- 07/14/2019 at 10:44 pm #1460899EduGorillaKeymasterSelect Question Language :
Directions : Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.
Although far from a universal commemoration, February 12th is “Darwin Day.” We set this day aside to celebrate one of the greatest scientific thinkers of the modern era. Charles Darwin’s contributions so revolutionized the study of life that his main thesis is often considered “the unifying principle of biology.” Darwin’s work has influenced other fields also, including psychology, sociology, and economics. But that’s not why we celebrate Darwin Day. After all, Copernicus and Newton were at least as revolutionary, but they don’t have a day. Nor does Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, Louis Pasteur, or even Aristotle. Personally, I’d love a Jane Goodall day or a Barbara McClintock day. So why do we single out Darwin so specifically for celebration? Two reasons.
First, because no other scientific figure has attracted so much undeserved vitriol. From the very start, Darwin was vilified and viciously attacked in the most personal way possible. He was called evil, stupid, and every other insult and condemnation you can imagine. As a public defender of evolution, I’ve had a small taste of that vitriol myself and it isn’t pleasant. We celebrate Darwin in order to publicly reject that vitriol and defend his image and his honour from the smears of his critics. Those critics are just as active now (and some are just as mean-spirited) as they were in the Victorian period when Darwin published his work.
Second, we celebrate Darwin Day because, somehow, his ideas are still controversial in some corners of society. The simple logic of natural selection is under attack daily from the pseudoscientific communities of creationism and intelligent design. Now, to be sure, evolutionary science has come a long way since Darwin, just as physics has come a long way since Newton and philosophy has come a long way since Socrates. A century and a half of biological research has refined, extended, and contextualized natural selection within the larger evolutionary field, but it has not overturned it.
Psychology has been heavily influenced by evolutionary science. While Freud never formally brought evolutionary science into his theories, he mentioned Darwin’s work frequently. Subsequently, the fields of socio-biology, ethology, comparative behaviour, and most recently, evolutionary psychology have attempted to bring evolutionary context to the study of behaviour. It’s difficult work because the molecular mechanisms of behaviour are opaque, to say the least. Also, there is a powerful temptation to over-interpret every single behaviour with an adaptationist explanation. Even today, evolutionary science is under attack. Most of these attacks are so unscientific that we needn’t bother responding to them (although I did, perhaps foolishly, respond to Ken Ham’s attack of my first book). But there is a tiny handful of credentialed biologists that dispute evolution and they have become quite famous in the world of creation science, despite the dearth of actual research findings to bolster their position. The most respected of these “Darwin dissenters” is Michael J. Behe. Because he writes with the veneer of scientific authority, scientists absolutely should respond to his writings by referring to evidence that he ignores or misinterprets. To ignore him is to allow his pseudoscience to stand unchallenged.
According to the passage, what is the stance of the author towards ‘evolution’?
The author criticises evolution.
The author is of neutral opinion about evolution
The author supports evolution.
The author vilifies evolution.
None of the above
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