Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of Evolution and Faith 11/09/10

I apologize for the lateness of this post. I have been scheduled tightly today.

With a welcoming “hello” and a wave of the hand,
All the students in class knew this day would be grand.
The homework today, three items there were.
I will now spell them out, so that you will be sure.
1.       Take home book fair presentation or it GETS TRASHED
2.       SAT 10 due Friday
3.       TIB Project due Monday (http://thisibelieve.org/)
Next on the list was a “debrief” of sorts,
Filled with constructive feedbacks, and uplifting reports.
Positive Feedback
1.       Good explanations of the books
2.       Creative use of space and resources
3.       Looked outside the book, and tied it into the presentation
At the end of this talk, with thunderous ovation,
Mr. Wallace walked in to discuss Darwin’s occupation.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, religion was law. The Bible was accepted as fact. In the 19th century, science began to conflict with religious beliefs. In 1859, Charles Darwin published his theory of natural selection, or evolution.
Charles Darwin was a religious man. Yes, that may be surprising. He originally began studying to be a priest. However, he did not continue, and switched to medical school. This only lasted about 6 months. But he was chosen to be a doctor on a voyage planned for a couple years, though it ended up taking five. In his travels, he collected fossilized specimens that he sent home. After the voyage, Darwin spent 17 years studying earthworms with his son (sounds fun, right?).
After these 17 years of exhilarating study, Darwin looked at the specimens he had collected on his voyage. He noticed that there were many variations of each animal among the different Galapagos Islands. He determined that the animals had changed according to their environment, through a process called natural selection. This theory was that when the environment presented a “roadblock” for the organism, those that could not overcome it died off, and the ones that could passed on their resilient genes to the next generation.
Darwin did not originally want to publish his ideas. He feared it would stir up too much contention, as Galileo did when he said the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. However, when a scientist named Alfred Wallace (perhaps a distant relative of Mr. Wallace…) began having the same ideas as Darwin, Darwin decided to publish his ideas. When he originally published them, they did not include the idea that man came to be through this form of selection. However, he did in his second publication (for his complete works, I recommend this link http://darwin-online.org.uk/).
The Scope Monkey Trial was a result of the ACLU hiring John Scopes to challenge Tennessee law prohibiting teaching evolution at the time. He wasn’t even a biology teacher. He taught geography. Since then, many cases have arisen over this dispute, from the 1920s (when the Scopes Monkey Trial took place) to 2008 (the Dover Dogma v. Darwin debate).
Here is the breakdown of why evolution is different than a religious belief. Evolution is built off of evidence found in fossils and organisms today. It has not been proven true yet, nor has it been proven false yet. A religious belief is having faith in something, usually God or another higher entity. In religion, there is no scientific, tangible evidence to prove or disprove that particular sect. This is why evolution has been and is being taught in some places. The teachers do not teach it is real or not, but they simply present the evidence. There is no evidence for religion, and there are too many creation versions to teach all in school.
To learn more about different religions, Mr. Wallace recommends you take the World Religion class offered at Arapahoe.
The rest of the discussion was a Q & A format,
About if people evolve, or devolve, or are dormant.
(OK, the last line didn’t rhyme perfectly. Just go with it.)
With the ring of the bell, and a reminder to plug in,
The students hurried off for their next class to begin.

1.       All projects not taken home will be thrown out
2.       TIB essay due Monday http://thisibelieve.org/
3.       SAT 10 due Friday

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