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A Story for Children

In class we talked about how to teach evolution, and I think the best way is to do it early. I was inspired by a previous student’s work, which Anne shared with us on Serendip, to write a children’s book. Anne challenged me to correct the book, because I had been somewhat insistent in class on conveying the story of evolution as accurately as possible. Trying to tell this story in a child friendly way was a harder task than I imagined. I do not see this book as a correction. I love the message of connectedness in Britt’s book. But I wanted to tell a different story. My story starts earlier and is an attempt at being both scientifically accurate and child-friendly.

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Lessons from Bertha

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

 

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Another Picture of Memes

Meme: A cultural element or behavioural trait whose transmission and consequent persistence in a population, although occurring by non-genetic means (esp. imitation), is considered as analogous to the inheritance of a gene.

-Oxford English Dictionary

The first time I was exposed to the idea of memes was in Daniel Dennett’s book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, which I read for a college class on evolution. Dennett gave several examples of things he considered memes, such as the wheel, the arch, Beethoven’s 5th symphony, and Moby Dick. He argued that evolution is an algorithmic process that works on memes in the same way it works on genes. 

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Lamarck and Epigenetics

Jean Baptiste Lamarck was a war hero, a botanist, a pioneer in the field of invertebrates, a writer, and a scholar. He died blind and impoverished in 1829, never having gained respect or popularity from the scientific community, and today is remembered only for having wrongly conceived of evolution. He was buried in a rented grave and five years later his remains were removed and lost forever. But his ideas will perhaps soon be at the forefront of a new evolutionary debate.

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the brain and religion

Why do people believe that there is a god? Some experts, such as anthropologist Scott Atran, believe that our propensity for religious belief is a byproduct of evolution (Brooks). New scientific evidence is suggesting that the neuronal pathways of our brain both reinforce religious belief and are altered by it.

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Book Commentary of Girl, Interupted

In her memoir, Girl Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen describes her two-year experience in a mental health facility for young women in the 60s, where she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Interwoven in her narrative of life on a psychiatric ward is a subtle message: being insane isn’t really all that different from being sane.   

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Zapping the Brain

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Zen Meditation

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feminism in movies

feminism in movies

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Roles of Amish Women

Hope Fillingim

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