Confused, but Convinced

Darwin’s first point is about sterility. Crossing two species can often create an offspring, but that offspring will more than likely be sterile and unable to reproduce. The next point he makes is that we shouldn’t expect to find intermediate species (links between two species) because evolution is a relatively slow process. One species doesn’t become another within a generation. Changes take many years to happen enough to warrant something being considered a new species. Another argument is the existence of selective breeding. Just since humans began roaming the planet, enormous amounts of plants and animals have changed and many of those changes are to our benefit. We have forced evolution to make our lives easier. The last point I’ll list is how similar creatures of the same climate are. Many animals and plants adapt to their location in the same way.

I hope that I’m not the only one, but I found Darwin to be incredibly difficult to understand. He sometimes seemed like he was saying one thing and then a moment later he was claiming the exact opposite of it. Regardless, I found many things he said to be very convincing. Most convincing to me is the changes that humans have made to plants and animals in our time. We truly appear to have evolved things like dogs and corn to our benefit and I don’t think these things would have happened without human presence. The least convincing argument to me is that about sterility, fertility, and vigor. From what I gathered, Darwin claims that crossing two species creates something that is similar to its parents, but stronger and incapable of breeding. I would need more evidence of this than he provided, but I also recognize that I may have misunderstood him entirely.

2 thoughts on “Confused, but Convinced”

  1. I like your examples, they really do prove Darwin’s argument. I can agree with you 100% that Darwin was very confusing to understand and it took several readings for me to even begin to understand just a little bit.

  2. J- don’t feel bad! What Darwin is proposing is complex and revolutionary! I think you attempted to explain his more confusing claims, and in doing so passed over his emphasis on variation. I found Darwin’s observations on variation within species to be much easier to understand- much more intuitive- than his points about cross-breeding, sterility, and intermediate species. He is essentially saying that there is a purpose for variation of traits within a species, and that that purpose is adaptation to a particular environment. Adaptation is what allows species to survive in the face of competition. A combination of environmental pressures and randomness provoke these adaptations, and species that adapt in a way that is beneficial will supplant species that do not. I hope this is easier to understand. Kudos to you for trying to make sense of the really difficult stuff! Also, your claim that ‘we have forced evolution to make our lives easier’ opens up an interesting door for discussion: do you think that humans have interrupted the process of natural selection in a fundamental way, that maybe renders Darwin’s theory obsolete to a degree?

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