I enjoyed it even more the second time!
With about half of Americans not believing evolution and about the rest not really being able to explain it in a convincing way how evolution occurs to nonbelievers. I am more and more convinced that most of us think with our emotions so the best way to explain something is through sight and sounds.
Republican Think Tanks such as the Heritage Foundation puts words into the mouth of politicians with all of them repeating the same words every chance Republicans. The herd of Democrats prefer to speak in abstract terms which goes over the head of most Americans.
The way I explain evolution is that the early embryos including humans look so similar such as having tails and gills it is possible we all had similar ancestors. The very old paddle fish with arms allowed it to escape predators by going on to land which eventually led to land animals. The whale is an example of a land animal going back to the ocean.
The most puzzling thing between the Bible’s description that all the life on earth was made by God and the incredible diversity of species of birds and other animals with very similar the same genetic makeup.
The Genome project by our government helped solve some of the mysteries of our origin. Why are we so different from Chimps when Chimps and Humans have almost a match in our DNA with ninety-nine percent being the same?
Why are there so many different species of finches on the different Galapagos Islands? The gene for beak production is the same for these birds! It turns out the timing of beak maturation has a large influence on the type of beak. For finches with short thick beaks to crush seeds on one island, the beak matures earlier. When the beak matures later, the beak is long and thin, which allows the bird to get food from flowers. What happens is that finches that can produce the right beak for the food source available survives and the others die. Eventually the survivor of the fittest does its work.
One difference between humans and chimps is that the Chimp has a much stronger bite than humans with four strong muscles attached to the bones of its skull. This knowledge led to the theory the strength of these muscles prevented the brain of chimps from developing into a larger brain because these muscles fused the brain segments together earlier to prevent the brain from expanding further.
By stacking computers together, the analysis of the genome became fast enough to make it fairly economical to look at the whole genome more carefully including the large segment of our DNA termed junk because it had no genes and is apparently not repaired as the gene section and tends to undergo more mutations.
We have the same genes for having very strong jaw muscles, but the chimp one is turned on by the switch in the junk genome which has only one amino acid difference and ours is apparently not which allowed us to grow much larger brains!
The reason taller and bigger humans have larger heads is that much of the brain is made up of muscle neurons. So if a short person has a large head such as Robert Reich, Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor and now professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Reich also wrote the Introduction to Modern Library edition of “The Wealth of Nations,” by Adam Smith. Reich’s big contribution was to make the index much more elaborate and useful.
Olbermann has a large head! Woman don’t have as much muscle neurons in their brains so it is not as large as a male, but when used, much more formidable than men’s brains.
Remember all our Homo sapiens evolved from just two thousand pre-human survivors of the ice age in the North and horrendous droughts in Africa and the survivors were left only on the shores of South Africa. Extinction happens more often than we like to think.
From page 21 of the October 2010 Scientific American.
Psychopathy, like autism, and many of the clinical disorders, is a spectrum. … Many of us are narcissistic, many of us are impulsive at some level. Many of us do all sorts of things that are at least somewhat morally wrong. We’re somewhere on the spectrum.”
Harvard University evolutionary psychologist Marc Hauser speaking at a July 2010 conference on “The New Science of Morality”
Harvard later said it had found him guilty of scientific misconduct.
Jim Kawakami, Oct 01, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
Earth teems with a staggering variety of animals, including 9,000 kinds of birds, 28,000 types of fish, and more than 350,000 species of beetles. What explains this explosion of living creatures—1.4 million different species discovered so far, with perhaps another 50 million to go? The source of life's endless forms was a profound mystery until Charles Darwin brought forth his revolutionary idea of natural selection.
But Darwin's radical insights raised as many questions as they answered. What actually drives evolution and turns one species into another? To what degree do different animals rely on the same genetic toolkit? And how did we evolve?
"What Darwin Never Knew" offers answers to riddles that Darwin couldn't explain. Breakthroughs in a brand-new science—nicknamed "evo devo"—are linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature's great mysteries, the development of the embryo. NOVA takes viewers on a journey from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Scientists are finally beginning to crack nature's biggest secrets at the genetic level. The results are confirming the brilliance of Darwin's insights while revealing clues to life's breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely have imagined. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/darwin-never-knew.html $25 DVD