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Belief v. understanding


 

Scientists assess Gary Goodyear’s views on evolution.

Elizabeth Elle, a biology professor at Simon Fraser University, said it’s good to hear the minister accepts the theory of evolution, but she was concerned about the example he provided.

“I think it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how evolution by natural selection works,” she added.

The fundamental premise is that genetic variation among organisms results in differences in their “fitness” — a biological term referring to the number of offspring they have. That ultimately leads certain characteristics to become prevalent among their descendents. However, the types of characteristics that result in more offspring change over time as the environment changes.

Elle acknowledged that humans are evolving every day, being naturally selected for characteristics such as resistance to certain diseases.

“The kind of shoes that you wear and the surfaces that you walk on — I don’t understand how that would translate into differences in fitness from a biological sense,” Elle said.


 

Belief v. understanding

  1. Try wearing earth shoes for a few months and then checking your sperm count (if you are a male) and then she would.

  2. Well, finally a politican understands me! I wear running shoes while running on concrete and it has totally evolved my life.

    For the sake of politics, let us pretend that evolution means adaptation to ones environment through the use of tools and footwear accessories. Otherwise, we are the butt of a bad joke, understood by only a few million scientists and the laymen who understand the concept of evolution…

    • It’s still awfully hard on the holy knees , though. At some point they will devolve.

      • Hmm, that is true. Cannot be ‘youngish’ forever. Some day my knees will devolve into a pile of primordial stew…

    • Across the Open Mic

      Words are shuffling out like
      Running shoes or some stiletto heels
      That stagger on concrete
      They fumble on across the open mic
      Waves of atavistic joy are sweeping off my rational mind
      Provoking me to shaking rage

      Dixit Deus Fiat Lux
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world

      Half-remembered science classes
      Tempt me to a sudden repartee
      That plunges on and on across the open mic
      Thoughts meander like
      A restless wind inside a letter box
      They tumble blindly as
      They make their way across the open mic

      Dixit Deus Fiat Lux
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world

      Now I wonder if I’ll keep
      My charge of all this science stuff
      Although I must admit it brings
      Limitless undying bile which
      Tickles me inside like when they ask me
      Questions and I have to speak across the open mic

      Dixit Deus Fiat Lux
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Nothing’s gonna change my world
      Dixit Deus Fiat
      Dixit Deus Fiat
      Dixit Deus Fiat Lux

  3. “The fundamental premise is that genetic variation among organisms results in differences in their “fitness” — a biological term referring to the number of offspring they have”

    Strictly speaking, it isn’t the number of offspring they have, it’s their success at surviving long enough to produce offspring who in turn survive to produce offspring, and so on. No evolution occurs if the genetic variation results in the production of many offspring who die before reaching puberty. On the other hand, small numbers of successful offspring may propagate a trait which, although never dominant in a population, nevertheless survives for long periods of time.

    • Like the part of the human brain’s temporal lobes that produces faith?

      • Quite possibly, though faith in unreasonable things seems quite widespread.

        qv lotteries and credit default swaps.

  4. John Moore gave me the analogy I was looking for in the NP today.

    Having a Science Minister refuse to discuss evolution on religious grounds because he’s a Christian is like having a Health Minister refuse to discuss mental illness on religious grounds because he’s a Scientologist.

    Would we accept a Minister of Health who didn’t “believe” in psychology, on the basis that the Minister’s religious beliefs are a purely private matter?

    • Or a Minister of Health that thought that mental illness is caused by an excess of animal passions or was a proponent of eugenics.

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