Next week, we’ll be discussing some common misconceptions about evolution. Here are a few examples from the Understanding Evolution website:
Misconceptions about evolutionary theory and processes:
Evolution is a theory about the origin of life.
Evolution results in progress; organisms are always getting better through evolution.
Individual organisms can evolve during a single lifespan.
Humans are not currently evolving.
Misconceptions about natural selection and adaptation:
Natural selection involves organisms trying to adapt.
Natural selection acts for the good of the species.
Natural selection is about survival of the very fittest individuals in a population.
Natural selection produces organisms perfectly suited to their environments.
All traits of organisms are adaptations.
In Science and Myth, John Maynard Smith argues that science and myth serve to equally important, yet different, purposes for humans’ understanding of their world. How might a failure to make this distinction between the functions of science and myth lead to some of the common misconceptions people hold about evolution? Use one of the misconceptions from the list above (or your own example) to explain your reasoning. A short (3-4 sentences) answer is fine.
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