Evolution in a Biological Context

Lynn's picture

 Madness, I know. We've been thinking of evolution in so many other, more abstracted contexts, that I, at least, had kind of forgotten about biology. I've been watching nature documentaries this week, though, and aside from the narrator's worrying fascination with snakes, they've been pretty good. But the buzzwords that we spent many weeks debunking - progress, advancement, purpose - have been appearing in these documentaries every few minutes. It's interesting; the understanding of evolution that I now have (and take for granted) is completely absent from these movies. One I just watched described a crocodile as "advanced, even when it first appeared", and for a moment I thought the narrator was mocking himself, or something, because surely he knew that "advanced" implies an endpoint. Or when he described snakes as the "perfect predators", I was certain that he was just teasing the audience. I think that I've been living in a very specialized version the the Bryn Mawr Bubble - the EvoLit Bubble - and I had forgotten that our conception of evolution is not shared by everyone.

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Paul Grobstein's picture

Evolit, science, bryn mawr bubbles and evolution

 Yep, a way of thinking about evolution (and literature), not the way, one of many stories.  Thanks for noticing, and reporting.  And yep, a way of thinking about science, not the way but one of many ("In my conversations with others about the natural sciences and the social sciences, I have represented the views that you express in class--about the noble skepticism of science--as those of the scientific community at large. Now I sense my own naïveté in having done so.")  And yes, a "Bryn Mawr Bubble", lots of bubbles in fact.  Maybe one needs bubbbles in order to have evolution?  if stories are "shared by everyone" there is no evolution?  

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