-= THE DARWIN TIMES =- A Column on the Field of BIOLOGY and other Related Fields With an E

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-= THE DARWIN TIMES =- A Column on the Field of BIOLOGY and other Related Fields With an Emphasis on MEDICAL NEWS, ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, PSYCHOLOGY, and EVOLUTIONARY THEORY by RAY LOPEZ MC 414500 ------------------------------------------------------------ First Issue August 26, 1991 ------------------------------------------------------------ Contents of the First Issue: * An Introduction: The Author, Purpose of This Column * Part I: Charles Darwin and His Legacy to Science -=*=- *** The Author, Purpose of This Column First of all, HI to everyone out there in StarTextLand! My name is Ray Lopez. I am a graduate student at UTA, studying Experimental Psychology. One of my biggest interests is in the field of biology, especially evolutionary biology. As I have looked at the listings of science articles on StarText, I noticed something almost immediately, and that was the lack of biologically-related articles. This is no surprise to me. The state of science education in the USA is such that the study of biology is almost neglected in favor of the so-called "hard sciences" (i.e., chemistry, physics, etc.). This also is understandable to a certain extent, especially since it is from the hard sciences where much of our technological progress has been made. Another reason for the terrible lack of biological education in this nation has to do with the teaching of evolutionary theory. Teaching evolution in the public schools is, of course, a situation which has unfortunate difficulties. This is sad, because all of what biologists do, and much of what people in other fields do (psychology, anthropology, etc.), is based to a large extent on Darwinian thought. As I will discuss in the future, Darwinism need not be considered "evil" or "heresy." I have decided to put in my two-cents worth to help further the cause of biological education here at StarText. I feel that it is important for the general public to be at least familiar with some basic concepts in biology for a variety of different reasons: * there is a tremendous amount of new and exciting research going on in medicine, genetics, etc., which will someday directly affect all of our lives. Understanding this requires some knowledge of biological concepts. * evolution should not be viewed by anyone as being evil. It isn't. There is nothing contradictory about saying that life evolved on this planet, and that God created this life. Understanding evolution gives one a powerful heuristic tool with which to look at a wide range of phenomena related to life on this planet * ignorance regarding nature and biological systems is, in my opinion, at the root of many problems we face in society today. First, the ways in which we are polluting this planet are having awesome consequences for the biological systems of this planet. Knowlege about biology and of the way animals and plants live might help some people better understand and perhaps control pollution and its effects. Another consequence of biological ignorance has to do with the current "animal rights" and "animal liberation" movements. These movements have gained immense momentum in the last 10 years. One reason for this is because the general public has fallen for the "Bambi" view of nature which these movements base their respective philosophies on. This is very dangerous, becasue these move- ments are duping the general public, growing stronger and stronger, and threatening the lives and safety of many people, as well altering the way in which biomedical science is being conducted. I hope to expand greatly on these topics and many others as time progresses, if this column survives. As an instructor at UTA, I have been appalled at the lack of knowledge regarding biology and evolution. It simply isn't being taught in our schools. I hope to use this article as a means by which to introduce readers to the beautiful world of biology, and perhaps to get a few people interested enough in biology to do some extra reading. I hope to pick out some interesting stories related to basic biomedical research, and perhaps expand a little bit on them. StarText usually has a few good articles on such topics listed under the MED or SCI keyword. Look them up!! These are just some vague notions as to what I want to talk about in this column. There are many other topics which I feel need to be discussed. If the column survives, I will continue to write about these and other topics. ** Part I: Charles Darwin and His Legacy to Science My Series on Chuck Darwin will concentrate on the effect which his theories have had on the development of modern biological thought. I've decided to break this up into different Parts because it is easier for me to write and easier for you to read if things are broken up into chunks! I wish I had the time, space and patience to write a complete primer on evolution, but I don't. In this series on Darwin and his legacy to science, I intend to concentrate on some ideas and concepts which I feel are important in understanding evolution, and which you might find interesting. For those who may want to do some more reading, I invite you to LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT DARWIN AND EVOLUTIONARY THEORY!!! The way in which you could begin doing so would be to go to the StarText Reference Room, type ENC, and at the prompt, enter DARWIN and EVOLUTION. You might be surprised what you read, especially if you've never taken the time to look into things biological... Next time (if there BE a next time), I'll begin this series with a look at how Darwin inflenced his contemporaries, and how his theorizations inflenced the foundations of our current thinking in biology. Although this is somewhat debatable, DARWIN'S MOST IMPORTANT LEGACY TO SCIENCE WAS HIS CONCEPT OF NATURAL SELECTION. UNDERSTANDING DARWINISM BEGINS WITH UNDERSTANDING NATURAL SELECTION! In my next column, I will try to offer a bit of insight into the concept of natural selection by looking at it from a historical viewpoint. This is all for now. I spent a lot of space in this issue introducing myself and the purpose of the column, and I will always try to keep it short! -=*=- Some Contents of the Second Issue: * Evolution or Evilution? * Part II: Charles Darwin and His Legacy to Science -------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you very much for reading THE DARWIN TIMES. Any reader responses via StarMail would be greatly appreciated, and will be answered as soon as possible (send to mail code 414500). The contents of this column may be freely distributed or used by anyone, so long as credit is given to the author and to StarText. ** TELL A FRIEND ABOUT STARTEXT!!! **


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