Story of Evolution and Evolution of Stories course

ckosarek's picture

Making a good story: "De-Evolution"

 In 2008, Korn put out a music video that staged an argument for "de-evolution." In light of our discussion in today's class, I think that even in the context of having new "scientific" observations, it is still possible to create an argument - or story - for or against any possible position on an issue. I'm wondering if Darwin had been a religious fanatic (or less science-minded, or whatever) if he could have reconciled his observations in another (maybe even contrary) argument to the one that he poses in Origin.

Dawn's picture

The Evolution of "Evolution (n.)"

It may be worthwhile to consider the evolution of the term: evolution. I decided to consult the OED to see what’s out there. Some of the following definitions are rare, even obsolete now, but they can be useful in understanding where our current understanding of the word comes from. They can help us “make sense of it” and come up with our own stories. Overall, evolution is quite the interdisciplinary word. There are multiple good stories of evolution.


Evolution, n.


mgz24's picture

Week 1

 The one topic from the last class that I have been thinking a lot about has been the discussion on the objectivity (or lack thereof) of science.  At first I was very opposed to the discussion that we were having about how subjective science really is.  I was thinking specifically of certain tests, for instance an NMR test.  In one of these tests I would interpret the results the same way any other chemist in the world would.  I felt that in our class discussion we were talking about science in too broad of terms, because I still believe that there are many fields in science that are truly objective.  Then this weekend my views were even further played with by a New Yorker article that I was reading for another Biology class.

OrganizedKhaos's picture

The Only Thing That's Constant is Change

     I found this first week of discussion very interesting. As we continued the discussion on evolution as a way of being, I found many questions forming in my head. I understand the importance the role of history plays in explanations for why things are here, but I find more comfort in the idea that history cannot explain everything and that chance, opportunity and maybe even destiny are explanations for some occurrences. One example, we talked about was how we as individuals got here. Though there is a story or "history" that may explain how my parents met, got married, etc. The first answer off the top of my head was "by chance".

vlopez's picture

Week 1 Evolution

I am a firm believer of evolution.  To me it seems like the most natural thing in the world; we see it everyday with breeders, medicine, etc.  Evolution is a matter of change, whether in a positive direction or in a negative direction, in all living and non-living things.  Living creatures have been changing in order to adapt to their environment throughout the course of time, whether it is naturally or manipulated.  Naturally, we can use the example of the finches in the Galapagos Islands.  When climate changes occur, some species are more favorable than other; therefore, the favorable finches beat the unfavorable ones, hence changes within the finch species.  Manipulated evolution can be seen with breeders.  Many horse trainers study closely the diff

senior11z's picture

Week 1 Reaction

 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.

Lethologica's picture

Week 1: The Question of Truth

 What is Truth? Note the capital, as perhaps that's a hint. It has been called many things, as far as I am aware. It has been called, absolute, eternal, ultimate, impossible. Some might consider it to be the final word to end all arguments, 'this is the truth and so it must be.' Some might consider it to be synonymous with Fact, something to be trusted implicitly. Yet others will simply say that it is an impossible value, one that cannot exist. While I can appreciate all of these arguments, I find myself holding firmly to another theory altogether. Truth is a name. It is a human construction, designed to describe one's own, personal, beliefs.

Cremisi's picture

Week One thoughts

From all the discussion and statements uttered during the first two days, one quote in particular stuck out to me. Professor Grobstein said something along the lines, "In the movies, you see the scientist running out of the room screaming 'I was right! I was right!' in elation. What scientists want to prove most is that what they were thinking--and what everyone else in the world was thinking--was wrong. This statement made me incredibly happy. It gave me his feeling that I usually get when I am about to go on a long vacation to a new town in a different state, as though life is moving around me at a barreling pace, and whisks me along in a hopeful and caring wind. However, this feeling ended very soon.

rachelr's picture

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill

 There are so many different levels of "the truth." There is what we consider to be unmoving, constant truths that are primarily based on life experience (the sun will rise in the morning, if I burn myself it will hurt); there are more individual truths based on belief (there is a God, there is something after life here on Earth); there are also truths of personal interpretation (no two recollections of an event are identical, each person has their own lens of processing). And we use the same word- truth, which Paul tells us actually doesn't exist- to describe all of these things. The "truth" is very central to our society and culture.

ashley's picture

Week 1 Thoughts

One of the things that I found most intriguing was this idea that there is no such thing as truth. But I guess that really only pertains to that which is related to science. I was seeing "truth" in its broader spectrum of everyday usage, but in those instances, such as when it correlates to honesty, I would claim that there is such a thing as truth. For an individual, in situations that they themselves live through, there can be a definite yes or no statement relevant to the situation in which something can be proved.

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