Q: How do you tell the sex of a chromosome?
A: Pull down its genes.
Today you get an introductory primer in Evolutionary Theory. This is my attempt at educational blogging (i.e. links to where smarter people have explained really cool stuff way better than I can). So, if you're looking for stupid-humorous Jen anecdotes, you'll be disappointed.
Two hundred years after Charles Darwin's birth we all could do to understand evolutionary theory a little better. At first glance, it is a beautifully simple process but the results, implications and continued research of evolutionary theory quickly become mind boggling and wonderfully thrilling. If you begin to scratch the surface of your knowledge about evolutionary biology,(even as a complete amateur there are a number of books that allow you to do this), you may soon realize that you barely understand anything about it and there's always some new concept to research in order to further your depth of knowledge. Here's a link to some basic misconceptions about evolution.
And what's not to like about evolution? For one thing it's about us - Homo sapiens and how we have gotten the way we are with no need to invoke a supernatural creator or 'intelligent design'. Even better is that it's about the entire biological/botanical world around us and how our mutual genetic "destinies" have co-evolved throughout time to produce what exists today. Even more importantly still is that because Evolutionary Theory is a science and not a dogma, it is open to inquiry, skeptic scrutiny and refinement as the knowledge base grows and changes.
The sciences can seem intimidating to an amateur like me. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. I read a quote recently that said that's what it means to be educated. But with a little investment of time, access to the internet, some library or book store action, and a few friends willing to hash over questions with you, the scientific world slowly begins to make sense and unfolds with mind-expanding possibilities.
Last week I finished a difficult book discussing the existence of Free Will in a deterministic world. I was in way over my head intellectually, but did gain some insights into the topic and it piqued my interest for investigating some neurobiology, which should be fun. But the most important thing I came away with was this encouraging sentence offered by the author after a particularly arduous section:
"A semi-understood, dimly imagined version will do just fine, as always, as we pick our way gradually from obliviousness to comprehension."
Daniel Dennett - Freedom Evolves p. 265
For me, the never-ending wonder and discovery science offers to a curious intellect far surpasses the inflexible, dogmatic nature of superstitious belief any day.
Ignorance knows no bounds...check this out, I hope it's a joke...but I'm pretty sure it's not:
Well there, that settles it. Peanut butter proves that evolution is a fairy tale. Glad that debate is over. I wonder what jelly has to say about the after-life?