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Lesson Plans


Re: Fw: creationism vs. evolutionism

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lawrence A. Parker/OCCTI (occti)
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 23:47:00 -0400


----- Original Message -----
From: Lincoln Arts <lincarts>
Subject: Re: Fw: creationism vs. evolutionism

> > Is everyone aware of what Darwin discovered, how and
> >why, and why he was so vehemently attacked by the church and religious
> >factions? What did Darwin find, and what did it imply?
>
> No, and obviously not.

And one of you thought that philosophical discussion didn't go over well on
this list!! Hah!! ;>)))

Look, Darwin was a botanist; he studied plants. (Bit of history, and I
quote: "In order to fully understand the sensations of a nineteenth-century
European in the tropics, we must remember that Europe had been ravaged by
the final Ice Age to a greater extent than any other part of the planet.
More than 80 percent of local plant species had perished. Until the
mid-seventeenth century, Europeans had never even glimpsed many of the
plants that form our everyday landscape."

(Two comments: Of course, this Ice Age never occurred in the creationists'
world, and, for you artists, this was the reason for Claude Monet's creation
of the gardens at Giverny - so that he could paint flowers!)

All of the above led many European explorers to bring back plants and
flowers from their travels - to replenish the devastated landscape. Gardens
began to flourish, as well as plants bred in greenhouses. Darwin noticed
differences between 'domesticated' plants and plants 'in natura or their
ancestral forms'. Thus, either there were very many varieties of, say,
Begonias,...or something was changing the Begonias. Darwin developed his
theories of adaptation and natural selection according to the evidence in
front of him. He was to much of a systematic scientist to do otherwise.

"HOWEVER, the Bible stated the opposite. According to Genesis, the world of
Darwin's time was identical to the world that God had created in six days."

See the problem? It is all a matter of change in life forms, Homo sapiens
notwithstanding. So it has been a debate between those who support the idea
of unchanging species and those that support the idea that species evolved.
Interestingly, the idea of evolving species dates back to the Greeks
philosophers. What changed between the time of the Greeks and the time of
Darwin? The Christian Church, and only that.

Quoted passages are from "Darwin: Nature Reinterpreted" by Pietro Ventura,
Houghton Mifflin (1995). I used the book to teach my children about
Darwin's theories. By the way, I did present them with theories from 'both
sides'. They talked about it and decided that the religious theory was
silly and seemed contrary to common sense. They were 8 and 12 at the time,
last year.

By the way, Darwin stated his underlying principle thus: "As many more
individuals of each species are born than can survive (attributed to the
thinking of one Thomas Malthus, according to whom populations increased
geometrically while food supplies increase in a simple arithmetic
progression, thus forcing living beings into a struggle for survival), and
as consequently there is frequently recurring a struggle for existence, it
follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable
to itself...will have a better chance of surviving and thus be naturally
selected. This preservation of favourable individual differences and the
variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called
Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest."

It is an interesting side note, and worth serious consideration in the light
of what is happening to education these days, that that attribute which most
ensures Homo sapiens' survival, so much so that it is a critical part of its
classification - "THINKING man", is that same faculty which is being
threatened into atrophy (de-generation).

Best,
Larry Parker