"Evolution / Creationism" Essays

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Evolution Creationism Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,159 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4

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Evolution and Creationism

In the early 1920's the older Victorians, called Traditionalists, became alarmed at the social chaos they found in society, with Intellectualism, women beginning to feel less restricted, with jazz, dancing the Charleston, smoking, drinking, flaunting prohibition, abstract art, Freudian psychology and no one asking permission to do anything. The Traditionalists felt that everything valuable was slipping away. A wave of Revivalism swept the South to counteract Modernism and Intellectualism. There was conflict between the liberals and the conservatives in society, between the Evolutionists and the Fundamentalists. Things came to a head in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, when John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, was tried for teaching the theory of evolution. The trial was widely covered by the most famous broadcasters in the nation. In the trial, also called the "Scopes Monkey Trial," it was decided that it would be legal to teach evolution in the public schools. (Futuyma, 1982)

More recently, "Creationists" have brought up the issue again, trying to get a religious theory accepted back into the public school curriculum. The Fundamentalists want "Intelligent Design" taught in the classrooms, rather than "Darwinism," a term meaning "Evolution," which is now the dominating theory espoused by science teachers and biologists. (Darwin 1962) Today, the social scene is similar to the 1920's, in that Fundamentalists are alarmed at the apparent licentiousness in society today. Young people seem to be out of control, the nation seems to be moving away from its roots, the core American family is hard to find and religion is on the wane as fewer and fewer people go to church. The Neo-Creationists, however, are not like their forbearers in that they do not believe in a young earth (only a few thousand years old) or in a literal interpretation of the Bible. These Fundamentalists simply reject naturalism, as opposed to supernaturalism in the beginning of life, and oppose an atheistic "scientific method" as the means of natural selection and other scientific phenomena. They want religion to be an alternative choice for young people who study the universe.

Darwin is described by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as:

distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates 'Darwin's Darwinism' in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change. (Darwinism, 2004)

Darwin was a man who travelled the world observing biolog in plants and animals. As he travelled and observed, he found he was dealing with a mechanism of natural selection, as some species were able to survive in certain environments while others died out, but were those that died out were still able to in kinder environments. This observation grew into his theory of Natural Selection, in… [read more]


Evolution vs. Creationism Biological Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,129 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+

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Most people view religion as based on faith rather than fact and anything that can concretely disprove the creation of the world and of man, as Creationists believe, will destroy the entire foundation of religion itself. While the evolution theory concerns itself only with how life on Earth has progressed and varied since the first life form, Creationists have targeted more than one feature of the theory: first, that man and ape had a common ancestor (Bakke); then that the questionable use of the word "theory" and, later, of evolution as a concept itself. And recently, the Pope released a statement that evolution is, after all, not in conflict with the Church's teaching about creation.

It must also be pointed out that the evolution theory as a theory is not a mere guess or speculation, but a fundamental one, which is sufficiently backed by empirical or demonstrable evidence.

Even the law upholds the evolution theory. It will be remembered that the teaching of the theory was outlawed in Tennessee in the 1920s, through the Scopes trial. Then in the 1970s and the 1980s, laws were made, requiring the teaching of science in more than 20 states, but only Arkansas and Louisiana passed these laws. Later, a federal district court overturned this law in 1982 and the U.S. Supreme Court did the same to the Louisiana law in 1987, which required that evolution be taught only with a "balanced treatment" of the creation theory (youdebate.com). It decided that creationism is not a science and, therefore, cannot be taught in public schools as an alternative, or in addition, to the theory of evolution. It, however, allowed religious creation stories in philosophy, religion and history (O'Neill).

In effect, this Supreme Court ruling could neither prevent public schools from teaching the creation theory nor ban the teaching of the evolution theory. Both subjects are taken off the standard tests of public schools, and the local school board decides what should be taught (youdebate.com).

The basis of this ruling was what Nobel Prize winner-scientist Linus Pauling said about science: that it is the search for truth and that what science does is to continuously explore and compare theories in an objective manner, using evidence drawn from the natural world. He emphasized that, when a particular theory fails to conform to evidence, it is either modified or rejected in favor of another theory that conforms. The series of constantly trying assumptions and either accepting or rejecting them is what makes scientific knowledge and understanding grow through time. This test cannot be performed on religion and its assumptions and thus cannot arrive at a concrete, objective understanding of the natural world.

Bibliography

1. Bakke, Mark. Philosophy/Evolution vs. Creationism. EarthLink Network.

Philosophy of Life. (accessed 28-02-03). http://home.earthlink.net/~mbakke1/evolcrea.htm

2. Cable News Network. Evolutionary Biologist Don Waller on Creationism vs. Evolution in Schools. CNN.com LP, LLP: AOL Time Warner Company, 2003

3. O'Neill, Dennis. Early Theories of Evolution: Evidence of Evolution.

A accessed 28-02-03). http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_3/htm

4. Youdebate.com. Creationism vs. Evolution.… [read more]


Creationism vs. Evolution in Public Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (414 words)
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However upon reading the Bible, the first stated verse reads that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ....: (Holy Bible Scripture)

Summary and Conclusion

The element that must be allowed due consideration is that the first seven days, or the first week on earth was most likely not a series of seven days that were 24-hours long. Secondly, when attempting to understand such factors as some are not meant to understand or alternately are incapable of understand have no ability to grasp the omnipotent and powerful presence of God who both the actions of human being as well as the very thoughts in their mind. Perhaps it is something in the individual's environment or influences in their upbringing such as the church they attended or the teachings or lack of being taught by parents, teachers and the community at large. Each individual knows within that there is something that inherently connects the two differential but very possibly compatible view of how the earth and life as it is know to humans in…… [read more]


Evolution in 1987, the Supreme Court Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (870 words)
Bibliography Sources: 10

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¶ … Evolution

In 1987, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Edwards v. Aquillard. That case was seminal in its importance to the idea of the teaching of Evolutionary theory in the public schools. Since the 1920s, the U.S. Education System has wavered regarding the teaching of creationism vs. evolution in the public schools. In the 1960s, new scientific and teaching standards fueled the debate. Many conservative states attempted to force through legislation that would require the teaching of creationism along with Darwinian evolution. In the early 1980s, a Louisiana law, titled the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science in Public School Instruction Act" prohibited teaching evolution unless it was accompanied by a balanced approach in teaching creationism. This essentially forced schools to teach a Biblical belief that life arose abruptly according to Genesis if the school wished to integrate evolution into the classroom.

Louisiana Governor Edwards argued that it did not force the teaching of creationism, but simply required that if evolution was taught, creationism should be taught as well, forming a balanced curriculum. In support of Aquillard, 72 Nobel scientists, 17 state academies of science, and 7 other scientific organizations filed amicus briefs positing that evolution was a scientific theory while creationism a non-scientific explanation based on faith. The Aquillard side did not demean of underhandedly critique the teaching of creationism, but remained convinced that teaching a Biblical theory violated the Constitutional separation of Church and State.

In a 7 to 2 vote the Court ruled against Louisiana and held that the State law did indeed violate the Constitution. Using the Lemon test, the court argued that Louisiana's law failed on all points of the law: First, it was not enacted to test secular purpose. Second, the primary effect of State law was to advance a viewpoint that an advanced being created the universe and it was a series of chemical reactions that occurred to stir life, amid a process of slow change over time to allow species to develop. Further, the Court found that despite the verbiage, the Louisiana law did not protect academic freedom, but in turn required religious beliefs to be introduced into the classroom since modern biology relies on learning evolution as a concept. Dissenting Judges Scalia and Rehnquist wrote that students should be allowed to make up their own minds about topics such as this. This case had a great effect on the American creationist movement, who now sought to redefine and package its views as "Creation Science," even though there is no science involved. It also contributed to an upsurge in the antipathy between evolutionists and…… [read more]


Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Research Paper

Research Paper  |  10 pages (3,309 words)
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Natural selection can be a difficult process to define because it has to explain how each adaptation has evolved from prior adaptations. Moreover, natural selection demonstrates how animals have become better suited for their environments; there is no devolution, because adaptations will only be naturally selected if they improve the reproductive opportunities of animals with those mutations (Coyne, p.120).

One… [read more]


Evolution and Creationism Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (3,016 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+

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It has been concluded, as a result, that belief in evolution affects the actions of children just as much as they affect an elder's. Erratic behavior in students is usually attributed to such beliefs especially when in absence of an absolute code of ethics; they choose to take a human life. The Kansas State Board of Education prohibited any reference… [read more]


Only a Theory Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul by Kenneth R. Miller Research Paper

Research Paper  |  6 pages (2,073 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 2

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Miller Evolution

Miller's Theory of Evolution

Perhaps most significantly among thinkers on the subject of 'natural selection', Darwin's seminal works touched inherently upon so many disciplines as to bear applicable interpretations in nearly any context. His update of the evolutionary principles which preceded him brought to the fore of academic discourse a widespread reconsideration of the nature of life. Particularly,… [read more]


Origin of Life Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,560 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 5

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Evolution -- id

EVOLUTION vs. INTELLIGENT DESIGN

According to Stanley a. Rice, associate professor of biology at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the term evolution can best be defined as a process which involves many different kinds of change, usually gradual changes related to what is known as adaptation which refers to "genetic changes over time in populations of organisms" (150),… [read more]


Intelligent Design, Evolution Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (2,283 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4

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Intelligent Design, Evolution

INTELLIGENT DESIGN vs. EVOLUTION

One of the major issues concerning evolution and speciation -- or, rather, how the flora and fauna that we see around us came to be, starting from species that are largely now extinct -- is the process or mechanism by which they occurred.

Intelligent Design advocates believe that the evolved species that we… [read more]


Intelligent Design and Evolution Theory Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (693 words)
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Intelligent Design vs. Evolution

Arguing for Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design (ID) is a process that advocates believe explains the features of the universe. In the theory of ID, the features of the universe had to have been created by an intelligent source, "…not [by] an undirected process such as natural selection," according to the Center for Science & Culture. By analyzing the components of a system, a scientist can theorize as to whether the "natural structures" seen in the universe are the product of natural law, pure chance, or intelligent design -- or perhaps a combination of all three. Scientists working with the ID theory are always searching for objects that have similar properties as other objects found that do indeed provide information on their intelligent origins.

Unlike creationism, ID does not claim that "…modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural"; and moreover, the "scientific method" known as intelligent design involves observations, hypothesis, experiments and conclusions, like any other scientific method of research (Discovery Institute).

There can be no argument to negate ID when observing the eye of a snapping turtle for example; the turtle's eye could not have evolved in a "stepwise fashion" because it is made of several interacting parts, and removing one part among the several would "cause the entire system to cease functioning" (Discovery Institute). The eye of the turtle must have been created at one time. As for the Cambrian explosion 530 million years ago, there was a sudden appearance of biological diversity that could not possibly have appeared in a step-by-step process such as Darwin described. For example, the predatory Anomalocaris (a large, aggressive shrimp-like creature) appeared (according to fossil records) in a very short time frame. How can evolutionists explain the sudden appearance of the Anomalocaris?

Arguing for Evolution

First of all, with regard to the eye of the snapping turtle, and other vertebrates, Don Prothero, a paleontologist at Occidental College and an author of books on evolution, claims there have been "multiple, well-documented" empirical research papers that show how "complex structures like…… [read more]


Theory of Evolution Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,577 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+

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¶ … Evolution

The concept of evolution embodies the belief that existing animals and plants developed through a process of gradual and continuous change from previously existing forms (Evolution pp). Also known as descent with modification, this theory constitutes organic evolution, while inorganic evolution is concerned with the development of the physical universe from unorganized matter (Evolution pp). As opposed… [read more]


Scientific Creationism Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,528 words)
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¶ … Henry M. Morris' book Scientific Creationism that are controversial, adversarial, enlightening and intriguing. Though the book was written to explain how the beliefs of those who state that the earth was created by a superior being and those who belief in evolution are compatible, instead of explaining that compatibility to the satisfaction of all those involved, it opens… [read more]


Response to Creation and Evolution Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (640 words)
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¶ … Evolution

Few topics stir more passionate debates than the theories of evolution and creationism. However, there are atheistic evolutionists and there are theistic evolutionists, who accept a compromise between creationism and evolutionism.(Evolution). In its true form, evolution explains that the universe is the result of random accidents, in which life arose through chemical processes, meaning that all life-forms, from fruit to flowers, animals to humans, share a common ancestor.(Evolution). This theory includes topics that range from chemistry to astronomy to biology that are responsible for the creation of the universe (Evolution).

From the Big Bang theory has emerged the Inflationary Universe Theories, which include approximately fifty different variants, although generally they all claim that in the beginning there was nothing and then suddenly a "singularity" appeared and exploded, laying the foundation for basic evolution (Evolution). However, for all these theories, none can claim to be the true explanation of the universe, and none can answer what was there before there was "nothing" or what or where the "nothing" originated.

According to a 2004 Gallup Poll, forty-five percent of Americans believe that God created human beings, approximately 10,000 years ago, while some thirty percent believe that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a well-supported theory, another third believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and is taken literally, word for word (Vitaska 2005).

According to the Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, "creation is to bring into being or form out of nothing," something that humans cannot accomplish (Redditch 2002). This is the typical argument presented by creationists, who somehow relate evolution to a man-made event. However, theory of evolution is just as mysterious as the theory of creation, both are attributed to an event that simply "happens," whether by God's divine order, or simply by a cosmic event, yet in each, man is the eventual outcome, not the reason or cause.

Many advocates of creationism believe that…… [read more]


Evolution in the Book Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (640 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1

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According to this idea, God created man and then women out of Adam's rib. There is no scientific proof behind this viewpoint because it is not based on any scientific evidence. It is instead a theory based on the religious teachings of people.

Not just animals are prone to evolution and adaptation, but so is the larger world on the whole. Humans of course can evolve and have done so from millennia. In addition plants can survive if they are attempting to be grown in an area which has proven to inhospitable to them. A cactus, for example, is grown in the desert but has needed to adapt to drink less water in order to survive in this hash climate. If the plant did not have the ability to do this, then it would very quickly die.

