Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Variation under Nature - Chapter 2 in the Origin of Species

The giraffe species is divided into several populations, each exhibiting a region-specific colouration pattern on the hide.  These have become identifiers for dividing giraffes into distinct subspecies.

In the first chapter of the Origin of Species, Darwin looked to domestic animals and concluded that the varieties of domestic breeds were created by man by selecting individuals with slight variants and accumulating these changes over numerous generations.  He referred to this as artificial selection.  In chapter two he begins to show how artificial selection can inform us of how species are formed, through the more powerful ‘natural’ selection.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Variation under Domestication

This semester I am taking a course on Darwin’s first edition of On the Origin of Species.  I thought that I would post chapter summaries of the Origin as I read it, to help keep the material straight in my mind and hopefully introduce you to one of the most important texts of the past 150 years.  If you are a creationist, perhaps you will find less in this book to fear than you had thought; if you are a scientist, you might be surprised by how prescient Darwin was in many ways.  If you are neither, you will still be impressed with the power of Darwin’s arguments.  If you would like, you can follow along by reading the Origin with me – the first edition is free online at http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/pdf/Origin_of_Species.pdf

I will be skipping over the opening quotes (read my thoughts on them here) and the introduction, and will dive right into the meat of the thing.  This one's a long one...it should be shorter in the future!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Back!

I’m back!  I know it has been a long time since you saw me on this blog, but I am back and ready to roll with hopefully some more interesting articles regarding science and faith.  A lot has happened since my last post in October.  For one thing, I am now a Master of Science – I successfully defended my thesis on December 1 (which was the most terrifying and stressful day of my life), and submitted the corrected text on the 12th.  It measured in at 152 pages in length, written over a gruelling seven weeks.  But it is done!!!  My lack of posting on this blog since then is simply because my mind was aching at the thought of putting any more words to paper.  But I have now started my PhD, and need to get myself back into the game.  So expect weekly posts at a minimum for the next while.

The other incredible news is that I am now engaged to my lovely girlfriend of the past 16 months.  We are currently looking at wedding venues, but hope to be married in August of this year, so there will be another time of silence on this blog.

Surprisingly, the number of viewers to this blog did not decline dramatically when I stopped posting.  There was a bit of a decline, but lots of people are finding me through Google.  August and September I had around 800 hits each month, while October, November and December, in which I posted no articles, still received 600 hits per month.  This is astronomically higher than I had ever hoped when I began this blog – so here’s to a new year, new postings, new visitors, and hopefully new insights!  Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and has made it worth my time!