SarahMalayaSniezek's blog

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How Groups Work: A Study of Group Dynamics and its Possible Negative Implications

How Groups Work: A Study of Group Dynamics and its Possible Negative Implications

Evolutionary theory suggests that humans evolved into a species that is best equipped for survival when it functions in groups. Groups allow for critical support mechanisms that increase the chance of survival for all group members. For this reason it is only natural that humans today either unconsciously or consciously form or flock towards groups. Groups, however, do not possess these survival benefits without important costs such as inter and intra group competition, inter and intra group conflict, and social shielding from others outside of the group. Through this paper I will discuss the evolution of groups through how groups form, individuals’ roles within a group, inter-group relations and lastly, how groups can change. In doing so this paper will attempt to understand how some groups can sometimes commit great wrongs, while other groups achieve great goals. I will use my experiences with a specific diversity workshop group, Tri-Co Summer Institute, and explain some of its group dynamics to try and improve the program.

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Building Diversity: When a Diverse Student Body isn’t Enough

Tolerance is extremely important to the future of the United States of America.  Currently, the U.S. is one of the most diverse countries in the world, and is becoming more diverse by the day (Ingram 2001).  At the same time, the global economy is growing rapidly, causing an increase in the amount of interaction between individuals from different countries (Ingram 2001).  If the United States is to survive as a country its citizens must be able to work well with each other, and those from other countries; therefore, they need to be tolerant of others’ differences.     

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The Evolution of Morality: A Skyhook versus Crane Approach

The evolution of morality is one of the most controversial evolutionary topics that has troubled philosophers, biologists, sociologists, and evolutionary psychologists since the inception of natural selection as the major theory of biological evolution. Even Darwin himself had difficulty concretely explaining the origin of morality (Uchii 1996). In sum, the subject’s complexity has generated many conflicting theories, most of which conform to the theory of natural selection, while others use it to undermine Darwin’s original theory of evolution. In this paper, I will first outline some prominent theories of the evolution of morality. I will then analyze the evolution of morality without assuming natural selection is true, and use my analysis to determine if the most logical explanations of the evolution of morality support or contest the theory of natural selection. In doing so I will argue that Dennett’s assertion that “cranes” (theories based on reductionist logic) are more valid theories than “skyhooks” (theories involving mystery of miracle) is detrimental to the evolution of the theory of evolution.

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Evolution and Intelligent Design in High Schools

Since its acceptance as the leading scientific theory of the origin of man, Darwinism (evolution) has been at odds with Creationism. Over the last century, American schools have gone back and forth between teaching one of the two theories, and at times even taught both. While Darwinism, in 1987, won a decisive battle with a supreme court ruling that outlawed the teaching of Creationism in public schools (it was ruled as a violation of the first amendment), in the last decade, non-Darwinist theories have been gaining support (1). Many argue that there are significant “gaps” in the theory of evolution that other competing theories, such as intelligent design, can explain. They feel that such theories should be taught in high school biology courses.

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