The first writing assignment is the 2004 National Geographic article “Was Darwin Wrong?” by David Quammen (see link below). Please read the article and write a 3-4 page paper (double-spaced, 10-12 pt font, 1000-1500 words) for submission. Each paper should consist primarily of a very detailed review of the article (use the first 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pages to tell me what the article was about), with a short discussion section at the end (last 1/2 page). Do not cut-n-paste from the text or other sources, and do not include quotations from the article.
Was Darwin Wrong
Charles Darwin was married to Emma, a Christian and, when he was an undergraduate from Cambridge, he was studying to become a doctor. When Darwin realized that he could be a scientist, he spent almost 22 years working and acquiring evidence about his theory in silence. He was not ready to reveal his work to anyone. Darwin then changed his belief to be an agnostic. An agnostic is a person who has a belief that nothing is known or could be known to existence, or someone who claims their disbelief or faith in God.
In David Quammen’s article, ‘Was Darwin Wrong?’, Quammen thinks that the Darwinian evolution theory is just a theory, it’s unreliable and, simply an explanation to his statement. Darwin developed a scientific theory on biological evolution explaining how modern organisms evolved and shaped over long periods of time from a common ancestor. Most religious people do not believe that human beings are descendants of earlier primates. Darwin spent several years gathering evidence so that, when people ask him questions, he would know what exactly to say concerning his theory. Darwin did not want to appear unpersuasive about his theory to everybody.
The evolution by natural selection theory by Charles Darwin is the main concept of the life of his work. Darwin’s theory is concerning the diversity, origin and complexity of adaptation among living things on earth (Quammen 5). Theories are descriptions that have been confirmed to a certain extent, by observations and experiments and, accepted as factual by experts. Theories such as the continental drift, the concept of electricity, the theory of relativity, and the atomic theory are statements explained with adequate evidence, and not just imaginable and dreamy speculations (Quammen 5). Scientists embrace these accounts with confidence but tentatively because they accept them as the most convenient view of reality until some improved conflicting information or improved explanations are developed.
The theory of evolution is unique in some way. Despite the immense evidence in support of its view, the majority of people, especially unconventional Jews and Christian fanatics, do not accept that Darwin’s theory of evolution contradicts the creation of Genesis. An Islamic creationist known as Harun Yahya, describes Darwin’s theory as a deceit imposed on people by the dominators of the world system (Quammen 5). Also, the late Hare Krishna explained that Darwin’s theory of evolution is illogical and, asserted that God created 8.4 million life species from the beginning of the world (Quammen 5). According to Krishna, God did this to establish several reincarnation tiers for rising souls. He insisted that species did not change, even though souls rose.
It is not only religious fanatics who are unpersuaded by the theory of evolution. Gallup conducted an interview in the US through several cell phone interviews. In the interview, approximately 45% of the participants were in agreement that God created human beings in their present-day form sometime within the past 10,000 or so years (Quammen 5). Approximately 37% accepted the existence of God and the Darwinian theory and, only 12% believed that human beings are not created by the involvement of a higher power, but instead, have evolved from some other life forms (Quammen 5). These poll numbers have remained constant over the decades because the participants in Gallup’s interview have given almost the same results from 1982 to 1999 (Quammen 5). The lack of attitude change concerning the Darwinian theory in Americans is attributable to several factors. Firstly, scriptural literalism with Christian evangelists and political activists working hard towards impeding evolutionary knowledge in public schools. The second factor is, majority of American adults are oblivious and honestly confused about evolution.
Evolution is a very vital concept that is especially important to medical science apprehension of the world and human welfare. Evidence in support of evolution is vast and it is available in peer-reviewed articles, books, textbooks, and museums, hence, evolution should not be viewed as just a religious matter (Quammen 6). The main issues in the evolution theory are, species evolution as a historical occurrence and, natural selection as the key event resulting in evolution. Charles Darwin was not the only scientist suggesting that all species are descendants of the same ancestors. However, Darwin’s work was the most influential because it provided a logical explanation of the occurrence of evolution. It is worth noting that, Alfred Russel Wallace also shares in the compliments for the discovery of natural selection.
According to natural selection, heritable, small, and random variations among individuals cause different survival and reproductive chances such as some becoming successful and others dying without offsprings. Speciation is another important component of evolution. According to the concept of speciation, sometimes, there is an accumulation of genetic alterations within an isolated segment of species. The isolated population adjusts to its new environments and gradually finds its way and occupies a new ecological niche (Quammen 7). In a given time, a species becomes irreversibly distinct such that, its members are not able to crossbreed with other species.
According to Quammen, the evidence of evolution as presented by Charles Darwin mainly falls within four classes; morphology, biogeography, embryology, and paleontology (3). Morphology is the study of the form and structure of words in any language. Biogeography is the diverse species of organisms living in different parts of the world; it is the study of where organisms live. Living things, wind and water are the agents of dispersal. Embryology is the study of prenatal development. Prenatal development is the pre-implantation period, the embryonic period, and the fetal period. Paleontology is the study of fossils. In addition to the four biological science branches of Darwin, other branches have been developed recently, they include; genomics, population genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Darwin was not wrong about evolution, but he was wrong about every other thing (Quammen 8). For example, Darwin’s inheritance theory turned out to be wrong.
Darwin spent 5 weeks in the Galapagos Islands observing different species of flinch and each of the species had unique beaks based on the type of food provided at the island. Darwin explained that all the bird species had evolved from a common flinch ancestor. Darwin also discovered different kinds of mocking birds in the different islands that he traveled to on his ship
According to Quammen, Darwin was wrong on the causes of variation in species. Darwin was wrong concerning a popular geological mystery in the parallel shelves along Glen Roy Valley (Quammen 6). Darwin thought carefully and he was good about what he presented about evolution. Quammen asked Dr.Futuyma, a highly esteemed evolutionary biologist, about some evidence on the Darwinian theory of evolution. Dr.Futuyma responded by discussing modern genetics, biogeography, and paleontology. According to Quammen, Darwin was wrong in his theory of variations among each species and his theory of inheritance. Quammen explains that Darwin was wrong in both fields and correct for the most part which is the science of today, the evolution by natural selection.
Today, study on microbial disease is urgent. The dynamics of disease-causing microbes present within the human body can only be explained through evolution. Disease-causing microbes can change quickly and can transfer from animals to human beings, or from one person to another. The ability of disease-causing microbes to adapt to new environments is what makes them dangerous and difficult to treat. Human beings are always inventing killer drugs but microbes always find a way of surviving. The forced transformation among microbial germs is the best evidence currently in support of the Darwinian theory. Stephen Palumbi stated that human beings may be the most considerable domineering evolutionary force in the world (Quammen 9). Palumbi made this statement after calculating the cost of treating certain infections and found the cost to be 30 billion us dollars per year.
Darwin was only right about evolution by natural selection. Quammen tries persuading the reader that Darwin was right and, there is no actual evidence that could deny his beliefs. There is no other way of handling disease-causing microbes other than through inventing antibiotics. However, bacteria become resistant to antibiotics after some time and, even stronger species develop. Nevertheless, antibiotics are still helpful, especially in treating HIV. Antiretroviral drug AZT quickly resists HIV therefore, improved drug combinations have been used in the management of HIV. Therefore, this has helped in reducing the number of death rates due to HIV and, significantly reduced the progression of diseases within HIV patients.
Quammen, David. Was Darwin Wrong? National Geographic Society, 2004.
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