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Read the first 8 chapters of Undeniable, and turn in 2 HRs.1. “Undeniable, Ch.1-4″2. “Undeniable Ch. 5-8” and do likewise with the rest of the HRs to this book each one about 400-500 words.


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Undeniable Chapters’ Summaries: Evolution and Creation
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1 ME AND YOU AND EVOLUTION, TOO I think it started with the
bees. I was about seven years old, and I watched them … all day.
That Sunday, I had read the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” column
in The Washington Post, which claimed, “ The Bumblebee:
Considering its size, shape, and wingspan, is an aerodynamic misfit
—which should be unable to fly!” It was frustrating, because here
they were flying. I got caught up in the details. Their wings looked
like decoration, no more useful than a store-bought bow glued to a
gift. I looked closely at my mother’s azalea flowers—so many
delicate parts. Somehow, the bees were able to get in there, fill
their pollen baskets from the flowers, and fly away again and again.
How did bees learn to do all that? Where did they come from?
Where did the flowers come from? Come to think of it, how did any
of us get here? Why did Ripley’s have it so obviously wrong? I was
getting pulled into something much larger than myself. The yearning
to know about nature and where or how we fit in is deep within all
of us. As I learned about evolution and descent by natural selection,
the answers fell into place. We are all aware that evolution happens,
because we all have parents. Many of us have, or will have, children.
We see the effects of heredity up close and personal. We’ve also
experienced firsthand what Charles Darwin called descent with
modification: the way that an entire population of living things can
change from generation to generation. Think about the food grown
on farms. For about twelve thousand years, exploiting the
phenomenon of evolution, humans have been able to modify plants
through a process known as artificial selection. In wheat farming
and horse racing we call it breeding. Darwin realized that breeding
(and domesticating) plants and animals involves exactly the same
process that occurs naturally in evolution, only accelerated with the
help of humans. This natural process produced you and me. Once
you become aware—once you see how evolution works—so many
familiar aspects of the world take on new significance. The
affectionate nuzzling of a dog, the annoying bite of a mosquito, the
annual flu shot: All are direct consequences of evolution. As you
read this book, I hope you will also come away with a deeper
appreciation for the universe and our place within it. We are the
results of billions of years of cosmic events that led to the cozy,
habitable planet we live on. We experience evolution every day in
our culture as well. People everywhere are fascinated with other
people. That’s why we have sidewalk cafés, televisions, and gossip
magazines. We interact to produce more of us for future
generations. People are fascinated with their bodies. Turn on the
television to any channel. If it’s youth-oriented music programming,
you’ll see advertisements for skin medicines to make you look
healthy, for deodorants to modify your natural scents, and for hair
and makeup products to render you more attractive to a potential
mate. If it’s a staid news channel, you’ll see ads for improving your
breathing, your bones, and, of course, your sexual performance.
None of these products would be produced were we not walking,
talking products of evolution. We are all so much alike, because we
are all human. But it goes deeper than that. Every species you’ll
encounter on Earth is, near as we can tell, chemically the same
inside. We are all descended from a common ancestor. We are
shaped by the same forces and factors that influence every other
living thing, and yet we emerged as something unique. Among the
estimated 16 million species on Earth, we alone have the ability to
comprehend the process that brought us here. Any way you reckon
it, evolution is inspiring. Despite all of that, a great number of
people in many parts of the world—even in well-educated parts of
the developed world —are resistant or hostile to the idea of
evolution. Even in places like Pennsylvania and Kentucky, here in the
United States, the whole idea of evolution is overwhelming,
confusing, frightening, and even threatening to many individuals. I
can understand why. It’s an enormous process, unfolding over
times that dwarf a human lifespan—across billions of years and in
every part of the world. And it’s profoundly humbling. As I learned
more about evolution, I realized that from nature’s point of view,
you and I ain’t such a big deal. Humans are just another species on
this planet trying to make a go of it, trying to pass our genes into
the future, just like chrysanthemums, muskrats, sea jellies, poison
ivy … and bumblebees. Many people who are troubled by
evolution want to suppress teaching the whole concept of descent
through natural selection in schools. Others try to push it aside or
dilute it by casting doubt on the established science that supports it.
