Check out the new contest from Discover…
I am an agnostic evolutionary biologist who feels that the way the contest is framed is way to confrontational. The following phrase just makes me feel sick:
“Think you can convince even the most hard-headed creationist that Darwin was right? If so, show us—and that creationist—how it’s done.”
Discover is better than this…at least I hope so.
Does evolution really make sense to anyone? why would anything evolve? WHY? If every specie is happy, can move around and find food there is no reason to change. Why does any other specie exist today, shouldnt they be extinct considering we are here now? What will we evolve into? E.T.
I have an issue with the same statement. How long are we going to equate evolution with Darwin’s theory? Evolution is made up of genetic drift and gene flow AND natural selection. Natural selection is just one of them. And people need to know this. The more we keep saying Darwin & Evolution in the same breath, we propagate this misconception.
I have an issue with the whole concept. This is another example of dumbing down in America. Trying to reduce this to a two minute video is ludicrous. There are a dozen beautifully written scholarly treatises on the subject. Next there will be a contest for a six second sound bite.
“Does evolution really make sense to anyone? why would anything evolve? WHY? If every specie is happy, can move around and find food there is no reason to change. Why does any other specie exist today, shouldnt they be extinct considering we are here now? What will we evolve into? E.T.”
Populations don’t change because there are “reasons” to change. Populations don’t “reason” at all. A species doesn’t reason and say “Hey, I’m happy, I can find lots of food, I guess I’ll stay the same” or “hey, I’m UNhappy, I’m underfed, I gotta evolve” any more than a sieve says “Hey, I’ve got a mixture of chunky rocks and fine sand in me, but I think I’ll keep the rocks and let the sand fall through my wire mesh.”
Why would the existence of humans as a species mean that all other species would be extinct? Honestly, it’s hard to figure out why you think this would be so. It seems like you are trying to offer the following syllogism:
1. If some descendants of a particular common ancestor evolve into a particularly “good” new species, that common ancestor should not have any other descendants that evolved in any other way;
2. Humans are a particularly “good” and special species;
3. Therefore no other species should exist that evolved from any common ancestor of humanity.
Where does #1 come from?? I mean, maybe everyone agrees that Larry has the best job, out of all the graduating class of 2008 — the day after the graduation, he started work as a lawyer at a top-flight firm at a six-figure salary. Does that mean that no one else who graduated in that same class can have ANY job at all? Does that mean that Bob can’t be a plumber, because Larry’s a lawyer? (High-priced lawyer or not, Larry’s life is gonna be pretty dire, if there’s no plumbers he can call when his pipes burst.)
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Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The Loom. He is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.