BIS 2B Lectures 8 and 9 Study Questions.2010

BIS 2B Lectures 8 and 9 Study Questions.2010 - BIS 2B...

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BIS 2B SPRING 2010 LECTURES 8 & 9: A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT _____________________________________________________________________________ I. SOME STUFF WE SHOULD & DO TAKE FOR GRANTED 1. The Earth is old: about 4.5 billion years. 2. The planet has changed. 3. Life has been around for a long time: about 3.5 billion years. 4. The biological world has changed since life originated. 5. Life on Earth represents the descendants of a single common ancestor. 6. The degree of resemblance among organisms corresponds to their relatedness. 7. Resemblance among relatives is due to inheritance of discrete genes. a) Corollary I: individuals differ, even close relatives. b) Corollary II: the magnitude of differences between organisms reflects the time since they shared a common ancestor. II. EVOLUTION OF THE EVOLUTIONARY VIEWPOINT 1. The 3 BIG questions about living organisms a) Why are there so many different kinds/species of organism? 1) How do new species arise? b) Why do organisms appear to be so well-matched to their roles in nature? ( i.e ., Why do organisms appear to be designed or adapted?) c) How did life originate? (see BIS 2A) 2. Non-evolutionary perspectives a) The Platonic ideal: typology & essentialism. 1) A creative force/deity created all living things, explaining both where they came from and why they’re so well designed. 2) Why is there variation within types? b) Christianity and the Scala Naturae /Great Chain of Being 3. The weakening of stasis and the rise of catastrophism a) Georges Cuvier (1769): paleontologist, anatomist, and anti-evolutionist 1) How to reconcile his anatomical and paleontological observations with the problems of diversity and change 2) The theory of catastrophism as an explanation for changes in fossil communities through time 3) The problem he created when he recognized homologous parts in distantly related organisms: divine plan (non-scientific/ doctrinaire ) vs . scientific explanations 4. The replacement of catastrophism by scientific explanation: Lyell & uniformitarianism . a) “The present is the key to the past.” 5. The rise of evolutionary thought.
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BIS2B, Spring 2010 a) By the end of the 18th century, general acceptance that life had evolved. 1) Extinctions were recognized as commonplace. b) The Earth was recognized as being much older than previously thought. 1) Lord Kelvin estimated about 100,000,000 years , based on how hot the Earth should have been when it was formed, and how rapidly it should have cooled. 2) Too bad for Lord K (and Darwin, as we’ll see), because neither new that the Lord was off by a factor of 40 or 50 • It wasn’t until Marie Curie discovered radioactive decay (which continually added heat to the Earth) that the present estimate of 4.5 billion years could be calculated c) Nagging questions nearing the end of the 18 th century: 1) Why do organisms appear to be designed? 2) Where do new species come from?
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BIS 2B Lectures 8 and 9 Study Questions.2010 - BIS 2B...

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