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Unformatted text preview: History of Evolutionary Thought What is Science? • Science is an empirical process that involves: o Deduction: A conclusion that follows logically from a set of observations. o Observation: The gathering of scientific information by watching a phenomenon. o Forming a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is a preliminary explanation of a phenomenon. Hypothesis formation is the first step of the scientific method. o Experimentation: The testing of a hypothesis. o The Scientific Method: Standard scientific research procedure in which a hypothesis is stated, data are collected to test it, and the hypothesis is either supported or refuted. • Science has the essential property of being self-correcting: scientists can examine each others’ data and scrutinize evidence. Deductions can always be overturned by discoveries made by other scientists. • If a hypothesis can be shown to be false, it is falsifiable . • Paradigm: A conceptual framework useful for understanding a body of evidence. o Once a paradigm is in place, it may take a great deal of conflicting evidence and debate between scientists before that paradigm is overturned and replaced by a new one. The Science and Creationism Question • Ever since the publication of On the Origin of Species , a small minority in the US and other countries have argued against the teaching of the principles of evolution. • Creationism: A belief in a single creative force in the universe. • Different creationist beliefs: o The universe may have been created 14 billion years ago by a single supernatural force. o Fundamentalist belief: The earth and every living thing on it were created in 6 days, dinosaurs and other extinct animals never existed, and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. • Ongoing conflict between evolution and creationism lies in the claim by some fundamentalist religious groups that the creation story in the Book of Genesis is a viable alternative to science as the explanation for how humans came to be. • A religious belief in a divine creation relies entirely on faith, and the sole evidence of this faith is the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament. • Repeated state court and Supreme Court decisions have ruled that creationism should not be taught alongside science in public schools. • Creation Science: A creationist attempt to refute the evidence of evolution, noting the gaps in fossil records as possible proof that our species was formed by a divine power. • Intelligent design: A creationist school of thought that proposes that natural selection cannot account for the diversity and complexity of form and function seen in nature. o “Irreducible Complexity”: There are aspects of the design of some organisms that are so complex that gradual, successive small modifications of earlier forms could not have produced them. If removal of one part of an organism’s adaptive complex of traits causes the entire complex to cease functioning, advocates of intelligent design say, a supernatural force must have been the actual creator. say, a supernatural force must have been the actual creator....
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This note was uploaded on 01/05/2011 for the course ANTH 200 taught by Professor Stanford during the Fall '08 term at USC.
- Fall '08