Even the large world has been proven to change, to break apart, and to move away. It is believed that the world was once part of a whole, unified continent which is now known as Pangaea. On this continent, all the lands were connected. However, due to the separation of the continents there are now seven distinct continents as they are known today. The theory of Plate Tectonics discussed how the continents, due to earth activity such as earthquakes or flood, has created seven distinct localities. What is more, on the different continents, fossils from the same historic period have been located in countries and continents around the globe, indicating that the animals had once lived in the same vicinity. Through each rock layer, anthropologists and geologists have indicated how long a certain animal have been deceased in each part. Similarities in the parts indicate pairs of fossils, giving evidence to both sides of the tectonic myth.

Works Cited:

Dawkins, R. (2009). The Greatest Show on Earth: the Evidence for Evolution. Free…… [read more]


Which One Science or Religion Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,397 words)
Bibliography Sources: 7

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Religion has been on the losing side of a prolonged conflict with the secular world for the past two centuries. However, since the September 11 attacks by Muslim terrorists at the World Trade Center, religious terrorism has been regarded as the most dangerous threat to the Western world since the Soviet Union. Countless political leaders, scholars, and journalists criticized the aggressive Islamic fundamentalist doctrines which guided these Jihadist warriors into their suicide missions.

Many intellectuals drew parallels between the purification mission of Islamic fundamentalists and the apocalyptic obsessions of the U.S.'s own fundamentalist evangelicals, some of which were in important government office. Indeed, it appeared that religious fundamentalists from Christianity, Islam, and Judaism had hijacked important government offices, possibly bringing about the decline of Western Civilization into another Dark Age and reversing the tremendous gains made by the intellectuals and scientists of the Western World.

Review of Sources

The essays below all involve a science-religion dispute of some sort but focus on different aspects of it. Ruse, Demere/Walsh and Glynn all address the most controversial recent debate in the science-religion conflict: the validity and value of Creationism as a scientific theory. Begley addresses a much more abstract issue which is the convergence of science and religion in the nature of their inquiries. Finally, Zindler addresses the effect of Evangelical Christian doctrine on its adherents' decisions by analyzing the many follies of former President George W. Bush.

a. Michael Ruse -- Evolution and Creationism Both Contribute to Human Understanding

Ruse argues that science and religion, through constructive dialogue, could moderate the excesses of each other. Religion can moderate the hubris of scientific ambition and science can explain the technical workings of the universe. His most compelling piece of support in favor of Religion is Augustine's theory of creation, the metaphor of God planting seeds which were to grow living beings and populate the Earth. Evolutionism and Creationism are possibly compatible as he suggested with his reference to Augustine's "seed" metaphor.

b. Sharon Begley -- Both Religion and Science Can Reveal Life

Begley argues that science has reached the point where it is starting to ask the same questions that religion has been asking for millennia. Some areas of science have encountered phenomena for which they do not have the tools to explain, such as Einstein's discovery of the "spooky" processes of particles in the field of Quantum Mechanics. These discoveries alarm scientists because they defy, or at least complicate, many fundamental laws of the universe long considered absolute by the scientific community. Conversely, unexpected discoveries in the fields of astronomy and cosmology are helping us to make sense of our existence in the universe, providing valuable "solace and support" in an increasingly threatening universe.

c. Frank R. Zindler -- Religion Harms America

Zindler argues that Religion is harming America through the hand of George Bush, who is the epitome of the Evangelical Christian and who just happens to be President of the United States of America. Williams credits Evangelical Christianity as… [read more]


Convergent Evolution Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (559 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3

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Convergent Evolution

Throughout nature, many organisms can be found that exhibit highly similar characteristics. The bones found in the human hand are similar to those in the pectoral fins of whales and those in the wings of a bat, for example. This is an example of divergent evolution -- all of these structure have the same root in evolutionary history, and developed into different arts as the various organisms grew apart from each other. Another process that takes place in evolution, and that is in many ways even more surprising and compelling, is convergent evolution. This refers to similar structures developing in evolutionary separate sources, or "the development of similar characteristics by taxonomically different organisms" (WGBH 2010). Unlike the similar but different characteristics of hands, fins, and wings, convergent evolution leads to characteristics that are far more similar, but develop from far different evolutionary sources.

One recently discovered example of convergent evolution exists in the White Sands desert of New Mexico. Here, researchers have found three varieties of lizard whose species exist in dark-formed varieties across most of the Southwestern United States, but that are basically white-skinned in the desert (Fountain 2010). The three lizard species have been evolutionarily distinct from each other for some time, but each species developed the same characteristic -- i.e. white skin -- in the six-thousand years or so that have passed since the deserts of this area became white. These lizards are a clear example of convergent evolution, as the same characteristics appeared in a very short evolutionary time period from three completely separate taxonomic branches of the evolutionary tree.

Another example of convergence comes from butterfly wing pattern mimics of their surroundings.…… [read more]


Darwinian Evolution Tragedy of the Commons Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (608 words)
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Darwinian Finance

The Evolution of a Financial Crisis

Not a day has passed in the last several months that some news regarding the current global financial crisis has been released. The situation is still the primary focus of all major media outlets, and is also at the forefront of many individuals' minds. At the heart of the focus on this situation is the search for someone or something clear to blame for the sudden collapse of the global economy. This clarity will most likely never emerge, however. The causes and effects of such a situation are enormously complex, and can never be truly known with any certainty. That does not mean that there aren't useful ways to understand the situation though. One way to view the issue is as an example -- non-traditional, perhaps, but relevant nonetheless -- of Darwinian evolution through natural selection. Before such a paradigm can be applied to an economic situation, however, a basic understanding of the principles upon which Darwin (and most of the scientific community) believed the evolution of a species -- that is, a certain organism filling a specific niche in an ecosystem -- was effected.

Darwin, incorporating Malthus' theory of population growth into his own observations, believed that evolution took place over time with minor changes in each generation due to natural selection. All members of a species in a given area will enter competition when the resources needed for survival are limited. Furthermore, he theorized (with help from Malthus) that populations would continue to grow until available resources were not enough to support them all. It is here that selection takes over; different attributes of given individuals within a certain population of a species will have greater or lesser advantages at obtaining food, defending themselves against predators, and/or attracting a mate, all of which affect…… [read more]


Pierre Teilhard's Understanding of Evolution Links Christian Essay

Essay  |  1 pages (367 words)
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¶ … Pierre Teilhard's understanding of evolution links Christian and scientific understandings?

Rather than seeing Christianity and science as fundamentally incompatible, the Catholic theological Pierre Teilhard attempted to link the two in his understanding of material and human complexity and consciousness. Tielhard believed that the universe by its very nature had a tendency to strive to become more complex, as manifested in evolutionary evidence. In other words, from protozoa to patterns in mammal development, species evolve into more complex systems, which create the appearance and reality of an evolution of species. There is a divine impetus in this greater complexity that is reflected both in the Bible and in scientific records that justify Darwin's theory of evolution, such as fossil records. Human thought, in parallel and in consort with human biology (including human brain development and because of God's spiritual design) also grows more complex in its thought patterns and consciousness. The evidence of God is this pulling of humanity into greater complexity in the form of an as Omega Point.

What about his thought may be most difficult?

One of the more…… [read more]


Mosaic Evolution of Early Mammals Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (996 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1

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Evolution

Luo, Z., Chen, P., Li, G., Chen, G. & Chen, M. "A New Eutriconodont Mammal and Evolutionary Development in Early Mammals." Nature, (2007) Vol 446; 288-293

Evolutionary research tells us that one of the keystones in the development of modern mammals was the adaptation over the millennia of the mammalian middle ear. The theory being that as the species evolved from its reptilian origins, the delicate bones of the middle ear made the transition from the reptilian lower jawbone and evolved into what we now know as the three small bones in the middle ear. They are the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus) and stirrup (stapes) which are connected to one another in what anatomist term the ossicular chain. While this transition has been theorized about, for the first time a fossil has been found that actually shows signs of the transitional period occurring. This fossil also presents similar transitions occurring in lower lumbar vertebra and thoracic vertebra of the spinal column, another hallmark of mammalian evolution.

This fossil is Yanoconodon allini gen, Class Mammalia, Order Eutriconodonta,

Family Jeholodentidae, or know by his friends as just Yanoconodon. Named for the Yan mountain range in China where he was discovered, and condon which is a typical suffix associated with the naming early mammals referring to the teeth, Yanoconodon is a very tiny mammalian ancestor that lived during the Jurassic period. Weighing in at around 2 grams and about 20 to 30 centimeters long, it is extremely rare that any fossils have survived intact.

The researchers meticulously examined this fossil, which is imbedded in a slab of siltstone and fastidiously mapped all the bone structures. There were certain missing portions so some approximations had to be made regarding those areas, but none that would have impeded the validity of their research. After analyzing all of the dental and skeletal characters of Yanoconodon the researcher determine its place along the chain of evolution and cite it as a close relative of species known as Jeholodens. By doing so they can then make further assumptions regarding its mammalian characteristic and its place in the evolutionary transition of mammals. Jeholodens had some characteristics of early reptiles such as well-muscled and broad rear legs, but its front legs were beneath its belly as in modern mammals. More than likely with this configuration it was able to maintain an upright posture at times, another mammalian transitional trait. This point goes to further demonstrate the reasoning behind another find in the species Yanoconodon, that of the changing vertebrae and spinal structure during this period of mammalian evolution.

The results of their thorough examination of Yanoconodon showed some very tantalizing evidence of a transitional species development from reptile to mammal that had not been seen before. The authors themselves do not explicitly say they have found a "missing link," though they do imply it has that kind of importance. Other researchers are debating the point but they all seem to agree that finding this transitional mammal has…… [read more]


Evolution as Presented by Charles Darwin Term Paper

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¶ … evolution as presented by Charles Darwin is based on three dynamics: natural selection, competition, and descent with modification. Descent with modification describes how species change, competition describes the pressure to change, and natural selection describes what changes occur.

This abstract makes the claim that natural selection, the process by which animals carrying reproductively beneficial traits slowly alter the genotype of a population by competing successfully, favors those species which are able to effectively adapt to a wide range of environmental changes. These genotypic advantages are obtained through descent with modification, which refers to minor mutations within a species that occasionally produce traits that improve on the "original" species.

The abstract goes on to make the claim that the more modification has occurred, the more fit the organism will be and hence the more favored by natural selection. This is because the changes produced by natural selection under competitive pressure will encourage changes that enable the organism to better adapt to its environment.

Finally, the abstract concludes by explaining that descent with modification produces a lineage of ancestry, so that closely related organisms can trace their lineage back to a common ancestor. The more closely related they are, the closer their common ancestor will be in terms of generations.

Critique

This abstract seems to make the common mistake of personifying evolution. A mindset that thinks of nature as "encouraging" or "trying" to produce a result is…… [read more]


Evolution vs. Creation. One Can Imagine Article Critique

Article Critique  |  4 pages (1,229 words)
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¶ … evolution vs. creation. One can imagine how Charles Darwin stirred things up when he developed his theory, considering that the controversy is still so hot today. Recently, Carl Zimmer wrote "A Fin is a Limb is a Wing" for National Geographic, which included an up-to-date look at life's complexity. Biologists are starting to understand how complex structures developed step-by-step from the simplest beginnings. That is, how a gene for a limb in a bat's mole-like predecessor turned a hand into a wing and finally a mammal into the air. Zimmer's article was barely out to readers when Casey Luskin who supports Intelligent Design had written his rebuttal. Intelligent Design believes that nature is too creative to be a natural occurrence, it had to be designed by a more intelligent begin.

It is no wonder that Luskin wrote his comments so quickly. Most of Zimmer's article is a thorough, well-researched and written piece for National Geographic readers -- those individuals who are interested in the sciences and environment, but do not want a highly academic piece with a great deal of jargon and scientific formula. The question, then, is why did Zimmer start out his article with a jab at the Creationists? It could have clearly stood as a well-rounded piece without waving the red flag in front of the bull.

There are several types of articles written for magazines and newspapers -- the news item, the feature article and the editorial to name the major ones. The best journalism is when one does form not fall into the other. News mixed with innuendo cannot be seen as credible -- for who knows what is actually factual and what is assumption? On the other hand, a feature story is a detailed presentation of facts that appears in an interesting form for the purpose of entertaining or informing the average person. Rather than give the opinion of the writer, it weaves together the comments of those who are interviewed. It aims to supplement the bare facts of the news report by giving more detailed information regarding the persons, places, and circumstances that appear in the news column. Once the author's opinion is expressed, then it starts to become an editorial or personal essay. Obviously, the reader can often determine the bias of the publication (and the writer) by who is interviewed and these individuals' comments. However, it is the interviewees' comments, not the writer's that are expressed.

It is not that Zimmer actually writes, "These inane Creationists. What are they thinking?" It is rather that he starts the article off with the debate of evolution vs. creationism and then proceeds on the next 24 pages to show all the reasons that evolution is a working process.

Analyzing the article, there is the introductory two paragraphs that aptly provide the interest and reason for the piece: Readers know now that they will be reading how scientists are learning increasingly more about the complexity of animals. These two paragraphs then lead into… [read more]


Human Evolution Is the Origin Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (668 words)
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Neanderthals skeleto-muscular system indicates that the species was robust and heavily muscled; distinctive facial features are characterized by a protruding mid-facial region. Though Neanderthals' heights are comparable those of modern humans, analysis of the Neanderthal pelvic bones indicates that Neanderthals pelvic bones were significantly longer than those of modern humans.

There are several conflicting hypotheses have been formulated in an attempt to explain the extinction and/or disappearance of Neanderthals. One such hypothesis formulated insinuates that Neanderthals became extinct due to climate changes or interaction with humans. It is also believed that Neanderthals interbred with H. sapiens and disappeared through absorption. Another hypothesis is that the Neanderthal disappeared due to a major natural disaster such as the Campanian ignimbrite volcanic super-eruption.

It is believed that modern humans' extended maturation may be an advantageous factor over Neanderthals. This extended maturation may have facilitated learning and complex cognition. Furthermore, evidence has been produced to indicate that overall development in Neanderthals was significantly faster than that in H. sapiens.

Modern scientific and anthropological discoveries continue to contribute to the study and understanding of Neanderthals as a society and a species or sub-species. Though differing perspectives on how Neanderthals lived and died will continue to arise, these differing opinions provide insight into how Neanderthals may have lived.

