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Week 2 post

ems8140's picture

In class on Thursday, we discussed reading Darwin (and other books) from a different perspective or viewpoint to which we are familiar. Having already learned the story of evolution and natural selection in many science classes throughout my education, I find it difficult to read Darwin as someone who does not know the end result of his findings. However, I still enjoyed reading his observations. At points he seems to be personifying natural selection, giving it power and control similar to a human. He states, " the case of the cave-rat natural selection seems to have struggled with the loss of light and to have increased the size of the eyes" (182) and "Natural selection, it should never be forgotten, can act on each part of each being, solely through and for its advantage" (189). These quotations show how Darwin seems to be personifying the theory of natural selection, almost making it like a character in the evolution of his own story.

Given the fact that I know his final conclusions, it is even more interesting to see his thoughts on natural selection and evolution developing through the pages. The concept of survival of the fittest appears in the pages when he discusses the shells living in the different environments. Those that have the proper color to blend in with the environment to avoid predators will prevail through natural selection. Evolution through use and disuse is another theory he develops in this reading, along with the concept of mimicry for survival of the fittest, and animals/plants showing recessive traits from past generations. All of these concepts indicate that he is determining/reaching his main findings of evolution and development. It was fun to read all of his observations of those theories knowing that he ended up being right about most of them. Reading his thought process based on what he had observed helped me to read the book more as a romance or story in which he was finding the clues to help him make his final conclusion or discovery.


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