Week 1 Reaction

senior11z's picture

 I grudgingly accepted the fact that I would indeed have to read a book about science before I graduated and began to read "On the Origin of Species" with apprehension. How could this possibly be related to stories?! In fact, as I read I found it quite compelling and surprised myself when I found the lengthy discussions of pigeons fascinating. The connection finally came to light on pages 117 and 118 when Darwin talks about natural selection in relation to pears, of all things. He says cultivating plants is a skill and a subconscious process, and while at the time the breeder certainly was looking for the best pear he could find, he had no way of knowing how this could affect the kinds of pears we would be eating in the near and far future. It made me think about pears today. What if they tasted awful? What if pears had been domestically bred into extinction? Suddenly I was imagining stories of people in their Victorian gardens examining odd shaped pears and tasting each one, or time traveling to retrieve Future Pears and compare the two. For the first time I can definitively point to, science sparked my creative imagination. Additionally, this section made me think about the ways that we as a nation and world mass cultivate the land. The demands of industry (a story in itself) has made it necessary to force feed the soil foreign seeds, to mutate plant DNA (is that a thing?) to create superfruits, and to mass cultivate and produce endless varieties of plants for eating or feeding animals. What if we just let the world grow its own stuff (and all we had to do was harvest it)? Would it make enough wheat or rice or orange trees for us to live on? Would we find something else to feed on (and what would that be)? How would that affect the farming industry and the market? I might even go so far as to compare mass farming, and especially scientifically altering foods, to the recent discovery that it is possible (or will soon be possible?) to choose your baby's sex, hair color, eye color, etc. If you can accept this parallel, does it make farming this way seem less acceptable? Or does playing God with the land and food justify playing God in conception?

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