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End of Chapter 02 Questions

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright May 2018

Questions

1. After having read this chapter, how would you respond to the question, "If humans evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?"

2. Given what you've read about the scientific method in Chapter 1, how would you explain the differences between science and religion as methods of explaining natural phenomena? Do you personally see a conflict between evolutionary and religious explanations for how species came to be?

3. Can you think of some examples of artificial and natural selection that weren't discussed in this chapter? For your examples, what traits have been selected for? In the case of natural selection, what was the selective agent?

4. How does the peppered moth example demonstrate that evolution is not directional? In other words, explain how the environment influences whether a trait will be selected for or against.

Answers

1. First, evolution produces lots of diversity. There are tens of thousands of species alive on the earth today. Second, humans didn't evolve from monkeys, humans and monkey both evolved from ancestors which were both protohuman and protomonkey.

2. One of the big differences between science and both philosophy and religion are how starting assumptions are treated. In religion and philosophy starting assumptions are "givens", they are the basis for the belief and are not questioned. What is subject to questioning is fallouts from those beginning assumptions. In science the starting assumptions can be questioned, just as the fallout from those assumptions can be questioned. This is the big difference, and why science answers to questions can change dramatically as new knowledge is obtained. Thinking about evolution is just one example of a dramatic change as new knowledge is obtained.

3. Domestic farm animals are a fine example of artificial selection. Cattle are one example, and in the case of cattle, human intervention has been most beneficial to survival of the species. There are no wild cattle any more. They are extinct. Why zebra selected such dramatic striping is a fine example of wild selection, and the answer to why is still unknown.

4. The peppered moth is an example because it went both ways. As the Industrial Revolution in Britain darkened trees with coal dust, the moth selected dark versions. As pollution control has lightened trees again, the lighter versions of the moth have made a comeback.

 

 

--The End--

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