Works Cited:

Bradt, Steve. "Analysis of Teeth Suggests Modern Humans Mature More Slowly Than

Neanderthals Did." Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Web. Accessed 4 May 2011. Retrieved from < http://www.fas.harvard.edu/home/content/analysis-teeth-suggests-modern-humans-mature-more-slowly-neanderthals-did>

Evans, Laurence. "Neanderthals (Homo sapiens neandertalensis)." Nature's Holism. 17 October

2009. Web. Accessed 4 May 2011. Retrieved from

Hall, Stephen S. "Last of the Neanderthals." National Geographic Online. October 2008. Web.

Accessed 4 May 2011. Retrieved from

Wong, Kate. "Neandertal Genome Study Reveals That We Have a Little Caveman in Us."

Scientific American. 6 May 2010. Web. Accessed 4 May 2011. Retrieved from [read more]


Evolution: Darwin Term Paper

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This seems to be a variation that even in natural selection stayed genetically strong in both species. Another example if the flying squirrel, able to soar from treetop to treetop.

Another example is that in the arid grasslands of Africa around 5 million years ago, a species was emerging that walked upright and had smaller canine and molar teeth than those preceding this species. This species survived due to the favorable variations that occurred causing the species to gain use of hands for making tools and weaponry and carrying food into the trees for safety.

"Artificial Selection" is that which occurs purposefully on the part of human choice. For instance if blue eyes are desirable and blond hair then the couple would marry someone with those traits, however, in today's highly technological environment the capacity for picking and choosing traits of the unborn child has become an option. Variation is that which is studied in relation to behavioral aspects of a species and is studied by psychologist and sociologists in the search to learn why species behave as they do.

The study of evolutionary biology is extremely important in attaining an understanding of the governance of principles of "origin" and "extinction" of species. There are no "fixed" elements in biological species as they experience constant changes, adaptations, shifts and even emergency and extinction.

Conclusion:

It has been said that after Darwin wrote "Origin of Species" in 1959 that biology has never again been the same. Because of the ever-changing environment of the species, and the ever-changing adaptations to those changes Psychology and other behavioral sciences will be studying those changes in the species to try and understand the behavior of species.

Bibliography:

Bennett, Albert F. et al. (nd) "Relevance of Evolutionary Biology to the National Research Agenda " Executive Summary [Online] available at: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~ecolevol/fulldoc.html

Ballyntyne, Paul, Ph.D (nd) "Evolution and Psychology In Darwin, Romanes, Morgan, James, Dewey, and the Chicago Functionalists" [Online] available at: http://www.coment.ca/~pballan/section4(210).htm

Williams James and Functionalism (nd) available [Online] at: http://www.psych.utah.edu/gordon/Classes/Psy4905Docs/PsychHistory/Cards/James.html

Bennett, Albert F. et al. (nd) "Relevance of Evolutionary Biology to the National Research Agenda "

Ibid.

Ibid.… [read more]


Hominid Evolution Term Paper

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¶ … Farabee, M.J. Human Evolution. Available at http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/Farabee/BIOBK/BioBookHumEvol.html

Mammals originated from the ancient mammal-like reptiles prior to 200-245 million years referred to as Triassic Period. Most important forms of mammals evolved during the period including Primates -- the category that includes humans. The Primates are considered to be comparatively unspecific mammals: they do not have wings, have four limbs,… [read more]


Pearl Jam's Do the Evolution Term Paper

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" Venter argues that we have not evolved enough to think independently, and free ourselves from this herd instinct.

The next verses continue to attack human society, and our need for status and admiration. He notes that we are irresponsible in our actions "I'll do what I want, yet irresponsibly." Further Venter attacks human racism, in the line "Cause we know an appetite for nightly feasts. Those ignorant Indians got nothing on me." Here he suggests that what we see as evolved modern civilization is not much difference from what we would consider to be barbarian civilizations.

The final verse is probably Venter's greatest condemnation of modern society. He says, I am ahead...I am advanced, I am the first mammal to make plans. I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher. 2010 watch it go to fire. It's evolution baby!" Here, Venter suggests that humans, despite being so "highly" evolved, will ultimately destroy each other.

It's interesting that Venter chooses to focus on the social aspects of humans as an attack on humans and the idea of evolution. The idea of social evolution has been a terribly controversial issue in human history, and has shown its head in such ugly ways as the Nazi attitudes and the eugenics controversy.

In conclusion, Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" is a modern take on the evolution of mankind. The song critiques the idea that humans are somehow "superior" because they are considered to be the most highly evolved organism on Earth. Venter argues that our herd mentality, and our racism will ultimately destroy us all.

The lyrics and all information contained below are adapted from The Pearl Jam Network. 13 May 2002. http://pearljamnetwork.com/archive/lyrichuffer.cgi-yield/dotheevolution

Do The Evolution

Releases: Yield and Live on Two Legs

Released: 1998

Running Time: 3:54

Song Type: Album Track

Written By: Stone Gossard and Ed Vedder

I'm ahead...I'm advanced.

I'm the first mammal to wear pants.

I am at peace with my lust.

I can kill cause in god I trust.

It's evolution baby!

I'm a beast...I'm the man.

Buying stocks on the day of the crash.

On the loose, I'm a truck.

All the rolling hills I'll flatten 'em out.

It's herd behavior...it's evolution baby!

Admire me, admire my home,

Admire my son, he is my clone.

This land is mine, this land is free,

I'll do what I want, yet irresponsibly.

It's evolution baby!

I'm a thief, I'm a liar.

There's my church, I sing in the choir.

Halelujah..

Admire me, admire my home,

Admire my song, admire my clothes.

Cause we know an appetite for nightly feasts.

Those ignorant Indians got nothing on me.

Nothing. Why? Because it's evolution baby!

I am ahead...I am advanced,

I am the first mammal to make plans.

I crawled the earth, but now I'm higher.

2010 watch it go to fire.

It's evolution baby! [2x]

Do the evolution!

Come on! [3x]

It's evolution baby!

Notes: 7/13/98 Inglewood, CA performance used for Live on Two Legs.

Works Cited

The Pearl Jam Network.… [read more]


Evolution What Is Evolutionary Theory Term Paper

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It causes the evolution of a population as a whole and not the evolution of an individual. The natural selection process is supposed to gradually shift the average characteristics of the group over time. However, why most populations demonstrate relatively stable dynamics is a question yet to be answered, and biologists are largely uncertain regarding the processes by which population stability may evolve through natural selection (Mueller et al., 2000: p 1284)

Evidence of Evolution

Evolutionary changes are obviously not observable directly as such changes involve decades and centuries. However, there are other evidential facts that explain and demonstrate the occurrence of evolution. The main sources that evidence evolution includes: fossil records, the geographic distribution of species, embryology, vestigial organs and artificial selection. The fossil record offers the most substantial evidence for evolution. Fossils are the remains of organisms turned into rocks after years of buried preservation under layers of mud. The fossil record illustrates a definite progression from the earliest and original species of single-celled organisms to the first multi-celled organism and from those orgasms to many simple and complex organisms inhabiting the earth today. However, fossil record presents many gaps, as it is probable that only a few species were preserved. Even so, palaeontologists have collected enough fossils to present a comprehensive record of the history and development of life on earth.

Geographic distribution of species, generally called biogeography, is the second main source of evidence supporting the occurrence of evolution. The limited and peculiar nature of species of organisms present in specific geographical areas suggests that organisms, which have migrated from other regions, have evolved into new species, adapting to the new environmental conditions. Embryology is the study of the way in which organisms develop during the early stages of life present another source of evidence for evolution. The embryonic development of many organisms involves very specific events that can be explained only by the evolution of the organism from other species. The repeated occurrence of embryonic features of evolutionary ancestors during the early development of an organism is called recapitulation.

The presence of vestigial organs is also suggestive of the occurrence of evolution. Vestigial organs are the remains of organs, which are generally purposeless to the current species, but were once useful to the evolutionary ancestor. The best example of vestigial organ is the human appendix, a narrow tube attached to the large intestine, which serves no purpose to human beings but are useful to apes, considered the ancestors of humans, for digesting plant material.

Artificial selection, which is essentially the process, used by breeders to produce new varieties, also evidence the occurrence of evolution. Breeders select only those organisms in a species that demonstrate the desired qualities. It is a very evident fact that such selections eventually lead to substantial changes in the species. Artificial selection differs from natural selection in only that in artificial selection it is human beings that determine the characteristics that give an advantage in reproduction, whereas in natural selection it… [read more]


Summer for the Gods the Scopes Trial Essay

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¶ … Trial

One of the most famous public permutations surrounding the issues of Darwinism, religion in the classroom, and the separation of Church and State was the 1925 Scopes Trial, also known as the Monkey Trial, held in Dayton, Tennessee. The trial was important for setting precedents that had far reaching implications even to the present day, but it… [read more]


Comparative Analysis Cultural Evolution vs. Biological Essay

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Cultural vs. Biological Evolution

Cultural Evolution vs. Biological Evolution

Biological and cultural evolution have many similarities. For instance, they both take place slowly over time. They both result in an organism that is substantially different from its predecessors. We, as humans, have another means aside from biology to use to evolve. In all other species, biology is the sole mean by which they evolve. However, with humans, it has been suggested that cultural evolution does not stand alone from biological evolution. This research will examine the fundamental similarities and differences between cultural and biological evolution. It will support the thesis that cultural evolution has a significant impact on biological evolution, even though they are actually two separate concepts.

It has been suggested that biological changes are a result of cultural changes, for instance the movement from hunter gathers to an agrarian society (Richerson, Boyd, and Henrich, 2010). This forced humans to do different activities during their day. Over time, it has been suggested that this forced a biological adaptation in their digestive tract, their musculature and many other biological features. Others suggest that cultural changes were a result of biological evolutionary changes. This conundrum has plagued anthropologists for many years and at present, there is support for both sides.

One of the key differences between biological and cultural evolution is that biological evolution is slow and happens over many generations. However, and idea can spread rapidly through a society. Many times, it does not even take a day, given the speed of the Internet. Today, cultural changes occur quite rapidly. Even if you go back 10,000 years, learning spread quickly from one generation to another, as a parent learned new skills and taught their children. Biological evolution could never keep up with cultural evolution in higher order creatures.

Support tends to lean towards culture, rather than biology, to account for the wide range of large-scale social behaviors in humans. This study suggests that studying the dynamics of how variations are maintained in large groups explains diversity in human behavior. Bell and McElreath (2009) suggest that cumulative cultural changes resulted in rapid human divergence. They also suggest that these cultural divergences had an effect on biology, as they determined which groups would interbreed with whom. Those who were neighbors were more likely to interbreed than those who were distant. Neighbors were also in direct competition for resources.

Boyd and Richerson (2008) suggested that repeated interactions allow a vast range of stable social equilibrium to occur. Primarily, punishment serves as a stabilizing force, as it attempts to eliminate behaviors that are not in alignment with the norms of the society. The authors provide another example, that of immigration. Immigrants are outside of the norm, they must adapt and normalize in order to fit into society and to be able to provide for their basic needs. This normalization process helps to stabilize society and the cultural norms within it.

Richerson, Boyd, and Henrich…… [read more]


Proponents of Intelligent Design and the Supporters Essay

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¶ … Proponents of Intelligent Design and the Supporters of Modern Evolutionary theory

The question of how life was created is one which has proven extremely tense throughout the duration of modern arguments. What was behind the design of the universe? What was responsible for the way the world has turned out? Such questions reefer to the debate between modern… [read more]


Temporal Factors of Communism and Evolution Essay

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¶ … Temporal Factors of Communism and Evolution

Upon initial examination, there appears to be a multitude of similarities existent between the notions propounded by Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto and those posited by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species. The unifying thread that runs throughout both of these works may be found in their adherence to (if… [read more]


Anthropology Doctrine of Man Term Paper

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Evolution Theory

C) Theory of Creationism

Deistic and theistic Evolution theories

Genesis

Nature of Man

E) Conclusion

Anthropology

Doctrine of Man

Man is still searching for answers to the fundamental questions concerning the why and how of his existence, the purpose of the journey of life and the ultimate destiny.

Different theories have been put forward in explaining the origin of man ranging from creationism to evolution. The evolutionary theory of creation attributes all this diversification and the countless species of living beings to the process of systematic natural evolution. The Christian faith offers a different explanation in the form of the genesis account of creation. Even within the creationism theory there are mildly different views of the creation process. A brief discussion of these differing perspectives of creation would shed more light on that one primeval question which has continued to intrigue all of mankind from time immemorial.

Evolution Theory

The theory of evolution is in total contrast to the creation theory. God is totally excluded from the whole picture and it explains that everything from the living to the inert matter originated naturally from gradual changes over millions of years. In other words there is an outright exclusion of the metaphysical or the supernatural realms of existence and everything is described in terms of natural evolution and as a pure chance factor. So man is not a special being but only a natural evolution product from the primitive beings. The one drawback however in this evolutionary theory of existence is that it does not offer explanation as to how the original material which is supposed to have undergone all this transmutation, transformation and gradual evolution came into existence. That is to say that the evolution theory may explain that the tree came from the seed and the bird came from the egg but has no clue for the existence of the seed or the egg. Something is assumed to be in existence before everything else and in this aspect this theory is found wanting in a basic aspect. [H.P. Blavatsky]

Theory of Creationism

This is directly in contradiction to the evolution theory and ascribes every species and every element of creation to have been directly created by god instantly (6 days). That is to say that there is no macro evolution but god created everything that exists during the six days. (though not necessarily 24-hour day) The entire cosmos with all its magnificence from the primitive bacteria to the final crown jewel of creation (man) is a direct creative work of god. The creationist theory is challenged by evolutionary scientists who claim the close relationship between species as a proof of evolution. Further modern astronomy has estimated the age of earth to be some millions of years older than the earliest civilizations on earth hence disputing the theory that all this creation evolved within the short frame of time as described in the bible. Branching out from the pure creationist theory are the deistic and theistic evolution theories.… [read more]


Evolution Dancing to Evolution's Tune Term Paper

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Evolution

Dancing to Evolution's Tune

The author discusses natural evolutionary design and the factors behind its success. The drive to feed oneself and appease hunger, and the very strong urge for finding a mate are qualities that are commonly shared by the innumerable species that exist in our world. The delicately balanced neurobiological machinery in man guides and governs all his instinctive behaviors. The essence of all human activities, the purpose of all human endeavors, is to satisfy the eternal quest for happiness. But the search for eternal happiness has been a will-o'-the-wisp. At the root of all this are the genes, the fundamental units of life which control the neurochemistry. The author elucidates the important role of motivation in evolution and how the genes are self programmed to achieve this.

