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selias's picture

Introduction

Hi everyone!  My name is Sarah Elias.  I'm a Bryn Mawr freshman from Kailua, Hawaii - being here on the east coast makes me feel like a little fish in a big pond!  Growing up in Hawaii, I was always learning about evolution by studying examples from the environment around me (for example, there is a bird called the Hawaiian Honeycreeper that gives a living example of adaptive radiation, which is how I was taught about Darwin's finches in middle school).  I'm the oldest child of four, and my 16-year-old brother is somewhat of a young Darwin scholar, in his own way, so it is through him that my interest in evolution was piqued.  I also took Anthro 101 last semester so I learned about evolution from an anthropological perspective.  As for the English part of this course, I am like Anne Dalke in that I love "living" in fictional worlds, whether they be from books or movies. My semi-secret goal in life is to make a living through writing in one form or another, so stories have always been an important part of my life.

What first grabbed my attention about this course was that there was nothing else like it in the course guide.  I have always been very interested in scientific concepts as well as storytelling, so seeing a course that combined the two definitely appealed to me. Despite my interest in science I have always been a more "humanities" type of person, and I think this class will be a perfect merger of the two.

Three questions I hope to explore, if not answer, throughout this semester are:

What are the facts of evolution, rather than the stories of evolution?  I feel as if everything I have been taught about evolution so far has been only the interpretation of facts that I have never learned for myself.

How does religion "reconcile" with evolution?  I suppose I am specifically referring to the Judeo-Christian story of creation.  I think this would be interesting to study in relation to the different stories that can be produced because of "the crack" that was presented in class.

Are stories a necessarily human thing?  Do we see things similar to storytelling in other living creatures?  And did stories develop as some sort of response to help humans survive?  (I had a teacher once who suggested that stories may have been a survival mechanism for early humans, and I did not really understand what he meant then...but I think it would make an interesting inquiry.)

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