State education standards allow the teaching of fictitious
alternatives to evolution in Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Even
though the people who support these curricula live lives that are
enriched in many ways by science and engineering (everything from
running water and abundant food to television and the Internet)
they avoid the exploration of evolution, because it reminds us all
that humankind may not be that special in nature’s scheme. What
happens to other species also happens to us. I continually remind
people what is at stake here. Our understanding of evolution came
to us by exactly the same method of scientific discovery that led to
printing presses, polio vaccines, and smartphones. Just as mass and
motion are fundamental ideas in physics, and the movement of
tectonic plates is a fundamental idea in geology, evolution is the
fundamental idea in all of life science. Evolution has essential
practical applications in agriculture, environmental protection,
medicine, and public health. What would the deniers have us do?
Ignore all the scientific discoveries that make our technologically
driven world possible, things like the ability to rotate crops, pump
water, generate electricity, and broadcast baseball? Even the
theological objections to evolution stand on shaky ground. For the
last century and a half, ever since the publication of Darwin’s On
the Origin of Species in 1859, many people have come to believe
that evolution is in conflict with their religious beliefs. At the same
time, many people around the world who hold deep religious
convictions see no conflict between their spiritual beliefs and their
scientific understanding of evolution. So the naysayers are not only
casting doubt on science and nonbelievers; they are also ignoring
the billions of non-conflicted believers around the world, dismissing
their views as unworthy. I’ll admit that the discovery of evolution is
humbling, but it is also empowering. It transforms our relationship
to the life around us. Instead of being outsiders watching the
natural world go by, we are insiders. We are part of the process; we
are the exquisite result of billions of years of natural research and
development. Frankly, my concern is not so much for the deniers of
evolution as it is for their kids. We cannot address the problems
facing humankind today without science — both the body of
scientific knowledge and, more important, the process. Science is
the way in which we know nature and our place within it. Like any
useful scientific theory, evolution enables us to make predictions
about what we observe in nature. Since it was developed in the
nineteenth century, the theory itself has also evolved, by which I
mean that it’s been refined and expanded. Some of the most
wonderful aspects and consequences of evolution have been
discovered only recently. This is in stark contrast to creationism,
which offers a static view of the world, one that cannot be
challenged or tested with reason. And because it cannot make
predictions, it cannot lead to new discoveries, new medicines, or
new ways to feed all of us. Evolutionary theory takes us into the
future. As the foundation of biology, evolution informs big questions
about emerging agricultural and medical technologies. Should we
genetically modify more of our foods? Should we pursue cloning
and genetic engineering to improve human health? There is no way
to make sense of these issues outside of an evolutionary context. As
an engineer trained in the U.S., I look at the assault on evolution—
which is actually an assault on science overall—as much more than
an intellectual issue; for me, it’s personal. I feel strongly that we
need the young people of today to become the scientists and the
engineers of tomorrow so that my native United States continues to
be a world leader in discovery and innovation. If we suppress
science in this country, we are headed for trouble. Evolutionary
theory also takes us into the past, offering a compelling case study
of the collaborative and cumulative way that great scientific
discoveries are made. In some sense the concept of evolution can
be traced to the Greek philosopher Anaximander. In the sixth
century BC, after evaluating fossils, he speculated that life had
begun with fishlike animals living in the ocean. He had no theory of
how one species gave rise to another, however, nor did he have an
explanation of how Earth acquired its stunning biodiversity. Nobody
would, for another two millennia. Ultimately, the mechanism of
evolution was discovered by two men at very nearly the same time:
Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace. You’ve probably heard a great
deal about Darwin. You may not have heard so much about Wallace.
He was a naturalist who spent a great deal of time in the field
studying and collecting specimens of flora and fauna. He traveled in
the Amazon River basin and in what is now Malaysia. Through his
formulated his theory of evolution independent of Darwin, and
described an important aspect of the evolutionary process, often
still referred to as the “Wallace effect” (more about that in
chapter 12). Wallace recognized humans as just one part of a much
broader living world. Quoting from his 1869 book The Malay
Archipelago, “ … trees and fruits, no less than the varied
productions of the animal kingdom, do not appear to be organized
with the exclusive reference to the use and convenience of man…”
In Victorian England, such a point of view was controversial to say
the least. Darwin had the earlier start. Wallace was just eight years
old in 1831 when the twenty-two-year-old Darwin had a remarkable
opportunity as an energetic young man to go to sea aboard the
HMS Beagle. He realized that if humans could turn wolves into dogs,
then new species could come into existence by the same means
naturally. He also saw that populations do not grow and grow
indefinitely, because their environment will always have limits on
the resources available. Darwin connected these ideas by observing
that living things produce more offspring than can survive. The
individuals compete for resources in their respective ecosystems,
and the individuals that are born or sprout with favorable variations
have a better shot at survival than their siblings. He realized that,
left unchecked, the process of natural selection would result in the
great diversity of living things that he would go on to observe.
Recognizing the two scientists ’ convergent views, colleagues
arranged for Wallace and Darwin to present a paper together at a
meeting of the Linnaean Society in London in 1858. The paper was
based on a letter that Wallace had written to Darwin, along with an
abstract for a paper that Darwin had written in 1842. The
revolutionary impact of the joint presentation was not immediately
obvious to all of those in attendance. Thomas Bell, the president of
the Linnaean Society, infamously reported that no important
scientific breakthroughs had occurred that year: “The year which
has passed has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking
discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the
department of science on which they bear…” The publication of
On the Origin of Species in 1859 created a sensation and proved
President Bell spectacularly wrong. It also made Darwin far more
famous than Wallace, as Darwin remains to this day. His ability to
articulate the theory of evolution is still astonishing. On the Origin
of Species remains a remarkable and remarkably readable book,
readily available in hardback, paperback, and online a century and a
half later. In it, Darwin gives us example after example of evolution
and explains the means by which it happens, providing both the
facts and the mechanism in one volume. Evolution is one of the
most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of
science. It describes all of life on Earth. It describes any system in
which things compete with each other for resources, whether those
things are microbes in your body, trees in a rain forest, or even
software programs in a computer. It is also the most reasonable
creation story that humans have ever found. When religions
disagree about just creation, there is nothing to do but argue. When
two scientists disagree about evolution, they confer with colleagues,
develop theories, collect evidence, and arrive at a more complete
understanding. Every question leads to new answers, new
discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is
as expansive as nature itself. Evolution goes a long way toward
answering the universal question that ran through my brain as a kid,
and still does: “Where did we come from?” It also leads right into
the companion question we all ask: “ Are we alone in the
universe?” Today, astronomers are finding planets rotating around
distant stars, planets that might have the right conditions for
supporting life. Our robots are prospecting on Mars looking for signs
of water and life. We’re planning a mission to study the ocean of
Jupiter’s moon Europa, where there is twice as much seawater as
there is here on Earth. When we go seeking life elsewhere, the
whole idea of what to look for, and where to look for it, will be
guided by our understanding of evolution. Such a discovery would
be profound. Proving that there is life on another world would
surely change this one. The great questions of evolution bring out
the best in us: our boundless curiosity, and our boundless ability to
explore. After all, evolution made us who we are.
Nye, Bill. Undeniable (pp. 1-8). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle 版本.