Nature has used happiness as a bait to motivate living beings and to propel them into action. Happiness is thus a reward that man receives when he carries on the duties of maintaining his bodily functions- nourishing himself, procreating and extending his heritage. The genes control the neurochemistry behind the feelings of happiness. On cogitation it is revealed that our basic impulses are meant to serve the main purpose of gene proliferation rather than for our psychological well being as it appears at the outset. Over the last decade scientists have found out the significant role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in giving the feeling of happiness and satisfaction. [Bruno Dubuc] Experiments conducted on mice have confirmed that sustained stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain makes them forget even the basic need for food. Selective neurons in our brain secrete this neurotransmitter (dopamine) as a reward for our indulgence in certain actions. Thus we are entangled in a vicious cycle of desire, action and satisfaction and develop addictive behaviors. These actions or reward seeking behaviors (eating, sex etc.) facilitate the proliferation of the genes. (Eating maintains the body while sex results in progeny).

However, there is a hidden secret behind this gene-based neurochemical and neurobiological interplay which has continued to drive all living species into actions conducive to their own sustenance, reproduction and the well being of their progeny. Since the want for pleasure, or the search for happiness, is the key factor in the sustenance of evolution and natural propagation, nature designed it in such a way that these wants are never fully satiated. This is one of the key points of the article, which the author emphasizes as the secret behind nature's success. If man derived perennial pleasure from any of his activities such as eating, drinking or copulation it would amount to a grinding halt on the evolutionary process, as there would be no further inclination to act.

As indicated by the author, a drug dealer would stand to loose if users achieved a…… [read more]


Adaptation and Evolution Term Paper

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¶ … student who makes the statement that they do not believe in biological evolution, yet believes that it is not necessary to worry about air pollution because through natural selection, the human species will develop lungs that can detoxify pollutants is contradicting. It is clear that they do not understand what biological evolution means. By definition, biological evolution is the process in which a new species evolve from existing species over time. (Wikipedia). Biological evolution is the change in organisms over time, often in response to natural selection, such that the descendants are genotypically different from their ancestors. This means that evolution occurs over time as a result of a species adapting to its environment. So, if the human species is going to develop lungs that can detoxify air pollutants, then this is something that will evolve through biological evolution over a specific period of time.

It will be because of evolution and adaptation that the human lungs will develop into lungs that have the capability of detoxifying the air pollution that enters into the lungs. Humans and animals alike have the ability to adapt to their present environment, so over a period of time, the lungs will adapt to the air pollution and will eventually evolve into lungs that can handle the high levels of pollution.

Therefore, biological evolution can be proven by…… [read more]


Human Evolution Heading? Research Paper

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Indeed, all students in medical schools must be up-to-date to what the research specialists are undergoing. However, spending time on this kinds of subjects does not improve their every day practice and is not crucial for the treatments that are conducted on a day by day basis.

3. The case of the Blue Fugates

The case of the Blue Fugates in Kentucky is representative for the way in which science can, to a certain extent, improve the lives of people. More precisely, it is rather known the fact that people have a tendency to be scared or at best avoid things or other people they do not know. The Blue Fugates is one such case in which people with a rare disease were in fact stigmatized by the fact that they had a bluish color on their skin. After research conducted on this issue, it turned out that in fact there was nothing special about these people and in fact suffered from medical conditions that in time would be cured. Even so, this community was left outside of the social norm particularly because of a change from the ordinary conditions of men. From this point-of-view, medicine and the evolution of research not only saved those people's lives but also contributed to an improvement of their social and community lives.

4. Race and racism

An important aspect from the article relates to the fact that race can be seen as a social construction, rather than an acclaimed and proven developmental difference. As per the article, at the beginning of the 20th century the European race was said to comprise of different other races which in fact makes it impossible to establish so many categorical differences between human beings that in effect do not differ to such an extend as to assume they are part of different evolutionary groups. The assumption that people are different cannot be determined by using biology especially given that there is no clear distinction between people around the world. However, the constant attempts to differentiate have motivated racism along history, an aspect which at this point seems no longer appropriate. Race is not a criteria for…… [read more]


Evolution of Eukaryotic Cells Linked Essay

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Many things could happen, including changes in weather patterns and extinction of populations which would upset the food chains of areas and may have world-wide effects. Sea levels could raise destroying homes and making land go under sea level putting millions out of their homes or dying from drowning.

4. Construct your own chart in order to summarize the geological and evolutionary events of the major periods that make up the four geologic eras of the Earth's history. Focus on major events only and avoid unnecessary detail.

Era

Events

Phanerozoic (540 million years ago -- today)

Cenozoic: first people, mammoths, & other prehistoric creatures

Mesozoic: dinosaurs

Paleozoic: first plants and life forms

Proterozoic (2.5 billion years ago -- 540 million)

Vendian: sponges and multi-celled organisms

Early Proterozoic: first multi-cellular creatures; oxygen builds up on earth

Archeozoic (3.9 billion -- 2.5 billion years ago)

Little free oxygen; first rocks and oceans formed

Unicellular life forms created

Hadean (4.6 billion -- 3.9 billion years ago)

First landforms created

5. Discuss the main application of the Hardy-Weinberg rule in evolutionary biology.

The main application of the Hardy-Weinberg rule in evolutionary biology is in understanding and predicting future evolutionary changes. He says there are five things which bring about a creature's evolution. These are: low numbers of a population, genetic blending, mutation, natural selection, and gene flow. If these things do not present itself, then the population will not evolve, but will instead remain the same through the many generations.

6. In a population with 600 members, the numbers of individuals of three different genotypes are AA=… [read more]


Evolution the General Assumption Essay

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Thus, according to the theoretical underpinnings of the mechanism of biological evolution there is no predetermined biological mechanism or pathway that directs the process of evolution from simple to complex organisms (Carroll, 2001). Random mutations are just that; nondirectional and not predictable changes in the alleles of the population. Natural selection is simply a method which results in the genetic mutations that allows for the adaptation and survival of the population in specific environmental conditions to continue to survive (Carroll, 2001; Gould, 2002). While this process often includes a movement of a population towards more structural complexity, this is not always the case.

An example of such an instance where the process of biological evolution did not result in a more complex organism is that of the hypothesized evolution of snakes. Although no one has ever observed the evolution of any particular animal, snakes are hypothesized to have adapted to specific environments such as long, heavy, grassy, terrains or terrains where they needed to burrow for survival by losing their limbs and in the process of the development of an elongated body also lost the use of their left lung (it is typically rudimentary at best in snakes; Vida & Hedges, 2004). As a result, the theoretical evolution of snakes as a biological population assumes a movement from a more complex to a less complex organism. Accordingly, the concept of biological evolution does not necessarily include a predetermined pathway from simple to complex organisms.

References

Carroll, S.B. (2001). Chance and necessity: The evolution of morphological complexity and diversity. Nature, 409 (6823), 1102 -- 1109.

Futuyma, D.J. (2005). Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Gould, S.J. (2002). The structure of evolutionary theory. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Hansen, C.J., Kawaler, S.D., & Trimble, V. (2004). Stellar interiors: Physical principles, structure, and evolution (2nd ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag.

Vidal, N., & Hedges, S.B. (2004). Molecular evidence for a terrestrial origin of snakes.

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 271(Suppl 4), S226-S229.

Wu, R. & Lin, M. (2006). Functional mapping -- how to…… [read more]


Bowler, Charles Darwin Peter Term Paper

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In the first half of the nineteenth century, geologists had been particularly active in developing a body of knowledge that required some sort of interpretation: as Bowler notes, "In the course of the half-century from 1800 to 1850, the modern outline of the fossil record had been put together, revealing the ascent of life from primitive fish and invertebrates through… [read more]


Role of Culture and Environment in the Evolution of Humanity Research Paper

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Therefore, employing the use of models such as the mathematical models to analyze the impact of culture on evolution shows that, the niche model is effective in influencing evolutionary outcomes of humans in the society (Herrmann et al. 2007).

It is appreciable that, cultural evolution contributed to the growth of cooperative groups. The environments favor the evolution of human beings… [read more]


Effects of the Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection Essay

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Charles Darwin's Path To Evolution

Darwin is denoted as father of evolution. In perspective, Darwin developed his evolution theory during the same time as Alfred Russell Wallace, another scientist conducting similar research. However, Darwin accrued respect in science prior writing his article on 'On the Origin of Species'. The article was received with much success where the initial printing was immediately sold out although with wider readership and criticism. Darwin's ideas were accommodated within the scientific world into the business and social worlds (Bortz, 2013). In most cases, Darwin's theories developed into societal transformations.

In his research, Darwin rose to a naturalist status, which gave him an opportunity of studying wildlife from Galapagos Islands. The islands amazed him due to great lifestyle diversity (Workman, 2013). Particularly, he had an interest in diversifying the island's various finches and appreciation of beaks that had high adaptation to particular lifestyles. Darwin hypothesized that nature required some form of processes leading to adaptation and diversity (Workman, 2013). Charles Darwin spent most of his time puzzling out the nature and content of the processes. After the return from his island voyage, he brought with him dead finches that were killed and stuffed on behest. Darwin put his notion in writing one an abstract of 490 pages titled 'On the Origin of Species' in 1859.

Darwin's interpretation of Origin offers a diversified perception to the public. The theory of evolution was well accepted as a content of evolution occurring within the concepts of Darwin's human development steps. However, natural selection mechanisms were solicited as reminders of accepted lifelines (Bortz, 2013). This is because of the points that Darwin admittedly explained. For instance, there were issues of trait management in which parents passed onto children while the process remained unclear. The early 1900's marked the period when the focus and scope of genetics advanced into the intense focus study in which Darwin's natural selection mechanism received deeper scientific support and intense scrutiny. The discoveries from genetics enabled Darwin's theories to gain scientific grounds for observation, as well as the consequences of accepted plausible mechanisms in evolutionary change. Prior genetics reached the scene, the perception of survival for fittest were captured the public's imagination. The ideology also applied to elements of the business world that the structures within the society managed to develop (Frame, 2012).

Darwin observed that all forms of diversity of life across the world emerged from the evolution of common ancestors. The theory went further the deliberations of Lamarck's observation in explaining that the complex creatures had a probable evolution of simpler ones. Ideas of social importunate are implications of fewer important roles among humans with mere relevance of branches of the animal world as compared to separate and privileged lineages (Workman, 2013). The Darwin's theory illustrates that in any population,…… [read more]


Did Darwin Develop the Theory of Evolution? Essay

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DARWIN

What was Wallace really talking about in his 1858 paper and was he convincing?

Darwin and Wallace 1858 papers:

Wallace's role in forming the evolutionary hypothesis

Alfred Wallace has often been credited as a critical influence upon Charles Darwin in encouraging the naturalist to publish his theories on evolution: Wallace was working on his own theory of natural selection at the same time as Darwin, and had not Darwin feared being pre-empted by Wallace, he may not have been willing to share his twenty years' research with the world at the time that he did. Wallace's 1858 letters to Darwin, in which Wallace discussed his work are often cited as evidence that Wallace deserves credit as a 'co-founder' of the theory. However, there are certain critical differences between the two men's lines of thought. Wallace's different emphases and some of his errors in reasoning regarding evolution ultimately support the hypothesis that it is Darwin, not Wallace, who deserves the solitary credit for developing the concept of evolutionary theory. "In 1858, in Halmahera, Wallace wrote his essay on natural selection and posted it to Darwin…Darwin had been working on a similar theory for several years and now faced the prospect of being robbed of glory. [Darwin's friends] Lyell and Hooker arranged a reading for Wallace's paper and for a hastily written one by Darwin at the same meeting of the Linnean Society" (McKae 2013). But even had there not been that inspired 'save' by Lyell and Hooker, the lion's share of the credit must still belong to Wallace.

First and foremost is Darwin's emphasis that evolution is a mechanism that begins with the individual, although over time the effects of individual character are eventually felt in the larger population. In contrast, "Wallace apparently thought selection acted on groups or species" (Montgomery 2009). There is less emphasis between competitions between individuals (even individuals from the same species) for the same resources in Wallace. "Whether selection acted for 'the good of the group' or on individuals was debated for a long time" but today the widespread consensus is that Darwin was right and evolution begins as an individual process through mechanisms particular to the animal such as mutations and competition for mates (Montgomery 2009). Darwin did not believe that evolution supported a higher social purpose for 'the good' of a social organization, even though it might unintentionally have that result, for example, allowing moths with a particular type of coloring to survive in greater number because they could camouflage themselves from predators is beneficial for the species and thus results in a change in the dominant colors of moths in the area. But ultimately, this gives advantage to certain individuals that pass on their traits to their progeny, not 'for the good' of that species of moth.

The two men differed as well in their emphasis on sexual vs. natural selection. Darwin viewed sexual selection as the primary means of enacting changes on a generation by generation basis: most species reproduce sexually,… [read more]


Macroevolution Humans Research Paper

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Macroevolution

Humans are one of the most curious animals on the globe. Over the years they have been formulating biological concepts with the quest of understanding themselves and their surrounding. Their argument to know their origin lead to development of evolution theories and over the years they have been working to establish their exact lineage and trying to project the… [read more]


Kluge by Gary Marcus Book Report

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¶ … Kluge by Gary Marcus

In spite of the fact that scientists, and people in general, believe the human mind to represent what is the closest to perfection, it appears that, according to Gary Marcus's book "Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind," matters are quite different. Throughout the history of evolution, nature has struggled to refine the human brain through various methods, bringing it to its present stage. The general public prefers to believe that humans and their achievements are proof that the human mind is on the verge of reaching perfection. However, as Marcus pictures it, the brain is a result of a series of accidents which happened across time and it is not as perfect as some might actually think.

Evolution has made it possible for the civilized world to exist and has lead to the creation of remarkable technologies. However, as clever as the human mind can be, it is also capable of performing great errors. Humanity has become an expert in improvising with whatever materials it came across. Marcus has even attributed a name to such improvisations, and, Kluge is the term.

Improvisations are not only performed by amateurs, as even scientists can resort to using cobbled together devices when the situation demands it. This is best proved through Marcus's example of the astronauts on Apollo 13, who worked together in making a filter to reduce the alarming levels of carbon dioxide on board the ship. The filter that they made consisted out of several simple materials on board, such as a sock, a bag, and some adhesive tape. Marcus calls the resulted device a Kluge. He claims that the human brain is somewhat similar to the improvised mechanism used by the people aboard the Apollo 13.

