors try to improve the sick, injured and diseased. The practitioners of these trades receive no evolutionary advantage for serving others, and know this when they when they enter one of these professions; most of us would say that they do so because they are moral people.

Many proponents of the selfish theory of the individual might respond by saying that human morality is itself simply a veneer that was, at some point in the past, grafted onto a selfish human society, either by priests, or Kings, or law givers, as a way of manipulating the masses for the benefit of the few. Such arguments, however, must always have as their starting point ideas of shame or pride. If human society, at some long forgotten point in the past, was essentially selfish, a war of all against all completely lacking in any sort of morality, then the very notions of honorable or shameful, good or bad, would simply not exist and could not ever have been intelligible, even by the sneakiest of priests or the most savvy of politicians. Trying to do so would amount to trying to explain to a fish what it’s like to breath air: no frame of reference is possible.

Those who believe that altruism and morality are mere veneers that cover a selfish human nature often cite cases of extreme deprivation in order to prove their case – of shipwreck survivors killing one their number and eat them to survive, of political prisoners who turn over their accomplices under extreme torture, and etc. Those who believe in a selfish human nature think that these are instances proving the veneer theory: that under extreme duress the true nature of humanity is revealed. One might respond with the same experiments on rats, placing several in a glass cage and submitting one to prolonged torture. After a short time, when the tortured rat sees you coming he will do anything to avoid you and try to hide in the only place it can, under or behind one of its fellows. Now this rat is displaying the same behavior that a human might display under the same circumstances, yet we don’t say that the rat, an imminently social animal, is displaying its “true” moral nature that rat society has been disguising: rats have neither morality nor society. Such experiments do suggest that something is being removed, but what? David Stowe argues that what is stripped away in these extreme cases is biological rather than cultural, “the successive layers of biological development which is natural to our species between infancy and mature adulthood” (Stow. Darwinian Fairytales, 111). Stowe argues that in these extreme examples humans revert to something like infancy and has the benefit of better explaining behavior seen in all mammals, than does the sociobiological one, and he may be right.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Questions on Dogma in Society

How much of Darwinist theory is dogma? How much of it does society accept simply because we were taught it from young up? How many people actually question Evolution? And if we do, are there avenues to do that which will allow us to remain unstigmatized?
The problem is not with evolution. The problem is with people blindly accepting it because it is delivered to them in a curriculum textbook, or in an offhanded remark by an authority figure, or it’s a single line from a Hollywood movie. How much of our society lays in na├»ve ignorance in what they believe to be true? How much evolutionary theory do people actually know? And how much is simply assumed?
How much do people believe in evolution simply because it is the most highlighted antithesis to religion? As Churchland has written that “there is no doubt at all that physical matter exists, while spiritual matter remains a tenuous hypothesis.” Yes there is not necessarily physical matter evidence for spiritual concepts and beliefs. But even Darwin’s theory is not 100% physically based – his theory requires some belief as well; to look around at the world and conclude that it all came about from one unknown common ancestor, requires a lot of belief if you ask me. And a lot more questions need to be raised and answered should that be the case.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

on (scientific) theory, hypothesis & assumptions

In thinking about our last class, it was intriguing to hear individuals and their groups attempting to operationalize a definition for Scientific Theory, and Scientific Fact. While there was a general class consensus as to what a Theory is, and in turn what constitutes a Fact, there was tremendous variability presented and much debate about where the threshold for Scientific laid. This variability seems analogous to the view and dissemination present in our writings of Darwin and the so-called Darwinists as seen here in this medium.

Truthfully - operational definitions vary from science to science, and there are rarely clear well defined distinctions between the varying levels of 'classical' or 'hard' sciences, like chemistry and physics, and the 'soft' social sciences like sociology, psychology or anthropology. Here the level of analysis is important and debated, set, reset and dynamically decided within each field.

Our group approaches in this class have, it appears to me, followed a similar vein of rationality. What is acceptable fact to our Darwinists, lacks the logical heft for both critics of Darwinists and Logicians themselves. What is damnable evidence regarding the failings of Evolution Theory to explain human culture and development is a misunderstanding of assumptions.

For example, the theory of Evolution by the mechanism of natural selection (including individual, sexual and group methods) makes the assumption that individual development is static, that is, it does not change. This is done to unpackage complexity/variance from the greater variables regarding selection, mutation, and inheritance for instance. What this does not mean is that Natural Selection ignores individual development, but simply that within the given theoretical framework, it is assumed to be constant and therefore not impacting the group of individuals (ie. species development), such that the scientists may look solely at the group level.

Thankfully, with much of the work largely supporting Darwin's theories, these little issues of variance (like individual development) are being pulled from the list of assumptions and (scientifically) tested. It is from here largely accepted and supported 'Theories' are to be called into doubt, and current fields of the 'softer sciences' are bridging into one another. Developing fields of Biopsychology, Evolutionary Psychology particularly are leaving the simplistic adaptationist theories and adopting more holistic systems-theories that allow for bidirectionality in the expression of genomes, phenomes, the environment and personal (individual) experiences.

Education and Darwin

Bernard Shaw questioned the education system stating that it is problematic as it just re-iterates the same information from generation to generation (Shaw, 1963, p. xiii). This type of thought can be used when scrutinizing Darwinism as well. The ideas that were presented by Charles Darwin have been passed down from generation to generation, but it seems as though the message has been lost. To use an analogy, it is like the telephone game where one person starts with a message, then the message is whispered from person to person in a circle, and the final person has to say out loud what the message they received was and it is generally very different from what was originally intended. This is in part because everyone has different ways of interpreting messages and picking out the important parts of the information.

Doctor Bruce Alexander who presented to the class even said that there is a group of Darwinians that he does not agree with, as they do not follow the true word of Darwin. How can Darwinism live on in what is presented in the general public as a united faction when really it is very divided. Even though the message of Darwin was written in Origin of Species and Descent of Man, there are those from the 19th century that critic his work and those today that do. In primary education there is no discussion about whether Darwin’s thoughts could be discredited, but instead just told that this is the way it is and to accept it. There needs to be a more critical approach taken not only to Darwinism, but a wide range of other topics in primary education to prepare students for the real world. In high school biology I recall my teacher stating, “This class will teach from a scientific point of view, not a religious one”. After reading a number of critics of Darwin, it is easy to see that Darwinism is not an indisputable theory. Shaw’s critic of the education system is very valid, and needs to be taken into consideration.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Darwinism & Unidentified DNA

In the last lecture, we discussed what scientific theory and scientific fact are respectively. Clearly, Darwinism is not a fact since many people have already proved that Darwin was wrong in many aspects. Then, is Darwinism a scientific theory? Basically, the central idea of Darwinism is about the evolution of species based on natural selection. However, the current biological scientific technology still cannot properly explain genes or DNAs. For instance, over 98% of DNA has largely unknown function, and the scientist call them “Junk DNAs” (Suurkula). Why are the unidentified DNAs called “Junk DNAs”? Is it because scientists cannot use science to identify them? Maybe one day in the future, scientists will provide a proper answer (a scientific fact) for us to understand our genomes, and at that time Darwinism can become a kind of scientific theory. Thus, to some degree, Darwinism is now just a scientific hypothesis, or even has nothing to do with science.

http://www.psrast.org/junkdna.htm