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Evolution vs. Intelligent Design


Charles Darwin (1809-1882) ... Charles Darwin (1809-1882) Dropped out of medical school at age 16 ... Charles Darwin. http://www.rit.edu/~rhrsbi/GalapagosPages ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
  • Hot Topics 3
  • March 15, 2006
  • Austin Peay State University
  • UC 303

EvolutionMost information in this presentation
is taken from Campbell, N.A. Biology (Menlo
Park, CA Benjamin-Cummings, 1987)
  • Refers to all the changes that have transformed
    life on Earth
  • from earliest beginnings to seemingly infinite
    diversity that characterizes it today
  • Most pervasive principle in all of biology today
  • Diversity of organisms
  • Origins of organisms
  • Relationships of organisms
  • Similarities and differences of organisms
  • Geographical distribution of organisms
  • Adaptations of organisms to surrounding

Plato (427-347 BC)
  • Two worlds
  • Real world that is ideal and eternal
  • Illusory world of imperfection that is perceived
    by using our senses
  • Idealism (essentialism) would argue that
    evolution would be counterproductive in a world
    where organisms were already perfectly adapted to
    their environments

Aristotle (384-322 BC)
  • Organisms ranged from very simple to very

  • All living forms could be arranged on a scale on
    increasing complexity
  • No vacancies and no mobility on this scale
  • Species are fixed, permanent on their rung of
    this ladder of life

Judeo-Christian culture
  • Old Testament creation story of Genesis
  • Species individually designed and permanent
  • Natural Theology a philosophy of early
    biologists who saw the adaptation of species as
    evidence that the Creator had designed each and
    every species for a particular purpose
  • Classification became major goal of natural
    theologians to reveal steps of the scale of life
    that God created

  • Geological change can result from slow,
    continuous actions this means the Earth must be
    much older than 6000 years
  • Very slow and subtle processes that persist over
    great lengths of time can cause substantial
    change (gradualism) even in living organisms

  • Founded by the French anatomist Georges Cuvier
  • Study of fossils began with the realization that
    history of life is recorded in strata containing
  • The deeper the stratum the more dissimilar the
    flora and fauna are from modern life
  • Chronological series of older to younger fossils
    leading to modern species

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
  • Published On the Origin of Species by Means of
    Natural Selection on Nov. 24, 1859
  • Species were not specially created in their
    present forms but had evolved from ancestral
  • Described the mechanism for evolution (natural
  • Challenged prevailing scientific views and ideas
    deeply rooted in Western civilization

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
  • Dropped out of medical school at age 16
  • Enrolled in Christ College at Cambridge
    University to become a clergyman (most
    naturalists and scientists at that time in
    England were clergy and nearly all viewed the
    world in the context of natural theology
  • Darwin became the protégé of Rev. Henslow, Prof.
    of Botany
  • Joined the crew of the H.M.S. Beagle at age 22 to
    sail around the world to chart South American
    coastline (1831)
  • Collected thousands of species, particularly 14
    different species of finches on the Galapagos

Excerpt from The Voyage of the Beagle
  • "Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure
    in one small, intimately related group of birds,
    one might really fancy that from an original
    paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species
    had been taken and modified for different ends.
  • Charles Darwin

  • Descent of life (evolution)
  • All organisms are related through descent from
    some unknown prototype that lived in the very
    remote past
  • As descendents of that inaugural organism spilled
    into various habitats over millions of years,
    they accumulated diverse modifications
    (adaptations) that fit them to specific ways of
  • The history of life is like a tree with multiple
    branching and rebranching from a common trunk all
    the way to the tips of the living twigs. At each
    evolutionary fork is an ancestor common to all
    lines of evolution branching from that fork.

  • Natural Selection
  • Individuals of any population vary from one
    another in many characteristics
  • Variations can be inherited
  • Overproduction - members of a population produce
    more offspring than the environment can support
  • Those individuals whose inherited characteristics
    fit them best to their environment are likely to
    leave more offspring than less fit individuals

Evidence for Evolution
  • Biogeography geographical distribution of
    species (islands have plant and animal species
    more closely related to the nearby mainland than
    to any other mainland)
  • Fossil Records succession of fossil forms is
    compatible with other lines of evidence
    (biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology)
    about the major branches of descent in the tree
    of life
  • Taxonomy taxonomic schemes of natural
    theologians correlates to relatedness determined
    by hereditary evidence
  • Comparative anatomy common skeletal features
    (homologous structures) in related organisms
    (forelimbs of cats, bats, whales, humans, etc.)
  • Comparative embryology closely related
    organisms go through similar stages in their
    embryonic development (gill slits in fish, frogs,
    snakes, birds, humans, etc.)

  • Molecular Biology the same hereditary material
    (DNA) is common to ALL organisms and related
    species have closely related DNA sequences

Stebbins, G.L. Darwin to DNA, Molecules to
Humanity (San Francisco Freeman, 1982
  • Biochemistry
  • Common chemical reaction types
  • Common reactive functional groups
  • Condensation to build large biomolecules
  • Hydrolysis to degrade large biomolecules
  • Common chemical elements
  • (98 are C, H, O, N, P, Ca, K, S)
  • Common biomolecules for energy (ATP) structure
  • Universal genetic code

  • Common biomolecules for structure (proteins)

Stebbins, G.L. Darwin to DNA, Molecules to
Humanity (San Francisco Freeman, 1982
Current Attempts to Teach Intelligent Design in
Science Classes
  • Dover, PA US District Court rejected attempt by
    school board to require science teachers to read
    a statement at the beginning of 9th grade biology
    classes promoting alternatives to evolution such
    as ID
  • Judge Jones ruled that ID is nothing less than
    the progeny of creationism

  • El Tejon, CA Americans United for Separation of
    Church and State (AUSCS) filed suit to stop the
    school district from allowing a course that
    promotes a religious perspective about the
    origins of life (Philosophy of Design advocates
    ID and other concepts of creationism)

  • Kansas Board of Education recently approved state
    science standards that weaken the role of
    evolution in teaching about the diversity of life
    and encourages inclusion of ideas such as ID in
    the science curriculum

  • Robert P. Kirshner (president of the American
    Astronomical Society) Scientific theories are
    coherent, based on careful experiments and
    observations of nature that are repeatedly tested
    and verified. They aren't just opinions or
    guesses. Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics,
    and evolution are all theories that explain the
    physical universe in which we live. What makes
    scientific theories so powerful is that they
    account for the facts we know and make new
    predictions or subject itself to a test.
    Intelligent design is not so bold as to make
    predictions or subject itself to a test. Theres
    no way to find out if it is right or wrong. It
    isnt part of science.

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Examples of Species That Did Not Survive Evolution
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