History influenced people in believing that the brain is a grand design which has most probably been predestined.…… [read more]


Liberalism and Conservatism in Contemporary Education Essay

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Liberalism and Conservatism in Contemporary Education

As with all beliefs, there is not one single way to define liberalism and conservatism, and, while at seemingly polar opposites on some things, they are in complete agreement on others. In general, the two views can be traced by to John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Locke believed humans were born good, and through actualization of their minds could achieve great things for society. Hobbes believed humans were born flawed, and required strict control in order to behave properly. Locke pushed human views to the future with optimism, Hobbes to the past with what worked before. In policy, Conservatives tend to believe that traditional moral values and a strong national defense, coupled with personal responsibility, free markets, and individualism make an organization strong. Liberals emphasize the need for government to act on behalf of the people, with the protection of civil and human rights being the duty of the State to attempt to alleviate. For educators, a seminal difference is that conservatives tend to believe that it is up to the individual to be successful or not -- they know, in fact, not everyone has the same gifts, and assume there will be a hierarchy of sorts. Liberals tend to believe that everyone needs the same quality education, regardless of ability, and the government should step in and do all it can to help everyone improve their lives (See (Zafirovski, 2008).

The Dilemma of Darwinism - The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) strongly supports the idea that evolution is a major concept in science education and a major unifying theory. To not teach evolution will mean that students are deficient and unable to achieve the basic level of needed scientific education. Further, the NSTA opposes Districts in which teachers are required to include non-scientific theory into the normal classroom format. For contemporary educators, the debate intensified in the late-1960s, with a shift in the higher Courts' views on more controversial subjects (National Science Association, 2010). In 1968 the Supreme Court rule that States may not ban the teaching of an evolutionary theory (Epperson v Arkansas), then again in 1987 with Edwards v. Aguillard, a Louisiana law making it a requirement to teach creationism as set scientific theory alongside evolution (Edwards v Aguillard, 1987, (Epperson v Arkansas, 1968). While the Courts seem to favor the separation of Church and State, there have been a number of challenges to the foundations of teaching science without using Darwinist theory. Current Justices debate the issue in the scholarly press, the media and scholarly press abound, and the conservative bloc is rife to change the curicculum in favor of their views. For an educator, this is a seminal topic, one that could have, depending on the direction of the Court, extreme rammifactions…… [read more]


Nineteenth Century American Life Essay

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Charles Darwin

This year marked the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, and hundreds of special activities were held around the world to commemorate the occasion. Although it has been 150 years since the concept of evolution and the publication of Origin of Species, controversy continues about this theory, especially in the realm of religious belief. Numerous people instead believe in what is called creationism rather than in evolutionary theory. Based on a couple of the newspaper articles from the 1880s when Darwin first wrote his book, it appears that this distinction between those who believe in evolution or those who believe in what is now called intelligent design, is much more an issue today than it was during Darwin's time. During the Victorian time, most leaders recognized that Darwin never said that evolution explained all of life development; there were still unknowns that could be attributed to a higher authority.

According to a study conducted this year, about 50% of the over 2,000 British adults questioned about evolution were either very against the theory or confused regarding it. At least 22% were more in favor of the concepts of creationism or intelligent design to explain the world's origins (Butt). A quarter of Britons say that Darwin's theory of evolution is "definitely true" and the same number says it is "probably true." Ten percent of individuals elected young Earth creationism, or the idea that the world was created by sometime during the previous 10,000 years, over evolution. Just over the same amount supported intelligent design, or the belief that evolution by itself does not provide an explanation about the structures of living organisms. Everyone else was confused, frequently getting creationism, intelligent design and evolution, mixed up.

This debate pro-or con evolution has been a major part of American history since the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in the 1920s, when a high school biology teacher was charged for covering evolution in his science curriculum. Clarence Darrow was the teacher's attorney, and William Jennings Bryan, who had run as the populist Democratic presidential candidate three times, supported the State of Tennessee. The anti-evolution movement won the case, and it took until 1967 for the law to be removed from the state's books. In a number of other states, today, creationism is very strong. In Kentucky, a creation museum just opened up a couple of years ago and has exhibits of humans and dinosaurs living together.

When reading a couple of articles from the late 1800s, it is interesting to see that there was not this black-or-white situation. People, including some clergy, recognized that Darwin was not saying it was either evolution or belief in God. He was instead arguing that evolution was one of the ways that explain living organisms. In an article from the English Church Quarterly, the writer demonstrates the reasons for the "triumph" of Darwin's ideas and "fearlessly argues in favor of the compatibility of the Darwinian theory with religious belief." He further states that Darwin never claimed that natural selection… [read more]


Anthropology - Bipedalism: Evolutionary Significance Term Paper

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Anthropology - Bipedalism

BIPEDALISM: EVOLUTIONARY SIGNIFICANCE and CONSEQUENCES Introduction:

Traditional anthropological theory emphasized the relative size of the human brain, as measured by cranial volume and capacity, as the primary evolutionary adaptation that accounts for the profound difference between homo sapiens and other hominid species. Recent studies contradict this conclusion and suggest that bipedalism was the most significant evolutionary adaptation rather than cranial capacity, and that the former may actually have played at least an equal role in the evolution of human intelligence.

As a student of anthropology, I was fascinated by this revelation in three different levels: first, it represents a dramatic shift in our understanding of an area of human evolution that is described in contemporary textbooks as established fact; second, it suggests that many other conclusions in the field may be less certain than I had previously considered them to be by virtue of their inclusion in academic texts; and finally, it highlights the fascinating trade-off, in principle, between long-term evolutionary benefits of particular adaptations and the negative short-term consequences in terms of the lives of the individual.

Behavior-Driven Adaptation:

Bipedalism in humans is one example of an anatomical evolutionary transition resulting as a consequence of behavior, rather then the reverse. It is believed that early hominids began standing upright and walking on two legs instead of four first, and that this behavior triggered a very gradual evolutionary adaptation of bipedalism to take advantage of the profound benefits of the behavior. Specifically, bipedalism is a much more mechanically efficient mode of locomotion compared to quadruped locomotion. It conserves significant amounts of energy, primarily through recapturing as much as 65% of the kinetic energy required to swing the legs by virtue of the upside-down pendulum motion that accurately describes the act of walking in engineering terms.

Since bipedal locomotion requires a more efficient cooling system to maintain a physiologically optimal internal temperature, this single adaptation is thought to have triggered many others, including the evolution of sweat glands, the disappearance of significant body hair, and numerous anatomical structures that distinguish modern human anatomy from all of our simian relatives. For example, only humans have flexible tendons, complex shock-absorbent heel bones, and comparatively straight legs, all of which are considered to have been directly related to the natural transition from bipedal walking to running. In fact, running on two legs is much faster and more efficient than the fastest sustained quadruped…… [read more]


Charles Darwin the Descent of Man Term Paper

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Descent of Man

Since their earliest history, humans have been intrigued with their origins. Prehistoric cultures developed creation myths that tell of a separate creation of man and of the domination of man over the rest of the animal world. The Roman statesman Cicero wrote of gods, universe and the creation of life on earth for humans. It was not until the late 1700s and early 1800s that human development was studied from a scientific perspective, especially by Jean-Baptiste Chevalier de Lamarck. However, it was Charles Darwin who revolutionized thought about evolution, first with the book Origin of Species and, more closely connected with humans, the Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. This second book, published in 1871, specifically looked at how humans evolved from the same ancestors as apes in terms of society and morality. It completely altered the concept of human nature and started a controversial debate that continues to this day.

According to the biography the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist: Darwin (1991), Charles Robert Darwin was born and raised in Shrewsbury, England, in a family that was already interested in the sciences. His grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a physician and scientist, theorized the first ideas on evolution, and his father was also doctor. Although Darwin started medical school, he and his family both realized that this was not the field for him. He went instead to ministry school and began to learn about zoology and geography and became very interested in the topic. It was in 1831, however, that his life completely changed. He was asked to share the captain's responsibility aboard the ship H.M.S. Beagle, which was taking a two-year survey of the coast of South America.

It was on this voyage that Darwin first conceived of the theory of evolution. He said in his first book Origin of Species (1859): "When on board H.M.S. Beagle as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent." He conceived that life, evolves by a process called "natural selection," or the process where favorable genetic traits become more common in successive…… [read more]


Natural Selection and Intelligent Design Term Paper

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Intelligent Design

When Charles Darwin made his trip to the Galapagos Islands and wrote on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, other theories had already been suggested to explain the variation in life forms. About 100 years before Darwin was born, English theologian William Paley introduced the now memorable watchmaker analogy. If a pocket watch is found… [read more]


Darwin and Lamarck Term Paper

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Darwin vs. Lamarck

To begin with a brief overview of the scientists, let's begin by considering Mr. Darwin. According to Wikipedia (2005), after years of studying a variety of organisms, Charles Darwin, in 1859, wrote The Origin of Species. This was a very popular book, which held the famous and widely-studied Darwinian theory known as "survival of the fittest." The initial printing sold out on the first day of publication, but Darwin's theory eventually lost some of its original popularity. Although many field naturalists preserved Darwin's emphasis on the role of geographical factors on evolution, many were later tempted by the theory of Lamarckism, which has stemmed much discussion on the Darwin vs. Lamarck controversy. Lamarckism is a theory named after Jean Baptist de Lamarck, who was a French naturalist that published Zoological Philosophy in 1809 (Wikipedia 2005). In his view, organic beings constituted a ladder of life from simplest to complex animals, with humans at the top rung. Lamarck did little in the way of explaining the origin of this ladder, but he did offer an explanation for how organisms change over time, thus turning the ladder into what we might call an escalator of being.

It is important to examine the differences between scientific theories, as scientists and science educators are in agreement as to the importance of an understanding of evolutionary principles as the unifying theme for acquisition and internalization of information about the origin, history, and diversity of life on earth. However, despite this agreement, evidence from various sources suggests that indicates that many students leave their courses still significantly confused with the differences between various theories. According to Richard Firenze (1997), "It appears these misconceptions can be divided into two major categories: 1) epistemological misconceptions - those dealing with the nature of science, that is, evolution is only a theory, evolution has never been…… [read more]


Twenty Million Years Ago Term Paper

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erectus societies, replacing a more polygamous system where the largest, strongest males generally out-competed smaller males and left the most offspring." (Campbell, 712-13). This implies that by the time Homo erectus emerged, females were choosing mates based upon characteristics other than mere physical prowess; this too, could help to explain the success of the species.

In addition to the more… [read more]


Trial Term Paper

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¶ … Trial

In the start of the current century we find a new way of thinking called 'intelligent design' the summer of 2005 saw President of United States endorsing this new idea which others call a euphemism for creationism. Public opinion also seemed to be heavily divided on the issue showing that a majority of Americans today reject Darwin's theory of evolution. All this debate in the current century reminds us of the famous Scopes Trial almost 80 years ago.

Even though the famous trial settled a burning issue and many considered it a triumph of science but the echoes of debate in fact never ceased in the years the ensued after the trial till date. Many events tried to capture the trial and its essence in different events like a 1960 movie 'Inherit the Wind'. "As an icon of the triumph of science over religion, the Scopes trial would enter into the American imagination primarily through the trenchant, if selective, cynicism of that proto-curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken, who covered the trial for the Baltimore Sun, and later through the gross distortions of historical reality in Inherit the Wind, the 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, which became a hit film in 1960" (Gaffney Jr., 1998).

The decade of 1920s can be considered a decade when a clash of cultural ideas took place and revivalism took roots in society. Intellectual experimentation prospered as young and the old and traditionalist and modernists started confronting each other on many issues. 18th Amendment was passed and people started looking at prohibition as a curb on their freedom. The debates on topics ranging from art to Freudian theories finally became a battle of tradition and modernism in the famous Scopes Trial which debated on the evolution theory in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom in the summer of 1925.

When Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, it met fierce opposition and criticism but with time the theory became acceptable in academic circles. Still, many opposed the teaching of the theory in high schools of the country. Places like Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Mississippi even passed laws forbidding the topic of theory of evolution in the curriculum. John T. Scopes at Central High School in Dayton became the center of all debate when as a part of a movement to challenge such laws supported by American Civil Liberties Union got arrested on charges of going against the laws.

The lawyers that fought the case became famous names for fighting for the two diametrically opposite views. Clarence Darrow was one lawyer who was famous for his anti-evolution views and thrice-failed Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was another one.

Since this trial debated a hot issue, it attracted a lot of attention of the people from all…… [read more]


Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design Is a Theory Term Paper

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¶ … intelligent design. Intelligent design is a theory that has been posited in support of the Biblical notion of creation; that God actually had a hand in creating life, the planet Earth for mankind and other forms of life to inhabit, and the universe itself. The philosophy of creation stands in direct opposition or conflict to the scientific theory… [read more]


Agreement Between William Harris Research Paper

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It is clear to see how intelligent design theory coincides with the view of the author, who believes that a divinity was responsible for man's creation. Such a theory is largely disrepute by Dawkins in his text. Instead, Dawkins believes that evolution was responsible for mankind, combining various elements of chance and necessity, the latter of which is an integral component in evolutionary theory. The principle difference between Dawkins' conceptions and those of theology is that there is no intelligence responsible in the forces that created man, that instead these forces are mere physics and natural selection, which operated in a "blind" sense and in which their effects are not predetermined or designed (Dawkins 310), but merely combinations of chance and nature. Therefore, Dawkins believe there is no intention or intelligence associated with man's creation -- which is incongruous with the viewpoint of the author.

Kitcher's writing discusses some of the reasons why the author does not agree with evolutionary theory and Dawkins' viewpoint. The principle reason that creationist's disparage evolutionary theory is for the fact that it actually is not a science -- it is a mere theory (Kitcher 323). The lengths of time that it takes to demonstrate the validity of this theory are too long for it to be proven in any individual person's life time. Kitcher spends the duration of this article delineating the fact that creationists' are wrong to look for some sort of perfection in science, which still does very little to champion the cause of evolutionary theory. The whole aspect of evolutionary theory that the author disagrees with, and which is alluded to in Kitcher's work, is the fact that logic and reason -- especially that posited by man, a fallible creature at best -- can discern the causes of all things, including his creation.

