anthro notes - Anthropology -The science of human cultural...

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Anthropology -The science of human cultural and biological variation -The anthropological approach involves both biological and sociocultural aspects of humanity -It is a social “science” which simply means that Anthropologists employ the scientific method -Science is nothing more than a method, and it involves… Scientific Method -Observing patterns of behaviors, etc. -Collecting data in a systematic way -Detecting patterns in the data -Developing testable hypotheses to try and explain the patterns observed -This may lead to a ‘theory’ A set of hypotheses that has been tested repeatedly and that has not been rejected -Eventually, if a theory stands the test of time and cannot be falsified, it may become a ‘law’ Example: Newton’s Law of Gravity What is Science? -Science seeks to explain the natural world by examining how things work in that natural world -Doesn’t try to explain the supernatural -Scientists must be demonstrate their ideas -Science is always changing -As knowledge increases, old ideas and explanations may fall by the wayside -It is self-correcting; it is falsifiable -Simply put, science offers the best explanation available about natural phenomenon based on the best evidence currently available -As new evidence and information as found, it changes
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What Science is NOT -Not a religion -Not based on faith -Cannot provide moral guidance What is Evolution? -All of Biology (the study of living things) is centered around the concept of evolution -19 th century definitions: Darwin called evolution “descent with modification” Evolution -All living things share certain traits: They reproduce themselves They have similar requirements - energy, water, etc. -The differences between organisms – largely a reflection of variable techniques to reproduce, find food, avoid predators, etc. -Over time (millions of years) new and different methods used by organisms to meet their requirements become incorporated in their bodies, environment, etc. - Because all living things reproduce we can examine the changes that have occurred over time. Evolution Provisos -Evolution is neither progressive nor linear We have his perception because we can look back and establish the ancestry of modern organisms; no end-product; humans are not the “goal” -Evolution is not judgmental There is no “better than”, “survival of the fittest”, etc. These are our perceptions of the natural world -Evolution continues – it is not over; all species change over time
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Beliefs and Evolution -Most Americans believe in some sort of “special creation” for humans: ~75% -But there is a great deal of variation in how people perceive God’s ‘creation’ Many feel God works through evolution Many feel sacred written sources are literally true These are not absolute categories – continuous -Interesting many American scientists believe Anthropology -In order to fully understand Modern Humans, you need to examine
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course SOC 120-01 taught by Professor Mackinnon during the Fall '08 term at Saint Louis.

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anthro notes - Anthropology -The science of human cultural...

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