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Grandview Sunrise © Robert Sommers 2017

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bobby's Cliff Notes - "Why Darwin Matters"

Here are some of things I gleaned from Michael Shermer's book Why Darwin Matters. Be advised that the book is now six years old and some of the material and studies are probably slightly out of date. Nevertheless I think that we can assume that most of the data and suppositions are still valid.

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According to a 2005 poll by the Pew Research Group, 42% of Americans hold strict creationist views, holding that man has been in his current form since the "beginning of time." 48% believe that man evolved over time into his or her present form. 64% or respondents were open to the teaching of creationism along side of evolution in the public schools. 60% of Republicans were creationists and only 11% accepted evolution compared to Democrats at 29% and 44% respectively.

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Populations tend to increase indefinitely in a geometric ratio, 2. 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 1024...

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In natural selection, there must be a struggle for existence. Not all of the organisms produced can survive. Organisms that are better adapted leave behind more offspring than those that are not. This is called differential reproductive success.

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The fossil record records mostly the equilibrium or static period. Species change happens rapidly and there are less transitional organisms extant to create fossils. This theory is called punctuated equilibrium. 

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Vestigial structures stand as evidence of evolutionary history. This is why men have nipples. Because females need them and it is more efficient to build the human architecture in the uterus from a single structure. Men have an evolutionary remnant of the uterus on their prostate.

Eight percent of humans have a 13th rib like our hominid cousins, the gorillas and chimps.

The human coccyx is a tailbone left over from our common ancestor's tails.

Goosebumps are a vestige from an evolutionary time when our forebears puffed up their fur for warmth. He goes into the utility of similar spare parts like appendix's, third eye lids, hair and extrinsic ear muscles (which allowed the relatives to discriminate precise sound.

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The earth is approximately 4.6 million  billion years old.

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The seven strongest predictors of religious beliefs are 1. Being raised in a religious manner. 2. Your parents religiosity. 3. Low levels of education 4. Being female. 5. a large family 6. lack of conflict with parents. 7. being younger.

[Note: I find this survey very poorly written and near incomprehensible. Such as #5. Is that being in a large family or having come from one?]

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Ain Soph © Rick Griffin Estate
The six cosmic numbers of Sir Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal:

The first number, Ω (omega), 1, is the amount of matter in the universe. If this number had been one unit higher, the universe would have collapsed upon itself long ago.

 ε (epsilon), defines how strongly atomic nuclei bind together.

D = 3 - the number of dimensions in which we live.

N is the ratio of the strength of the electrical force to the gravitational force.

Q =1/100/000th, the fabric of the universe, if it was smaller the universe would be featureless, larger, it would be dominated by black holes.

λ (lambda) = 0.7, the cosmological constant or antigravity force.

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String theory allows for 10 to the 500th power of possible alternate worlds, all with different laws and constants. For your information, merely twelve zeros are a trillion.

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Exaptation is when a structure evolved for one purpose is co opted by the organism for a different purpose.

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Our genomes include a bunch of junk dna, orphan genes, fragments, tandem repeats, pseudogenes and a lot of other useless trash.

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Entropically, systems change from hot to cold, ordered to disordered and from complex to simple.

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Symbiogensis is a theory proposed by Lynn Margulis in 1970 that argues that species evolve, at least microbially, through an exchange of genes.

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Over 300 species engage in same sex sexual activity.

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Most plants and a quarter of all animal species have individuals that can not be classified as either male or female.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanx for the info OMO BOB...actually I'm SPACED!

Anonymous said...

Robert Did you mean to say the earth is 4.6 million years old? Beth

Sanoguy said...

I thought the earth was only 6,000 years old?

Anonymous said...

Responding to a 2012 Pew Research Poll on creationism vs. evolution 7% of Americans polled had no opinion- or didn't care to express one - .

15% accepted the theory of evolution, up 6% from 1982.

32% agreed that evolution is guided by God, intelligent design.

The remaining 46% take the Genesis story literally.

144.44 million Americans believe God created the universe 10,000 years ago in 7 days.

!?!?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html