In summarizing the author's viewpoint as related to the aforementioned arguments propounded by these various authors, it should be made clear that the author is not a creationist. Harris and Calvert's work proves that there can be a medium between science and faith alone. Their ideas about the nature of design, however, certainly make sense. Perfection cannot be merely stumbled upon. The human mind, especially when it is paired in conjunction with a healthy body and a willing, cognizant spirit, can perform acts of teleportation, time travel, telekinesis, telepathy -- and a host of other things that neither creationists nor evolutionary theorists validate or believe. The author, however, is no less convinced of these facts than he is that this capacity was bestowed upon man by a superior being for reasons that he (mankind that is) has yet to fathom with his current utilization of…… [read more]


Ted Talks Ideas Worth Spreading Essay

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Much of his work has been devoted to science education and runs an organization in Chicago that has had good results in furthering the education of adolescents.

Bonnie Bassler: How bacteria "talk" (TED2009, 2009)

Bonnie Bassler gives an overview of the "boring" life that bacteria lead. Basically, a bacterium just grows and divides and then grows and divides again; a simple and steady process that most people would find rather dull. However, Bassler makes this topic far more interesting by relating the life of bacteria to the human body. Most interestingly, the DNA content in the bacteria that is on or in an average human body could be significantly greater than actual human DNA by a factor of one hundred to one. Thus bacteria are essential to human health in multitude of roles ranging from protection to food digestion.

Figure 3 - Bacterial Cells vs. Human Cells and Bacterial DNA vs. Human DNA

Bassler moves to talk about bioluminescence. She speaks about her research in which she realized that a bacterium that is able to produce light does not when it is in isolation. However, when these bacteria are combined in larger numbers, when the number reaches a point all of the bacteria begin to emit light at the same time. Thus the research question emerged regarding exactly how these bacteria can communicate with each other to make this phenomenon happen. Researchers realized that such behaviors were limited to light production and bacteria have a whole range of communication systems for different purposes.

Figure 4 - Quorum Sensing Bacteria

The most interesting aspect of this lecture is that it points out the possibilities for future research and the next generation of antibiotics. Researchers are able to manipulate those bacteria in a way that shuts off their ability to communicate through their cell membranes. Furthermore, not only can bacteria be manipulated to be able to fight drug resistant strands, but the bacteria that are also in our bodies in a symbiotic role can have their signals amplified which could expand their effectiveness in certain roles. Since our bodies are so dependent on bacteria, this opens up a world of future possibilities.

Susan Savage-Rumbaugh: The gentle genius of bonobos (TED2004, April)

Susan Savage-Rumbaugh works with bonobos and refers them as the happiest species on the planet but does not get the coverage they deserve in the news. The reason she states that bonobos have sexual relations that are similar to humans. She makes the claims that the human species is not as special as most people would care to think. Savage-Rumbaugh compares the behaviors of certain indigent tribes to the behaviors of the bonobo and does not see many stark differences in the communities in regards to language and lifestyles.

Wild bonobos often walk upright; sometimes for long distances. The physical frames of the bonobos are not unlike many human ancestors such as the Australopithecus. A video is shown that shows bonobos learning very quickly and that they have advanced communication abilities.… [read more]


Evolution of Man Term Paper

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6 and 2.3 million years ago. Their brain size was very small some parts of the skull resemble the ones of Australopithecus afarensis (Anonymous, PG).

Followed by Australopithecus boisei (sometimes known as Zinjanthropus boisei) dated to around 1.75 mya, A. boisei was also a heavily built australopithecine, was in all likely hood a vegetarian, and possessed thick jaws with large black teeth, it seems that boisei and robustus were related to that of africanus as they are very much alike apart from africanus being more gracile (McKie, 46).

Looking at the second branch of the phylogeny there is Homo Habilis (Handy Man or Person) dated to around 2 mya features larger brains, was more gracile than the Australopithecines, faces were more delicate and less prognathous, smaller jaws with less specialized teeth (Fagan, 49)

These are followed by Homo erectus dated to around 1.9 mya to 40, 000 ya the brain size increased. H. erectus had a larger skeleton overall and was much like modern humans as compared to the Australopithecines. He was powerfully built had massive brow ridges and a large face which had a long skull.

It is again here that the phylogeny tree diverges into two, on one side there is the branch that many scholars argue is either a dead end branch (Stringer and Gamble) or is a continuation of the normal branch. For the purpose of this study I have placed Homo neanderthalensis as a dead end branch.

The other path of the tree consists of early Archaic Homo Sapiens and Homo Sapiens (Modern man), from this simple sequence of how man evolved from the earliest hominid Ardipithecus ramidus to the Anatomically modern Human we can see there has been a slow and also quick succession in human abilities and structural changes in the skeletal frame. These changes are the evolutionary changes that have evolved to make modern man what he is today.

References

Anonymous (2002) Australopithecus aethiopicus [online] accessed at http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/7397/australopithecus_aethiopicus.html

Gamble, C (1994) The Peopling of Europe: Oxford Illustrated Pre-History of Europe Cunliffe, B (ed) Oxford University Press. Oxford Fagan, B. (1998) People of the Earth Longman. New York

McKie (2000) Ape Man BBC Worldwide;…… [read more]


Heritable Variation in a Population Term Paper

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Those who did not develop these variations tended to be "less fit" in the "survival of the fittest," and thus they were less likely to mate and ultimately pass down their weakness in the given environment. Those who were lucky enough to have this variation in their genetic makeup were more likely to survive and pass on their strength to the next generation through heritable variation.

As the environments of the planet are not fixed it is incredibly important that a population's genetic makeup is not fixed either. Variations within a population's makeup allow the population to adapt to their ever changing environment. Without a constant flux in variations between generations many species would have a very difficult time maintaining their population's survival in an ecosystem that thrives on variation.

Variations within any species are incredibly important. Without heritable variations many species would lose their ability to evolve. Variation and natural selection are the basis for evolution as it is understood today.

Bibliography

O'Neil, Dennis. "Natural Selection." E. Museum Genetics and Biology. 2002. http://emuseum.mnsu.edu/biology/evolution/genetics/naturalselection.html

King, Peter. "Human Biology." Genetic Variation and Natural Selection. 2002.
Darwin and Natural Selection." Early Theories of Evolution. http://anthro.palomar.edu/evolve/evolve_2.htm… [read more]


Dim Forest, Bright Chimps by Christophe Boesch Reaction Paper

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¶ … Dim Forest, Bright Chimps" by Christophe Boesch & Hedige Boesche-Achermann is a somewhat anecdotal review of the authors' experiences studying chimpanzees that inhabit the rainforest of the Ivory Coast. After an initial recount of an after-the-hunt scene, Boesch & Boesche-Achermann describe the chimpanzee troupe's tool usage, and other behaviors -- such as hunting and social interaction -- often comparing them with Jane Goodall's chimps in Gombe. Written from an evolutionary perspective, the writers ultimately speculate on how their chimps' behavior relates to the evolutionary process of the first humans.

Boesch & Boesche-Achermann's article opens mid-scene: a group of chimpanzees noisily rush through the rainforest's undergrowth, meeting and clustering around Brutus, a dominant male, who's clutching a barely-alive, shocked red coleus monkey. Brutus appears to savor the moment, standing silently, then confidently "swaggering" through the group with his favorite females and males close behind. The authors then transition by using the anecdote to introduce the nature of their long-term study: to research chimps' cooperation during hunts, tool use, and later, to compare and contrast their chimps' behaviors with those of their savannah counterparts. All this, the authors say, in hopes that new light be shed on prevailing theories of human evolution. In this vein, of specific interest was their chimps' cooperative behavior during hunting; it is this same behavior many anthropologists hold played a crucial role in social system development of early hominids, some 1.8 million years ago.

The article goes on to report -- within a kind of narrative regarding their subjective experiences studying the chimps -- the authors' most significant findings. First, Boesch & Boesche-Achermann found their chimps were capable of remembering the locations of out-of-sight stones around a panda tree. The chimps could quickly select one of appropriate size and use it to crack open nuts, one of their favorite foods. This ability in spatial representation, Boesch & Boesche-Achermann report, generally compares with that of nine-year-old humans. Second,…… [read more]


Ubiquity of Darwinism Reaction Paper

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¶ … Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," by evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, argues the case that no biologist has been more responsible for changes in the way the 'average person' views the world than Charles Darwin. The article further focuses on the history of natural science and the ideas that Darwin's theories laid to rest. Written as a sort of overview of Darwin's findings and how they affected the perceptions of both scientists and the 'average' human alike, Mayr's article takes a distinct evolutionary, scientific, and educated standpoint.

Mayr asserts that Darwin made major contributions in three areas: evolutionary biology, the philosophy of science, and the modern zeitgeist. Of evolutionary biology, Mayr claims that Darwin contributed four "especially important" concepts: evolution, common descent, evolution as having no discontinuities, and natural selection. Of the philosophy of science, our author purports that Darwinism, by its retroactive nature, has influenced biology, over the past 150 years, to modify its methodology to include not only experimentation but observation, comparison, classification, and testing of competing historical narratives. In other words, findings in this new branch of science -- evolutionary biology -- could not be verified by experimentation, as what was being studied took place in the past. New scientific methods had to be formed in response, and this, Mayr says, is Darwin's great contribution to the philosophy of science.

Darwin's contributions to the third field, "the Darwinian Zeitgeist," are what Mayr hones in on. Darwin rejected all forms of the supernatural, and offered, instead, a simple, justifiable means of understanding the natural world: natural selection. In contrast, his peers -- up until Darwin's time -- had been promoting teleological concepts. Most notably, there existed a belief that there was some teleological force that steered species toward perfection. This was known as the "final cause." In reality, this was a 'non-explanation,' similar to answering the question "Why?" with "Because." Instead, Darwin offered…… [read more]


So Close and Yet so Far Reaction Paper

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¶ … Meathead" Hypothesis: Brain Size vs. Complexity

It is shocking how simple the human brain is. As Sapolsky points out, the relative difference between the human and chimp brains is one of the number of neurons (Sapolsky 3-4). While Sapolsky is probably partially right, the truth is more complicated however. This is interesting when posited against research that Cro Magnon Man actually had a bigger average brain size that modern man (Zyga). While this fact might elicit a laugh when horrible standardized test scores are considered the author quotes Ms Zyga for the express purpose of suggesting that there are probably other factors opposed to the number of neurons here. In addition, she points out that some areas of the human brain are more compressible and that mastication and simple robusticity may have been factors (ibid). After all, Sapolsky does not even mention the number of pathways or their complication of connectivity to explain a chimpanzees lack of higher culture, nuance and soul. Indeed as one of the comment respondents on the Physorg.com article site remarks "Kinda like processors becoming smaller and more efficient, if smaller means more intelligence I guess killer whales are more intelligent than humans (ibid)."

However, after castigating Sapolsky with the "meathead" evidence, let's look at his advantages. First of all, he is only examining one factor for us in the article. From a chemical and molecular standpoint, he is actually on to something. It is shocking from a chemical and molecular standpoint at how relatively uncomplicated we are. Good disciples of Darwin that we are, it is almost a commandant or something that we have a right to chemical complexity. Certainly, genetic sequencing issues are the meat and potatoes of classical evolutionary theory and are exactly what we would expect.

It is also fascinating that from a genetic standpoint that we are only 2% different from the chimpanzees. From a spiritual standpoint (yes, Creationists do not have monopoly on such reflections), it is humbling and should give us all reason for pause and humble meditation. In…… [read more]


Memory and Human Adaptation Research Paper

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Psychology

Human Adaptation

Although Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species in the middle of the 19th century, the systematic application of his theory to human behavior did not begin until more than a century later when psychologists and biologists began to generate research that formed the basis of sociobiology, and later evolutionary psychology (Cartwright, 2003). Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection provides an all-encompassing explanation of life, ranging from the origin of life to explaining the creation of new species and the ability of species, as a whole, to adapt to their environments over generations. Darwin's theory of natural selection is based on the understanding that the overall goal of life, in all species, is to survive long enough to ensure the successful propagation of one's genes. By procreating, an individual is able to ensure that a part of them, their genetic material, continues on to the next generation. Natural selection refers to the forces of nature (natural) acting on the aspects that contribute to one's success or failure in meeting this goal (selection) (Cartwright, 2003). In other words, natural selection serves as a process through which the individuals who are most capable of surviving in their given environment will be 'favored' in their ability to pass their genes to the next generation. Over time, this favoring allows the species as a whole to change (or evolve), in a manner that adapts them to their environments. What is most interesting about this process is that evolutionary psychologists have been able to extend this research beyond the adaptation of physical features to the adaptation of behavior, including behavior in human beings. Thus, adaptation applies to human behavior in an evolutionary sense due to the fact that certain behaviors have…… [read more]


Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Term Paper

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¶ … Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin

Providing a book review for Charles Darwin's on the Origin of Species is a daunting task. After all, the scientific community widely accepts the notions of natural selection and evolution, theories which owe much to Darwin's early works. Furthermore, science has advanced by leaps and bounds since… [read more]


Scopes Monkey Trial Essay

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¶ … Monkey Trial

In the 19th century, Charles Darwin shocked the world with his theory of evolution. Americans reacted particularly harshly by fiercely denying the theory of evolution and clinging to the Bible's creation story. The antagonism against the theory of evolution was so strong that lawmakers outlawed teaching it in public schools. In 1925, the state of Tennessee enacted a bill called the Butler Act. The act expressly forbade any teacher in a public school to teach the theory of evolution, "any theory that denies the story of divine creation as taught by the Bible and to teach instead that man was descended from a lower order of animals," (cited by Linder 2000).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the Butler Act and agreed to offer legal counsel to any teacher that violated it. A man named George Rappalyea appreciated the offer and also saw an opportunity to bring publicity to his town (Linder 2000). Rappalyea called upon a school teacher named John Scopes to deliberately teach the theory of evolution and directly defy the Butler Act. What I found most interesting about this is that Scopes understood…… [read more]


Homo Sapiens Research Proposal

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Homo Sapiens

The question of the origins of the modern human species, Homo sapiens, has two interconnected facets that require different yet concurrent scientific approaches to achieve more accurate information. The geographical origin of the species and the timeline of the species' spread to other part of the globe constitutes one of the major ways to trace the origin of Homo sapiens. The other avenue of scientific pursuit is in tracing the genetic changes as they occurred in the distant evolutionary past. Both areas of research have inspired contention among experts. This article reviews some of the current pertinent literature pertaining to past, current, and ongoing research in these areas in an attempt to form a better understanding of the origins of Homo sapiens and the science that has led to this conclusion.

Introduction

The current geographical/anthropological arguments currently subscribed to by most scientists for whom this is an area of concern are the Recent Out of Africa hypothesis and the Multiregional Evolution Hypothesis, though there are also several other less accepted theories (Wu 2004). Basically, the argument of the widely held Recent Out of Africa Hypothesis claims suggests that modern man, Homo sapiens, evolved from other Homo precursors in Africa, and that a single population of Homo sapiens left Africa fairly recently in historic/geological terms, and that this population spread around the world and continued to evolve slightly into the observable ethnicities today (Wu 2004). The Recent Out of Africa Hypothesis does not give a complete and consistent answer to the issue of the origin and spread of Homo sapiens, however; aspects of this hypothesis are debated even amongst adherents.

The other major competing theory, the Multiregional Evolution Hypothesis, also believes that at some point the ancestors of modern humans came out of Africa and began to spread, and then developed into the various ethnicities of Homo sapiens independently in several different regions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East (Wu 2004). The data used in the field consists mainly of fossil records, which are notoriously incomplete and therefore, despite the amount of knowledge fossils can provide to scientific researchers, unreliable means of ascertaining the true evolution of most creatures, including Homo sapiens. Certain geological information can also be used in dating fossils as well as modeling weather patterns to propose times that migration might have been facilitated or necessitated, which when combined with the fossil record might provide more conclusive evidence (Wu 2004). The information so obtained, however, can be interpreted in many ways, leaving the problem still largely unsolved. This is where the hopeful solution of Homo sapiens sapeiens origins becomes genetic.

Genetic information is useful in several ways when attempting to discern the origin of any species, including Homo sapiens. Because the standard rate of genetic change has been fairly well established, many experts believe that the years when various branches of the Homo sapiens family tree diverged or evolved (Relethford 2008). This information can be used in tandem with the fossil record in an attempt… [read more]


Alfred Russel Wallace Essay

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Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was active in a number of scientific fields, which indicates a wide range of interests and expertise. Wallace is described as an "...English naturalist, evolutionist, geographer, anthropologist, and social critic and theorist" (Alfred Russel Wallace: A Capsule Biography). He is also often described as an 'outsider' with regard to the formal and accepted scientific community and this is often seen as a reason for his relative anonymity today - despite the fact that he was largely responsible for the idea of natural selection that was to lead to Darwin's theory of evolution. As one critic notes, Alfred Russel Wallace, was, "...the man who independently hit upon the idea of natural selection, and thereby prompted Charles Darwin to go public with his own version of the theory" (Gribbin, 2001).

This raises the question of why he has received so little acclaim after his death and why he is not very well-known today. Part of the answer to this question possibly lies in his biography and the fact that, unlike Darwin, he was not part of the privileged class of the society of the time and did not come from a wealthy background. He came from a family that was relatively poor and he spent much of his younger years learning and practicing various trades; for example, in 1839 he was apprenticed as a watchmaker for a time (Alfred Russel Wallace: A Capsule Biography). However, these trades allowed him to develop skills that would prove to be useful in his future development as a scientist and naturalist. "... he picked up a number of trades-related skills and knowledge, particularly in drafting and map-making, geometry and trigonometry, building design and construction, mechanics, and agricultural chemistry" (Alfred Russel Wallace: A Capsule Biography).

The central point that is being made is that Wallace did not enter into the world of science through the ordinary and conventional avenues. This was to result in the fact that he became a scientist who was not tied to the normative and rigid conventions of the time. While to a certain extent this relegated him to the periphery of the formal scientific community, the argument could also be made that this fact made him a much better scientist in that his vision or view of scientific reality was more open-ended and not determined by any slavish adherence to conventional scientific norms. For example, his background and eclectic knowledge led him to develop an interest and expertise in botany, geology, and astronomy.

It was his wide-ranging knowledge of geology and the natural sciences that led him to realize the possibilities of natural selection. Wallace recognized "...how he might go about demonstrating that evolution did in fact take place: by tracing out, over time and space, the geographical/geological records of individual phylogenies" (Alfred Russel Wallace: A Capsule Biography).

However, while his unconventional brilliance and insight…… [read more]


Punctuated Equilibrium v. Phyletic Gradualism Essay

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Punctuated Equilibrium v. Phyletic Gradualism

One of the biggest debates in the theory of evolution over the past thirty years has been between proponents of phyletic gradualism, who believe that evolution takes place at a fairly even -- though not necessarily smooth -- pace, and those who belong to the school of punctuated equilibrium, whose view is that evolution occurs in fits and starts, with long periods of stasis between evolutionary leaps. Both of these theories use the fossil record as evidence that suggests they are correct, and it is possible that the truth behind evolution contains elements of both phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. Because of the incompleteness of the fossil record, however, the truth about evolution will probably never be known for certain.

There is some disagreement on whether or not Darwin believed in phyletic gradualism. Stephen Jay Gould, one of the two scientists who first theorized the process of punctuated equilibrium in 1972, claims that the theory actually fits with most of Darwin's original theory of evolution, and only "refutes the third and most general meaning of Darwinian gradualism...[a] 'slowness and smoothness (but not constancy) of rate'" (Gould, 27). Gould argues that punctuated equilibrium does not deny the operation of natural selection, which many paleontologists and other scientists take as evidence of gradualism because of the small changes in individuals it causes. Gould claims that this is an incorrect interpretation of natural selection, claiming that "natural selection does not require or imply this degree of geological sloth and smoothness" (Gould, 27). Instead, according to the theory of punctuated equilibrium, natural selection occurs at population fringes, or when populations become separated (Ridley, 599). Small changes in small populations can accumulate rapidly, and cause speciation in a punctuated way, perhaps only taking a few generations to produce a non-interbreeding species separate from its ancestral group.

Until the theory of punctuated equilibrium was postulated, phyletic gradualism was accepted from Darwin's time on as the most likely mechanism by which macroevolution -- large-scale evolution dealing with a population rather than an individual lineage -- occurs. It was believed by Darwin and many others after him that the process of natural selection would cause a slow and gradual change in a population of species, resulting in the formation of new species over long periods of time, with little discernible difference from generation to generation (Ridley, 594). This theory also suggests, in contrast to punctuated equilibrium, that changes generally occur in populations as a whole, rather than merely on the fringes as Gould and others suggest (KVIE, par. 4). The main problem with this theory is that the fossil record does not contain evidence of many intermediary species -- that is, the series species with minute changes that ought to exist between obviously related species with major changes.

The fossil record is the main source of evidence and consternation…… [read more]


Neanderthals Ate Dolphins, Seals, Cave Remains Research Proposal

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Neanderthals Ate Dolphins, Seals, Cave Remains Suggest.

The article by John Roach details the recent findings about Neanderthal dietary habits unearthed in various caves in Gibraltar. According to the researchers who uncovered and examined the artifacts, the remains of dolphin, seals, mussels, and other types of marine life indicate that, contrary to previous assumptions, Neanderthals actually hunted and otherwise exploited the seas for food in much the same way as early Homo Sapiens.

Traditional anthropological and evolutionary theorists had previously believed that one of the reasons Homo Sapiens thrived while Neanderthals became extinct was substantially attributable to their inability to exploit some of the same resources responsible for the success of the early humans who eventually populated the entire planet. If the analyses of the recovered remains prove accurate, anthropologists must come up with alternate explanations for the apparent sudden disappearance of Neanderthals at time when they coexisted with Homo Sapiens as recently as 28,000 years ago.

Analysis and Commentary:

It may very well be that Neanderthals possessed capabilities and intelligence more similar to those of modern humans than previously believed. It is curious that so much intellectual thought is devoted to identifying the supposed differences between modern human beings and the last proto-humans to nearly survive into recorded history. In some ways, it reflects a sort of "anthropomorphism" that presumes something uniquely special about modern humans differentiates us from all other hominids and other animal species. We already know that…… [read more]


Civilization We Live in Is the Result Term Paper

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¶ … civilization we live in is the result of the constant evolution of the human kind. It represents a process of evolution and change of the human being, of its environment, and of the society he built and helped transform along the centuries. However, the most important aspect of the history of the world relies in the constant evolution… [read more]


Neanderthal Homo Sapien Term Paper

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Neanderthal/Homo Sapien

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens: What Really Happened?

Neanderthals were the predecessors of modern Homo sapiens that inhabited Europe and parts of west and central Asia until about 30,000 years ago. An increasing number of researchers believe that the Neanderthals were driven to extinction following the arrival of modern Homo sapiens, but others maintain that the two species interbred… [read more]


Charles Darwin the Voyage of the Beagle Term Paper

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Voyage of the Beagle

Adventures in the Tierra del Fuego and the Straits of Magellan: the ways in which Darwin appears to be a man of his culture and time and someone with a unique viewpoint about nature and the human race in his chronicles

As the founder of the radical theory of evolution, Charles Darwin is often called a man ahead of his time. His discussion of the different flora and fauna of the places he lived, and his comparative eye on his journeys while on the Beagle are extraordinarily modern in their detail and accuracy: "The central part of Tierra del Fuego, where the clay-slate formation occurs, is most favorable to the growth of trees; on the outer coast the poorer granitic soil, and a situation more exposed to the violent winds, do not allow of their attaining any great size" (Chapter 11). This shows how Darwin immediately observed that different environmental circumstances favored different types of trees.

However, Darwin's chronicles also show how in his racial attitudes, he was a man of his time. He views his own, European civilization as inherently superior to that of civilizations in other hemispheres, and sees the individuals whom he encounters in the "Tierra del Fuego," as chronicled in Chapter 10 the Voyage of the Beagle as less civilized than himself and his fellow Europeans simply because they come from a different culture. From his first encounters, he judges the natives with a moral, rather than a scientific eye, unlike his judgments of plants. "When we came within hail, one of the four natives who were present advanced to receive us, and began to shout most vehemently, wishing to direct us where to land. When we were on shore the party looked rather alarmed, but continued talking and making gestures with great rapidity. It was without exception the most curious and interesting spectacle I ever beheld: I could not have believed how wide was the difference between savage and civilized man: it is greater than between a wild and domesticated animal, inasmuch as in man there is a greater power of improvement"(Chapter 10). This passage shows how on one hand, the scientist in Darwin manifests itself, as he regards these so-called savage with wonder, rather than sheer terror like some of his companions. Yet he admits that because of the difference in clothing and language between himself and the natives, he sees their culture as wrong, as a spectacle rather than as having equal value to his own.

What is perhaps most extraordinary, however, about Darwin's immediate reaction to the natives is that he seems to show his evolutionary theory, but in a much less sophisticated manner when discussing people, in the way that he views the natives with European disdain. He sees the human species, much like an animal species, as evolving ever-forward in the march of progressing evolution and adaptation. However, while Darwin might say that the environment favoring giraffes with longer necks is not a moral issue merely… [read more]


Tool Assemblage Term Paper

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¶ … Assemblage

Stone tools from the time of the Neanderthals, the Middle Paleolithic in Europe, Africa (called the "Middle Stone Age") and the Near East, dating from about 300,000 years to about 40,000 years ago have survived in great quantities and now serve as the major means of determining hominin activities. Tool assemblages from this period are generally referred… [read more]


Western Civilization Nature of the Universe Term Paper

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Western Civilization

Nature of the Universe

Between 1850 and 1914, scientific thought and discovery became much more pronounced and accepted throughout society. Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" began to be acknowledged as true, and it helped indicate the world took thousands of years to evolve. The nature of the universe came into better understanding as well, as scientists began to discover new planets and stars, and understand that man and the Earth were far less dominant in the vastness of the universe. As scientists discovered the size and scope of the universe, humanity seemed far less important and influential in such a vast universe. In many areas, society became more equal, with classes disappearing and democracy appearing in more areas of Europe.

Science understood that the Earth had evolved and man had evolved. While man stood on the top-most rung of evolution on this planet, it was hard to know if there was life on other planets and what had evolved there. Thus, humanity's place…… [read more]


Thomas Kuhn's Book the Structure of Scientific Revolutions 3rd Edition Term Paper

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Thomas Kuhn's book - the structure of scientific revolutions 3rd edition

Thomas Kuhn's very influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, proposes a model or a pattern for the evolution of science throughout the ages. Kuhn makes use of specific concepts and of a careful structuring of the book in thirteen chapters that treat, in turn, of the basic aspects… [read more]


Evolutionary Development of the Horse Research Paper

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(McFadden, 1988)

The biological classification of the domestic horse, which is the animal that most people picture when the term 'horse' is used, is as follows: the horse belongs to the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata phylum, the Mammalia class, the Theria subclass, the Eutheria infraclass, the Perissodactyla order, the Equidae family, the Equus genus, the Equus Ferus species, and the Equus ferus caballus sub-species. The evolutionary process of the horse occurs within the categories of the family and the genus. (Hall and Olsen, 2007)

The small horses of the Eocene period, about 20 million years ago, were doggish in appearance with arched backs, short necks, short snouts, short legs, and long tails. The first Equid was Hyracotherium, a small forest animal of the early Eocene. In the early-middle Eocene period, Hyracotherium gradually gave way to the Orohippus, who closely resembled his ancestor with minor changes in the toes and significant changes in the teeth. During the middle Eocene the Epihippis arose from the Orohippus. This animal was also very similar to his most previous ancestor, with a great deal of tooth evolution taking place in this transition. There is a late form of Orohippus called Duchesnehippus, with teeth similar to later Oligocene horses, and it is unclear whether this particular creature is a subgenus or a species of Epihippus. (Simpson, 1961)

Prothero and Shubin (1989) tell readers that the late Eocene period and the early Oligocene period brought about a great deal of change in the horse, due to climate and foliage changes. North America was becoming drier, grasses were beginning to evolve, and forests were shrinking. Horses of this time period developed tougher teeth and longer, stronger legs for running. The species Mesohippus celar… [read more]


Modern Human Divergence Term Paper

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¶ … divergence between humans beings was once commonly considered by scholars to have happened no later than the early Pleistocene, or over 1.5 million years ago. Why did 19th and even late 20th century evolutionary theorists believe in an early divergence of the human species? Why did most scholars after World War 2 believe that Neandertals were our ancestors? In anthropology and paleontology, recent work has focused on evidence that the earliest African modern human fossils and their recent ancestors were from a single human ancestor, poetically named mitochondrial Eve. Since 1988, DNA evidence has come to light that shows that all living humans have a common ancestor only 160,000 years ago while neandertals diverged at least 500,000 years ago. The evidence was revealed in popular magazines such as Newsweek (Tierney 46-52.). Given the popular and widespread access to the evidence why was the molecular genetic evidence for this late divergence considered controversial and unacceptable, even though the same scholars accepted genetic evidence for the late divergence of humans and African apes? How does our recent African origin affect concepts of race and racism? How has the new reports of hybridization between neandertals and non-African populations reignited the debate?

In this author's opinion, what is very startling about this early date not only upsets religious fundamentalists, but it humorously challenges many evolutionists' equally fundamental and orthodox conviction that the human family tree began much earlier., that is, millions of years earlier than actually happened.

Ironically both are based upon a dogma that has been set up and a community's agenda, existence (and usually careers) have been based upon an established orthodoxy whose overthrow will jeopardize an established order. The only difference between the two is that the early evolutionary orthodoxy which overthrew the creationist orthodoxy is now paradoxically in the same position battling the forces of analysis in evolutionary change. In addition, this most recent biological evolution is not propelled as much by an agenda other than the one to gather data. Largely, it has been allowing the data itself to frame the debate and to define the agenda by not defining it at all. It is truly a pursuit of scientific truth via the scientific method at its best.

Traditionally, most scientists support the multiregional hypothesis maintain that Homo sapiens evolved as a series of geographically separate but interbreeding populations stemmed from a worldwide migration of Homo Erectus out of the continent of Africa nearly 2.5 million years ago. More recently uncovered evidence suggests that Neanderthal genomes may have contributed about 4% of non-African heredity (Johanson).

Broadly speaking, two themes unify the present search for biological Adams and Eves. First, there is an interest in identifying the biological mechanisms by which human diversity was generated, with a particular focus on the role of population extinction as an engine of change as evolutionary bottlenecks become paradigmatic catalysts. Secondly, there is the integration of morphological, behavioral and genetic patterns that investigators have identified among recent groups of people with the… [read more]


Fossils Are the Preserved Remains or Traces Essay

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Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of those remains from animals, plants and other organisms from. The fossil record and their placement in geological strata (rock formations containing fossils) is known as the fossil record. The science of paleontology is the study of fossils across geological time -- how they were formed, what the evolutionary relationships were between the different fossils, and most importantly the relationship between organisms across time. Fossils vary in size, of course, based on the organism -- from microscopic to gigantic. Soft tissue is not normally preserved, so it is the bones or marks left behind (footprints or feces) that are typically found. In general, fossils are formed by the replacement of the empty spaces or parts of the organism with minerals or molds. There are several types of this: permineralization fills cavities with minerals from groundwater; authigenic mineralization forms mineral casts around the organism, or expression that compresses material and changes the carbon to rock over time (Pojeta and Springer, 2005).

The theory of evolution was developed out of the work of 19th century botanist and explorer, Charles Darwin and his book On the Origin of Species. Essentially, it is a scientific theory that postulates that organisms change over time based on pressures from the environment that cause genetic mutations within the organism. Over time, these changes are more adapted to a specific environment, more of that organism live longer and reproduce more, thus causing those traits to become even more entrenched in the population. Life then, is part of a gigantic tree in which primitive organisms, over millions and millions of years, evolved into higher beings due to the product of two opposing forces: variation in traits (common or rare) and natural selection (which traits aid survival) (Understanding Evolution).

Classic Darwinian evolution holds that species gradually change over time based on environmental pressures. However, that does not explain the manner in which the fossil record shows leaps in between species. Punctuated evolution (equilibrium), a theory from Stephen J. Gould and others, holds that rather than gradually, evolution gets a "kick start" with certain external or environmental changes (drastic weather, etc.). Instead of gradually over thousands of generations, then, it happens quickly (in genetic terms) over hundreds of generations. This theory, developed with Niles Eldedge proposes that evolution is not gradual, but really the combination of long period of species stability, puntuated by dramtic instances of genetic mutation and species…… [read more]


John Dewey When Charles Darwin First Published Essay

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John Dewey

When Charles Darwin first published his On the Origin of Species in 1859 it immediately sparked a scientific and theological controversy with the intellectual world. But Darwin's theory of evolution did more than simply cause disagreements between intellectuals, it changed the very way that people think. Prior to Darwin's book, the human race lived in a secure world… [read more]


Seeley, Robin Hadlock. "Intense Natural Selection Caused Essay

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Seeley, Robin Hadlock. "Intense Natural Selection Caused a Rapid Morphological Transition in a Living Marine Snail." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 83.8 (Sep. 15, 1986): 6897-6901.

One of the most controversial issues within the scientific community surrounding evolution is the extent to which rapid evolution is possible. While there is no doubt that there are seismic 'gaps' in the existing fossil record that is available for study, the causation of these apparent 'jumps' in the evolutionary process is not self-evident. To fill in some of these gaps, evolutionary biologists study apparent evidence of evolution within the contemporary animal kingdom. This article is an examination of such a review.

Specifically, the article deals with a snail native to Northern New England known as Littorina obtusata. Researchers observed that the snail's shell shape and shell thickness had apparently altered in a noticeable fashion between the years 1871-1984. Because of the information available from previous research, scientists were able to discern that the shells of the snails that were harvested before 1900 were almost exclusively characterized by high-spierd, thick walls, versus the shells collected of a far more recent duration from 1982-84. These more recently gathered shells were largely characterized by low-spierd, thick walls. In one instance, the snails shells collected in Nahant, Appledore Island, or Isle au Haut prior to 1900 were higher- spierd and thinner than those collected in 1982-1984, showing a deviation of .9 within at most 86 generations, which is highly unusual in terms of the rapidity of morphological change.

The specific controversy the study of the snail was attempting to address was the contention by some evolutionary biologists that the gaps in fossil records are not due to natural selection within a species but are instead due to the…… [read more]


Atwood by the Time Essay

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The genetically modified organisms appear and reappear throughout The Year of the Flood, adding continuity and showing how humans are adjusting to their new normal.

In Chapter 8, Toby talks about the Mo'Hair sheep, bred of course for their ability to produce massive amounts of wool. In fact, Toby comments about how thanks to Mo'Hair sheep she lost a valuable source of income selling her own hair. The name Mo'Hair is eerily the same as that of mohair, which is a natural form of wool from a specific breed of goat. The name therefore evokes the sense that the world depicted in The Year of the Flood is not much different from our own. Indeed, readers are aware that genetically modified foods are already being consumed; the leap from modern science to science in The Year of the Flood is not a big one.

By the end of the novel, the genetic modification and hybridization reaches an epic level. Human beings are interfering with the natural process of evolution in ways that are both damaging and irreversible. The extent of the effect reflects one of Adam One's sermons: "We pray that we may not fall into the error of pride by considering ourselves as exceptional, alone in all Creation in having Souls; and that we will not vainly imagine that we are set above all other Life, and may destroy it at our pleasure, and with impunity," (Chapter 10).

Human beings are ingesting the mutant creatures; they are letting them loose and even modifying the bodies of human beings to serve puerile ends. The sermons of Adam One punctuate the new reality, showing how "the fragility of the cosmos" has been revealed (Chapter 76). Well-meaning human beings have no choice but to honor the living creatures that…… [read more]


Summary of Darwin's Untimely Burial Term Paper

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¶ … Darwin's Untimely Burial" by Stephen J. Gould.

The topic concerns Darwin's theories of evolution and natural selection as explicated by Stephen J. Gould in his book, Ever Since Darwin. The specific focus is the fourth chapter, entitled "Darwin's Untimely Burial." In this chapter, Gould responds to arguments and corollaries presented by Tom Bethell, who holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection has disproved itself as a result of a logical error in argument. Gould uses his essay not as much to refute Bethell's claims of faulty logic, but rather to prove that, within Darwin's flawed argument, there remains a core of truth.

Bethell's first argument then entails that Darwin was essentially misled by his own lack of logical reasoning when constructing his theory of natural selection. Specifically, the author draws attention to the inherent tautology of the phrase "survival of the fittest," which basically defines fitness in terms of survival, and furthermore entails that those who survive, survive, which is an empty statement and not scientifically valid.

The transition to Bethell's second argument is achieved by a summary of Darwin's theory relating to pigeon breeding, and how this correlates with natural selection. Gould argues that Darwin's focus is on artificial selection for breeding purposes, according to which "fittest" acquires a different meaning to survival. In terms of breeding the term relates to predetermined, desirable traits, rather than a natural inclination towards strength of constitution.

Bethell's second argument is then that, because there is in nature no independent criterion relating to fitness, any argument for natural selection becomes tautological and scientifically invalid.

Bethell offers two corollaries for his argument. The first relates to the concept and nature of natural selection. The author questions natural selection as a creative force when fitness means only survival, as…… [read more]


Gould vs. Bethell Darwin's Untimely Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (998 words)
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SAMPLE TEXT:

Rather, just look at Darwin's first chapter that is devoted, as Gould notes, to 'artificial selection' of favored traits by animal breeders. For here an independent criterion surely operates. The pigeon fancier knows what he wants. The fittest are not defined by their survival. They are, rather, allowed to survive because they possess desired traits. Further: "Survival of the fittest" is not a tautology. "It is also not the only imaginable or reasonable reading of the evolutionary record. It is testable. It had rivals that failed under the weight of contrary evidence and changing attitudes about the nature of life. It has rivals that may succeed, at least in limiting its scope."

Further, adds Gould, the "principle of natural selection depends upon the validity of an analogy with artificial selection. We must be able, like the pigeon fancier, to identify the fittest beforehand, not only by their subsequent survival. But nature is not an animal breeder; no preordained purpose regulates the history of life. In nature, any traits possessed by survivors must be counted as 'more evolved'; in artificial selection, 'superior' traits are defined before breeding even begins."

In terms of the two corollaries, Gould argues that Bethell is looking at evolution only as an alteration in numbers, not as a change in quality. "Nature, however, is not limited by the calculations of theoretical geneticists. In nature, A's 'superiority' over B. will be expressed as differential survival, but it is not defined by it." Gould admits that his defense of Darwin is not radical or revolutionary. The main point is: Certain morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits should be superior a priori as designs for living in new environments. "These traits confer fitness by an engineer's criterion on a good design, not by the empirical fact of their survival and spread. It got colder before the woolly mammoth evolved its shaggy coat." As for the industrial capitalism of Victorian England, responds Gould, "according to Bethell, Darwin's concept of natural selection as a creative force can be no more than an illusion encouraged by the social and political climate of his times. In the throes of Victorian optimism in imperial Britain, change seemed to be inherently progressive; why not equate survival in nature with increasing fitness in the nontautological sense of improved design."

Concludes Gould:

I maintain, perhaps naively, that its (natural selection) current, unabated popularity must have something to do with its success in explaining the admittedly imperfect information we now possess about evolution. I rather suspect that we'll have Charles Darwin to kick around for some time.

(It is interesting to note that Gould's article was written in 1976 and a recent article in Discover Magazine describes how digital organisms that are "breeding" on computers at Michigan State University are proving Darwin's theory of evolution time and time again.)

Reference Cited:

Gould, Jay. Darwin's Untimely Burial. Dispite reports to the contrary, the theory of natural selection remains very much alive. Stephen Jay Gould Archive.

Retrieved 13 February, 2005.…… [read more]


Marcellin Boule Who First Identified Term Paper

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SAMPLE TEXT:

This issue is closely related to the extinction of Neanderthals. According to some scientists, the extinction of Neanderthals was a sudden phenomenon: they were quickly replaced by Homo sapiens in all areas they had populated. On the other hand, several other scientists believe the replacement of Neanderthals was a process that took several thousands of years. We are faced with two different evolutionary models to be described.

The multi-regional model asserts that there was a global evolution "modern H. sapiens because a sufficient level of interbreeding throughout the dispersed population was maintained over this long time period"

. This would obviously mean that replacement was gradual and it bases its theory on the fossil evidence showing that in several geographical areas, the hominid populations were stable over an interval of several thousands of years.

On the other hand, the replacement model suggests that "modern populations result from a recent global migration of mankind from a single locale that replaced any earlier hominids (such as Neandertals) whenever they came in contact"

. According to this theory, contact between more evolved hominids, such as the Homo sapiens, and less evolved ones, such as Neanderthals, would have resulted in a sudden replacement of the latter.

One of the mysteries of science and, especially, of evolutionary theories is related to the missing link in the evolutionary chain. There are scientist groups that believe the Neanderthals represent the missing link that we are all looking for. On the other hand, genetic research and significant anatomical differences come against the belief that the Neanderthals were just a regional variant of modern man.

Bibliography

1. Oard, Michael. Neandertal Man -- the changing picture. February 2003. On the Internet at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2003/0217neandertal.asp

2. Human Evolution. On the Internet at http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/evolution/HumanEvolution.shtml

3. Foley, Jim. Fossil Hominids: mitochondrial DNA. September 2003. On the Internet at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/mtDNA.html

4. Fox, Maggie. Your forefathers were not Neanderthals. January 2004. On the Internet at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1066168/posts

5. Bloom, John. On Human Origins: A Survey. Christian Scholar's Review. 2005. On the Internet at http://www.cccu.org/resourcecenter/resID.974,parentCatID.245/rc_detail.asp

Oard, Michael. Neandertal Man -- the changing picture. February 2003. On the Internet at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2003/0217neandertal.asp

Ibid.

Ibid.

Human Evolution. On the Internet at http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/evolution/HumanEvolution.shtml

Foley, Jim. Fossil Hominids: mitochondrial DNA. September 2003. On the Internet at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/mtDNA.html

Fox, Maggie. Your forefathers were not Neanderthals. January 2004. On the Internet at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1066168/posts

Bloom, John. On Human Origins: A Survey. Christian Scholar's Review. 2005. On the Internet at http://www.cccu.org/resourcecenter/resID.974,parentCatID.245/rc_detail.asp

Ibid.

Ibid.… [read more]

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