Evolution and Literature

Shannon's picture

New Stories of the Evolution of Science through the Media

Throughout the semester, we have been exposed to fresh, eye-opening perspectives of the evolution of science and literature. Regardless of whether or not people choose to accept the observations, generative stories still emerged from the class to possibly assist with the ambiguity of our lives. The classroom and group discussion experience was quite personally rewarding, as I “came out of my shell” to embrace new ideas. Although quite overwhelmed with information at times, the entire class really reaffirmed my understanding through our successful group presentation.

Christina Cunnane's picture

Evolution of Thought Through Topic Variation

Evolution of Thought Through Topic Variation

Throughout the journey of the course, many of our stories and story telling strategies have evolved.  In just the four short months we have been together, the class has managed to write four papers and prepare a presentation based on knowledge gained from the course.  The topics for the papers and presentation have all been open ended, based loosely upon the section of the course that we were in at the time.  All students were give opportunities to write about whatever they pleased.  Except for the first paper, when students were given the opportunity to share what topic they would like to write about, individual paper topics were not discussed.  The lack of the discussion gave the class full range to write what their hearts desired and not be influenced by the topic picked by a peer.

Elise Niemeyer's picture

Story-making and “The Crack”

In the realm of “Loopy Science” the summary of observations used to make stories constitutes a fundamental aspect of the scientific process.  However, what may be even more important is the “crack” of personal bias and culture through which this process operates.  The same can be said about literature, which is influenced perhaps even more heavily by the “crack.”  Many of the same factors are at work in both fields, influencing their generativity and the theories, discoveries, and stories that are produced.  Nothing can be created in a vacuum, and analysis of the personal and cultural influences on both scientific and literary stories can lead to a creating understanding of the story-making process itself.

Kristin Jenkins's picture

Mind Wide Open - A Book Review

          As biology major, I walked into Paul Grobstein’s Neurobiology and Behavior at the beginning of the semester expecting 3 hours a week of neurons, hormones, and lots of pictures of brains. Naturally, I became confused when Emily Dickinson was the topic of conversation of the first day. Well that’s odd, I thought, but surely next class we’ll begin the real neuroscience. Yet, here I am, at the end of the semester, and I feel as though my “real neuroscience” was all a distant fantasy. I never had to buy an expensive textbook, and I never had to memorize countless regions of the brain. Instead I chose my own homework and paper topics, and researched and discussed the neuroscience that interested me the most. Instead of remembering how bored I was sitting through a series of slides, I remember being engaged in lively arguments and heated discussions.

LS's picture

E True Hollywood Stories: The Three Little Pigs

As I sat down on Thursday night before dinner, I flipped on the TV, wanting to let my mind drift away while some mind numbing TV entertainment news informed me of the latest gossip.  E True Hollywood Stories never fails to let me down, so I turned it on and awaited the familiar theme music…

“Hello, I am Suzy Sanders and thank you for watching E True Hollywood Stories!  For you Hollywood viewers at home we have a very special story for you tonight, the true story of the three little pigs…”  Ugh, I sighed. Another over dramatized television special.  I almost turned the television off, but for some reason though better of it. 

ekorn's picture

The Different Sides of Emily

The Old Me

   To some degree in this universe truths exist. If there were no truths, then life as we know it would be impossible. We inevitably must accept that often these truths stem from what we as human beings can witness. Additionally, we know beyond doubt that there are things in this universe that we do not personally witness, but are true non-the-less (for instance, at the beginning of our lifetime we are born, and though we cannot witness this event our existence alone refutes any other logic). In my experience, as a believer, I have never questioned anything around me; neither that which I have been told, that which is tangible, nor that which I have indeed witnessed.

Tu-Anh Vu's picture

The Evolutionary Basis of Sleep

Darwin’s evolution theory revolves around the concept of natural selection.  Natural selection can be seen as a process of elimination.  The quote from Herbert Spencer, “the survival of the fittest” is relevant to the explanation of natural selection.  Offspring that will survive to the next generation are those who possess characteristics or phenotypes that are particularly well adapted to the current environmental conditions.  Therefore the term, “the fittest,” refers to individuals who are capable of coping with the challenges of their environment and in competing with other members of their populations will have the best chance to survive and pass on their genes.  Natural selection eliminates individuals who lack particular attributes that would make them more superior to others are selected against.  Adaptation is what makes individuals superior.  The definition for adaptation is a property that an organism possesses, which could be physiological or behavior traits, of which assists the individual in the struggle for existence.[1]  Some traits that individuals possess will become extinct with time due to the process of natural selection’s elimination of maladaptive traits.             

cevans's picture

Intention in Science

Science, the processes of the natural world, they are without intention. Biological Evolution, the rules of the universe, the properties of the elements, these are all forces without intention. However the way in which humanity understands all of these natural things is very far from being objective or without intention. The human scientific process is tailored to a human experience of the world, the measurements we take and the units that we use are all things that can be understood with the human senses. All of the tests that scientists conduct are tailored to humanities sensory organs, so all the experiments scientists make are made with the intent that the results can be understood using the human senses. This is very useful because if this wasn’t the way things were done there would be no way for us to understand our own experiments but it does mean that all science is done with that intent. That is not the only intentionality surrounding the scientific process however, science is always done with the intent of answering a hypothesis, and this is so the results obtained by experiments are meaningful to humans. It would be very difficult to convince a scientist to conduct an experiment without any intention as to what the results would be or what exactly they were trying to disprove. If there was no intention than the experiment would only be an example of Nature’s random laws and not a demonstration of something that had been quantified by human scientists or of something they were hoping to quantify. A quote from Robert Pollack’s The Missing Moment puts it much more elegantly than I ever could “No scientist…has time to look at all the data that all possible experiments might generate…Instead, every science chooses selectively all the time, and with each choice some data are precisely not gathered, let alone examined. Choices are necessary, and it is at the moment when choices are made that the scientific method departs from the wholly conscious tool of scientific experimentation and enters the human world in which all choices are made in a personal and social historical context, replete with emotional affects and barely remembered feelings.”(81).

J Shafagh's picture

Spoken Word Performance: Understanding Reality





Somewhere out there we have

the truth:

An untouchable entity

we will never fully grasp.

That which happens

really does happen.

The sandwich has been eaten. The crumbs have fallen.

J Shafagh's picture

Final Class Summary and Evaluation

                The original reason I had signed up for this course was so that I could take an evolution class that was integrated with a literature class.  Being a Pre-Med, Biology major, my mind has become wired to be able to understand things that are “true” and real, and that will have significance in my life.  For example, I enjoy taking science and math classes, such as Calculus, Physics, Biology, etc. for I believe that they have specific methodologies, procedures, formulas and mechanisms that one must memorize and learn to be real.  To me, they are the truth, for they can quantitatively and qualitatively be set before me and applied into my life and also in medicine to make a significant impact on others’ lives in the world.  However, taking this course and discussing the idea of evolution as merely another story of the origins of life was disturbing.  The beginning parts of the course were very interesting, and I loved getting into the Biology portion of Evolution and rethinking through some of the concepts that I had not looked at in quite some time.  At this point, the most valuable thing I could take from class was to realize that evolution really was just another story in our quest for finding truth and reality in life.  I also realized that medicine and certain topics in Biology were also merely stories that were getting things less wrong, and I became comfortable with this idea over time.

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