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Mariellyssa Wenk's blog

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Culture, Characters and Evolution

It can be argued that evolution is solely a biological process – an interaction of time, chance and chromosomes. In class we discussed how language and thought also contain elements of evolution. After reading Forester’s Howard’s End and, to some extent, Smith’s On Beauty, the question arose in my mind of how much culture and sociology can affect the evolution of a community or an individual. Although the evolution of characters happens on a much smaller scale, compared the decades and centuries of change that Mayr describes, it appears throughout both books. In Howard’s End the lives of the characters are dictated by society and the changes they make to their lives are directly related to the aspects of the culture around them.

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Looking At Dennett's Meaning of Meaning of life

In chapter fourteen, The Evolution of Meaning, of his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dennett explores not only the great philosopher’s question, the meaning of life; but also what inspires a man to pursue that question, and if there is a meaning or purpose behind the pursuit of this inquiry itself.  Dennett makes the point that because of the specific evolution of humans and the development of language, there must be a direct correlation between language and meaning, and therefore also a meaning to life.  Most philosophers look at the question of the meaning of life from the perspective of accomplishment, while Dennett’s internal scientist examines whether we have meaning in context with the future.

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Evolution: Not Inevitable After All?

The theory of evolution is based on the concept of genetic variation and random mutation. Without the combination of different traits and genes it would be impossible for the world to exist as it does today with so many different populations, species, and environments.

In his book, What Evolution Is, Mayr writes, “evolution is inevitable” (5). However, humans have risen to a level of intelligence higher than that of any other organism, and have been able to manipulate nature into science. One of the most famous and recent debates in the science community is on the topic of cloning, and what people can achieve using it. Cloning was first viewed as something probable in 1997 when Scottish scientists produced the clone of a sheep, “Dolly,” the first clone of a mammal. Since then, the concept of cloning animals and humans has been debated in the media, the scientific community, receiving both applause and criticism.

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