For those readers who might be deeply religious, welcome. I very
much hope you make it through this chapter. It’s about my recent
debate with a creationist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which
in many ways was the impetus for me to write this book. Our issue
was whether or not creationism is “viable” (the term agreed upon)
as an explanation of … well, of anything. I emphasize that I did not
disparage anyone’s religion. I did not mention anything about The
Bible. I had no reference to Jesus from the city of Nazareth. But I
was, and remain, concerned about the extraordinary claim that
Earth is extraordinarily young, which is an assault not just on
evolution but on the whole public understanding of science. Having
a few thousand people make use of a few million dollars to promote
their point of view is not unusual. This is actually what a great many
not-for-profit organizations do, including the Union of Concerned
Scientists, the National Center for Science Education, and my own
Planetary Society. It’s also part of how government policies are
developed and put into law. In the case of creationism however,
certain not-for-profit groups set out to indoctrinate our science
students in their central idea: that the first book of The Bible’s
assertion that Earth is only six or ten thousand years old (the exact
number depends on their interpretation) is supported by scientific
evidence. Such an idea is laughable and could be easily dismissed
were it not for the political influence of these groups. In general,
creationist groups do not accept evolution as the fact of life. It’s not
just that they don’t understand how evolution led to the ancient
dinosaurs, for example, they take it another step and deny that
evolution happened at all anywhere, let alone that it is happening
today. They want everyone else in the world to deny it, too,
including you and me. Inherent in this rejection of evolution is the
idea that your curiosity about the world is misplaced and your
common sense is wrong. This attack on reason is an attack on all of
us. Children who accept this ludicrous perspective will find
themselves opposed to progress. They will become society’s
burdens rather than its producers, a prospect that I find very
troubling. Not only that, these kids will never feel the joy of
discovery that science brings. They will have to suppress the basic
human curiosity that leads to asking questions, exploring the world
around them, and making discoveries. They will miss out on
countless exciting adventures. We ’ re robbing them of basic
knowledge about their world and the joy that comes with it. It
breaks my heart. I got the chance to write this book after expressing
my concern about the future of the U.S. economy on an Internet
Web site called I pointed out that without young
people entering science fields, especially engineering, the country
will fall behind other nations who do educate their kids in real
science rather than the pseudoscience of creationism. Subsequent
to that, I was challenged to a debate by Ken Ham, an
Australian-born evangelical leader who has managed to oversee the
construction of an amazing building that he calls the Creation
Museum in Kentucky. His organization is called Answers in Genesis.
He claims that his interpretation of The Bible is more valid than the
basic facts of geology, astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry,
mathematics, and especially evolution. After a few months of
mulling it over, I agreed to go to the Creation Museum and take the
guy on head-to-head, or lectern-to-lectern. I chose to participate in
this debate to raise awareness of the creationist movement and its
inherently deleterious effects on our society, as it dulls our resolve
to tackle big scientific challenges like producing energy for the
burgeoning human population. Perhaps it’s not surprising that
along with his other extraordinary claims, my opponent doesn’t
feel that he or his followers should be concerned with climate
change. We were each given time to make our case before the
audience. Mr. Ham holds to a fascinating pair of doublespeak
phrases: “observational science” and “historical science.” He
says that there’s a difference between things that happen while
you’re alive and watching and things that happened before you
were born. So for him, anything in the fossil record is subject to
question. For him, any astronomical observation is automatically
irrelevant, because the stars are older than any person that could
have observed them. Perhaps a mischievous deity put them all
there in a flash. Using the word science in these Orwellian ways is
unsettling. As a science educator, I also find this practice deeply
irresponsible. When it was my turn, I hammered away at Mr. Ham’s
claim that there was a big ole flood and that all the animals we see
today are descendants of the few pairs that Noah and his family
were able to save on a big boat, the ark of Biblical myth. By the way,
neither The Bible nor Mr. Ham offers any insight into the fate of
every surface-dwelling plant during this supposed episode. I started
by discussing stratigraphy, the layering (strata) of the rocks that
make up Earth’s crust. I could not help but point out that the
Creation Museum bu …
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