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Should Math Be Taught in Schools?

((Sad to say, this parody is hardly exaggerated at all. A few of the answers are almost verbatim to the actual answers of the Miss USA contestants to "Should Evolution Be Taught in Schools." Go watch that video on YouTube and see for yourself)).

(((There are days I think I am living in the world of Kornbluth's "Marching Morons." Just look at reality TV, and remember the hit show in his story)))

(((I am vastly pleased that the eventual Miss USA winner, and GAME OF THRONES fan, does "believe in evolution." And presuambly in math as well))).



Jul. 6th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Evolution and what is really is....

I'm seeing a lot of posts here, did on the last mention of this but was unable to respond because it got locked before I looked at it, but as an anthropologist, I think it's time for some lessons.

Saxter, your post is a prime-cut example of the root of the problem with deniers of evolution; they talk and criticize something they don't know and understand...probably without having done any real research on the subject.

So allow me to provide you, and anyone else reading, a quick lesson on what exactly evolution is, something that can be covered in an introductory biological anthropology course, too.

First is that evolution can be summed up in three little words, "change over time". That's it. That's evolution. Period.

The theory of evolution, as it pertains to biological organisms, has four primary mechanisms. Darwin developed (well, was the first to publish, anyway) the most well known one, that being natural selection. What this states is that traits which promote survival long enough to reproduce gets passed on. There are many examples of this, good ones being the English moths and Darwin's finches (type those phrases in along with the word evolution for details on those examples).

The second mechanism is the thing which generates these traits which pass or fail the natural selection test; the mechanism of mutation. Mutations in the DNA (which happens constantly in all forms of eukaryotic life, such as humans...there are mutations occurring in your cells even now). However, the only time such mutations stick is when they occur in gametes, or reproductive cells. (Sperm and eggs.)

These two are what I tend to term as the direct mechanisms; these are the ones that have the biggest direct impact on speciation.

The third mechanism is what's known as gene flow. In this, the idea is that as genes "flow" throughout a population, they spread out and become a prominent part of the population's traits. Red hair is an example of this. Sorry if this explanation isn't very good, I've never been able to explain it very well.

The fourth is called genetic drift, also difficult to explain (sorry), but basically refers to differences that can crop up in different genetic populations once the other mechanisms have been taken into consideration.

Evolution is accorded a theory because of the random factor involved. Whereas with many experiments in physics, for example, an experiment's results must be duplicatable given all of the same factors, the same cannot be done with with an evolutionary experiment because of the random chance factors involved.

One of the biggest issues surrounding the doubt of evolution is the misinformation about it that continually promotes misunderstanding, such as the idea that man evolved from monkeys. Any self-respecting anthropologist or biologist will laugh at hearing that. Evolution merely states that man and monkeys came from a common ancestor. Evolution is a fact and it isn't limited to biological organisms, either. Things we have today, like toasters, automobiles, computers and even Mr. Martin's books are all effected by evolution. After all, what we see in print isn't always what he first writes down.

Saxter, Human beings make perfect sense in accordance with evolution when you look at other species by having a basic understanding of the mechanisms described above. And when you place Homo Sapiens (humans) within the context of Linnean taxonomy, it will make even MORE sense.

My apologies for my explanations....I am no teacher and have a hard time explaining things I understand clearly in ways that others could understand, too, but a lookup of those mechanisms should provide anyone interested with more detailed and better phrased explanations.

I hope, at least, that this has provided people with a bit more understanding of what evolution really is.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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