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Biology 103 Book Commentary

ekim's picture

Man vs. Machine

In Kurt Vonnegut’s Galápagos, Vonnegut acts as a first-person narrator who tells a story

of the evolution of people from the 20th to the 21st century. Vonnegut’s evolutionary story

mocks the human race, and more specifically the human brain and its intellectual in creating

technological machinery that is almost as useless as the brain.


asavannah's picture

The Importance of Melanin

      Skin is the body’s largest organ and is very essential for our survival; it is what protects all our other organs from antigens that are detrimental to our health. The book Skin: A Natural History by Dr. Nina Jablonski is a very informative chronicle on how our skin protects us and at the same time allows the world to see one’s state of health, identity, and uniqueness.
Kendra's picture

This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

Having the opportunity to take Biology 103 this semester has allowed me to take on a whole new perspective on Biology, and life, in general. I found that in my traditional biology class in high school, we were simply taught certain things about life but not taught to think about why these things have come to be. In the beginning of this course, we tackled with the question of evolution. We knew that evolution was a good story to explain the diversity of life on Earth but had to figure out if it explained the ‘clumpy’ organization of life. Evolution is, in fact, an

Rachel Tashjian's picture

Coincidence in Evolution in "Chance and Necessity"

I think the element of Biology 103 that I enjoyed most was its ability to answer all my ‘big questions.’ Before the course, I did not understand molecular evolution, the purpose of the scientific method, or how chemistry was connected to biology, and I left feeling pretty confident in my comprehension of these things. Because science is a loopy storytelling process, though, I was continually reassessing my ideas of what these processes meant, in particular, evolution. While our society’s great debate on evolution often hinges on the idea that evolution denies the ‘miraculous’ associated with a divine being (like that of creationism or intelligent design), the play between genes and environment and particularly  improbable assembly certainly seemed miraculous to me.

Shanika's picture

The healthiest way of being ill is to resist such thinking

Are there ways to be healthy while being ill? Susan Sontag suggests in her book Illness as Metaphor, that the healthiest way of being ill is to resist such thinking. Sontag’s book is an inspection of the fantasies invented around conditions such as tuberculosis and cancer in our cultural history. Susan Sontag disputes that illness is not a metaphor and that the most ingenuous way of regarding illness is to defy thinking that one is ill. She gives examples of metaphors and images of illness that are taken from psychiatric and medical thinking as well as from

kcough's picture

On Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, by Dr. Paul Farmer

We don’t have to be expert in foreign affairs to have an opinion as to how much security the industrialized nations of the world brought with the $300 million they spent over ten years to eradicate smallpox, as compared to what was achieved with the $28 billion spent in 1983 alone for arms exports to Third World countries. Perhaps a few million dollars given to improve the health of the children of Central America would bring more security t o the area than the billions we have spent to arm the parents—and often the children.

Jen's picture

A Commentary on "Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought"

Where do we get our religious concepts from? Why do some concepts, such as the existence of one God who knows all, the existence of souls, of an afterlife, of karma, and so forth pervade throughout the spiritual lives of very different people? Why do these concepts persist for thousands of years? How do these concepts gain a following? In Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought anthropologist Pascal Boyer attempts to answer these questions in terms of what we know about cognitive psychology and evolutionary biology (1). Where once it was believed that these were silly questions to ask, Boyer believes that we now have the tools to treat

LuisanaT's picture

The Red Queen commentary

Overall this book, The Red Queen, Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, was a fun read; even more so as the Bio 103 course progressed. Matt Ridley does an amazing job of providing readers with an abundant amount of various, compelling stories of observations to discuss ideas on sexual reproduction advantages and its correspondence to evolution. Reading this has reinforced my attitude towards certain aspects in science for I definitely have come to feel more comfortable accepting the notion that evolution is much about the reproduction of the fittest than simply just the survival of the fittest.

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