Darwin's "great idea" outraged many, like Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, at the Scopes Monkey Trial and even in today's legislative bodies and curriculum planners.
But, what is the science involved?
This course will use labs, discussion, videos, and our imaginations as we look toward the future.
Some considerations will be genetics, DNA, what is a species, factors in natural selection, and Darwinian vs Lamarckian evolution.
Leonora: 22 years delighting kids with programs at Hollis's
Beaver Brook nature area. BS in Natural Science, MS in Science Education
Jim: ex-computer geek and current futurist, Recent RISE/OLLI courses listed at http://is.gd/STEM4all
The nature of Science and people
- What is science? Class definitions; The "scientific
- The nature of people to organize things and tell stories
- Linnaeus, sorting and taxonomy, a Lab
- Darwin's finches and clipbirds, Labs
- What is specie? Class definitions
- What is evolution? Class definition and the definitions
of others, incl. Lamarck (Blackmore)
- Darwin: what makes him special?
What Darwin had to assume
- Age of the earth: time to evolve, dating, Usher (Sunday, 23 Oct. 4004 BC)
- Lyle: Stratigraphy( rock layers)
- Lord Kelvin and geothermal dating
- Wegener and Plate tectonics, -- "Music Video" or explainatory video
- Radiometric dating techniques
- The stuff of life: Primordial soup
- What is a fossil: rocks imitating life; missing links; -------------- 100 ft timeline Lab
- Extinctions and new species - heretical ideas;
Clipbirds 2, calories & reproduction lab and history chart
What is life? Genetics
- Mendel defines genes and how traits get passed to new
generations: dominate, recessive, and quantitative.
genetic makeup; You as a "specie",
a simple phenotypes lab; Dinosaur game=evolution
- DNA, Crick and Watson, bases, alleles, genes,
regulators,; Duplication, innovation(mutations) selection; DNA as
digital information yields-accuracy of reproduction;
Base pairs mutation and Chimp-human DNA comparison Labs
- Climbing Mt. Improbable (Dawkins): intermediate forms and
independently evolved forms
- Punctuated Equilibrium vs gradual change
- 2% advantage in a population of 500 becomes ubiquitous
over time (gradualism)
- What is the diagnostic distinction between species?
Example: Greenish Warblers
- Beyond the genome Histones and Tags (link to University of Utah vido)
- Intro info http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/
- Methyl groups and diet http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/nutrition/
- PBS "Ghost in Our Genes" -- Nova NOW segment
- and the Hank Green video (goes deeper, with different style)
- Try Folding your own RNA: EteRNA a "game" at CMU
- So What?
- What would you like? What would you like for your grand
Garrison Keilor's Lake Woebegone (where all the kids are above
average); eugenics historicaly and looking forward
2012 stem cells into germ cells opens the door for clones,
"non-traditional" genetic offspring
- Lamarck (revisited), epigenesis, conscious control
- Is there a "direction" -- is Progress part of the Darwinian story?
- Is evolution still happening? Drug resistant diseases
(TB, HIV, MRSA); Pesticide resistant insects;
- Adam and Eve and the family of man.(Y-Chromosome, mitochondrial
- Will our children be different? TED video.
23andMe awarded patent on gamete cell selection (Sept. 2013)
- Evolution of non-biological things: memes, temes,
- Vernor Vinge suggests "corporations" as evolutionary entities, compares to bacteria
Some resources you may want to consider can get the thinking cap operational even before we start classes
The Original Books & pointers
- The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, 6th Edition by Charles Darwin, 1859; Free online formats from Project Gutenburg
- The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin, 1871 (also on on Project Gutenburg)
- Gregor Mendel -- Genetics
- The Double Helix, James Watson; document's Watson & Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA
- Plate Tectonics proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912
- Bryson, Bill; A Short History of Nearly Everything; 2003
- Sykes, Bryan; The Seven Daughters of Eve; 2002 -- European mitochondrial Eve analysis
- Wells, Spencer; The Journey of Man; 2002 -- and associated PBS documentary leading to "Adam"
- Prothero, Donald; Evolution -- What Fossils Say Matters, 2007
- Carroll, Sean B.; The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution; 2007
Details how DNA provides the engine for evolution; challenges creationism on scientific grounds
- Church, George & Regis, Ed; Regenesis, 2012 - explores the future potential of genetic engineering
PBS/BBC Documentaries and related educational materials:
YouTube, TED, Kahn Academy, Great Courses and other information sources
- Growing up in the Universe, and many other challenging videos by Richard Dawkins -- on his YouTube Channel
(Dawkins Books: Climbing Mount Improbable, The Blind Watchmaker, etc. delve into the mechanisms of Evolution.)
- Will our Kids be a different Species? Juan Enriqez http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/juan_enriquez_will_our_kids_be_a_different_species.html
a short overview from big bang to the genome differences affecting the London Olympics -- and what it means for our kids
- Are we ready for neo-evolution? Harvey Fineberg
- Memes and Temes, Susan Blackmore
Susan provides a quick overview of Darwinian Evolution in the window 1:20 to 4:07 of this talk --- then goes in another direction
- Introduction to Evolution, Kahn Acadamy
- Clarification on Evolution, Kahn Acadamy -- concept of "progress" vs evolutionary fitness -- who will parent then next generations?
also expands on his "Intelligent design" session - distinguishing evolution as the foundation of modern biology, vs a belief system.
- Try folding proteins for science at http://eterna.cmu.edu it's a game, but with real objectives: crowd sourcing protein shapes
- Great Courses programs we used in expanding our understanding: (These programs periodically go on sale for ~$40 or so)
Gregory, Fredrick; The Darwinian Revolution; 2008(?)
Silver, Lee; Science of Self; 2009
- Neat 3-D models of geologic and Paleozoic things from California State
- Lamarckian Evolution
- Chronozoom tool for viewing the 14 billion year time line of the universe down to the "last second" (ok maybe down to a few years)
- Hurley, Dan; Discover Magazine, May 2013 p48 , Traits vs Fate -- epigenetics examples, methyl group process description
- DeExtinction - bringing back extinct species by genetic engineering techniques
The Controversy - Evolution vs Creationism -- (Not covered in this course)
- Darwin himself was hesitant in releasing his document, being aware of the controversy that would ensue from the implicit evolution of humans, and required time frame.
- In 1860 this emerged as the Wilburforce/Huxley debate see:
- This surfaced in the U.S in the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial which is fictionalized in the play/movie Inherit the Wind
Note that Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution -- the trial being created for "show" more than practical constitutional/legal analysis
The US Supreme court ruled in 1968, in Epperson v. Arkansas that Evolution could not be prohibited, and against "Creation Science" in 1987, in Edwards v. Aguilard
and more recently (2005) the district court found the same objections to the teaching of Intelligent Design in Dover PA
- Pope John Paul Paul II told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996 that “new scientific knowledge has led us to the conclusion that the theory of evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis.” per Father George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory
- "In the Beginning": The Creationist Controversy", a two-part documentary on the creation-evolution debate, was first broadcast over PBS in May 1995. Randall Balmer, Professor, Barnard College,Department of Religion Faculty, Columbia University
- Bill Nye's message "Creationism is not Suitable for Children" (2.31 min) -- Or the 2 hour 45 minute debate with Ken Ham at the Creation Museum