Various questions about life abound that are best explained by evolution, and not at all explained by creationism, design, or its permutations. How well do you understand evolution and its implications?
Some questions to think about – first, the abstract questions:
Does evolutionary theory explain how life began? Is evolution a random process? Can organisms sense a need to evolve? Do individuals evolve? Does evolution result in perfection? Are biologists split on evolution? The answer to these questions (No) often surprises people. This project aims to clear up these and other common misconceptions, and present a coherent explanation of the many facets of evolutionary theory.
And then, some specific questions:
Why does giving mineral supplements to undernourished, anemic individuals cause many of them to die of bacterial infections? Why did Dr. Heimlich need to develop a maneuver to dislodge food from peoples’ windpipes? Why does each of your eyes have a blind spot and a significant tendency for retinal detachment, but a squid’s eyes, which provide equally sharp vision, do not have either problem? Why are depression and obesity at epidemic levels in the U.S.? When Europeans came to the Americas, why did 90% of the Native Americans die of European diseases, but few Europeans died of American diseases? Why do pregnant women get “morning sickness?” Why do people in industrialized countries have higher incidence of Crohn’s disease (related to irritable bowel syndrome) and asthma than people in undeveloped countries? Why does malaria still kill over one million people each year? Why is so much of the product, Depend® or Poise® (for incontinence), sold each year? Why do people given anti-diarrheal medication take twice as long to recover from dysentery as untreated ones? Why do people of European descent have a fairly high frequency of an allele, which, in the homozygous condition, confers resistance to HIV infection? Why do older men often develop urinary problems? Why do so many people in Austin suffer from “cedar fever?”
Useful educational websites:
This View of Life
Evolution at PBS
Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is
Sean B. Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful