Creationism Vs Evolution Through The Eyes Of

Creationism Vs Evolution: Through The Eyes Of Jay Gould Essay, Research Paper Creationism vs Evolution: Through The Eyes of Jay Gould It has been over 100 years since English naturalist Charles Darwin first

Creationism Vs Evolution: Through The Eyes Of Jay Gould Essay, Research Paper

Creationism vs Evolution: Through The Eyes of Jay Gould

It has been over 100 years since English naturalist Charles Darwin first

told the world his revolutionary concept about how livings things develop.

Evolution through natural selection and adaptation was the basis of his argument

as it remains to this day a debated subject by many. Across this nation, a

“return” to “traditional” values has also brought the return of age old debated

topics. One issue that truly separates Americans is the issue of creation

versus evolution. Since the 19th century, this divisive topic has been debated

in school boards and state capitols across America. In many instances religious

fundamentalists won the day by having banned the instruction or even the mention

of “ungodly” evolutionary thinking in schools. With today?s social and political

climate, this question is back with greater force than ever. This is why this

subject is more important now than ever. In Jay Gould?s book The Panda?s Thumb,

an overview of and an argument for Charles Darwin?s evolutionary thinking is

conducted with flowing thoughts and ideas. This essay titled “Natural Selection

and the Human Brain: Darwin vs. Wallace” takes a look directly at two hard

fought battles between evolutionists and creationists. Using sexual selection

and the origins of human intellect as his proponents, Gould argues his opinion

in the favor of evolutionary thought.

In this essay titled “Natural Selection and The Human Brain: Darwin vs.

Wallace,” Gould tells about the contest between Darwin and another prominent

scientist named Alfred Wallace over two important subjects. These topics, one

being sexual selection and the other about the origins of the human brain and

intellect were debated by men who generally held the same views on evolution.

However on these two subjects, Wallace chose to differ as he described it as his

“special heresy” (53). The first of these two areas of debate between the two

men was the question of “sexual selection.” Darwin theorized that there laid

two types of sexual selection. First a competition between males for access to

females and second the choice “exercised by females themselves” (51). In this,

Darwin attributed racial differences among modern human beings to sexual

selection “based upon different criteria of beauty that arose among various

peoples” (51). Wallace, however, disputed the suggestion of female choice. He

believed that animals were highly evolved and beautiful works of art, not

allowing the suggestion of male competition to enter his mind. The debate of

sexual selection was but a mere precursor to a much more famous and important

question . . . the question of the origins of the human mind. Gould?s

discussion of the origins of the human mind is one that he in which he vocalizes

his own opinions and feelings in a much more critical manner. Gould begins the

topic of human origins by briefly criticizing Wallace for his different views on

this subject. Wallace believed that human intellect and morality were unique

and could not be the product of natural selection. Wallace suggested that “some

higher power” (53) must have “intervened to construct this latest and greatest

of organic innovations.” Gould sharply chastises Wallace for “simple cowardice,

for inability to transcend the constraints of culture and traditional views of

human uniqueness, and for inconsistency in advocating natural selection so

strongly” (53). The argument that human intelligence was divine along with the

belief that all people of all races have the same capacity of intellect, but are

limited only by their culture was at the heart of Wallace?s opinions. Gould

rebuts Wallace by going into Darwin?s “subtler view.” Gould writes that our

brains may have “originated ?for? some set of necessary skills . . . but these

skills do not exhaust the limits of what such a complex machine can do” (57).

Gould ends by describing Wallace?s thinking as having direct ties with

creationist thought. A school of thought that Gould obviously portrays as wrong

throughout his essay. Throughout The Panda?s Thumb, Gould tells us about the

debate between Darwin and Wallace over sexual selection and the origins of human

intellect. Throughout his essay Gould gives vivid accounts of the different

views expressed by the two men as he analyzes the validity of each. He makes a

clear opinion and backs up his claim. In this, Gould sufficiently argues his

points that he makes. As a writer, Gould tells his opinion through clear and

precise words in a style that anyone could grasp immediately. To make his point

unmistakable, Gould gives direct and continuous analysis, commentary, and

criticism as he digs deeper into his subjects. Gould?s style of writing is not

only appropriate, but is favorable for this type of discussion and can be

applauded. Rather than submitting to a scientists ever present tendency to over

explain and over analyze while using incomprehensible vocabulary, Gould gets the

job done with brief yet fulfilling summaries and statements. In the end, however,

Gould must be judged by his judgement. His argument is the ultimate standard

bearer and in this there are few weaknesses. His excellent use of clear

language and style as he analyzes a particular subject is commendable. Never

does Gould stray into incomprehensible scientific hog wash. Never does Gould

let himself begin to attack mercilessly without a shred of evidence.

But even with Gould?s excellent story telling in his essay, there

remains subtler, yet still present weaknesses in his argument. While Gould

appropriately attacks Wallace for his creationist stance on human intellect, he

in turn fails through his lack of creationist related discussions. While he

does argue and does it well, he leaves something to be desired in his attack on

creationist thought. In addition, Gould doesn?t seem to write enough about

Darwin?s own feelings about the human intellect, though he states Darwin?s

underlying opinion, it would had been beneficial for Gould to have done more in

this area.

Jay Gould?s essay “Natural selection and the human brain” is one that

strikes the readers mind with interest and curiosity. Written in a style and

format that is “reader friendly” while sufficiently and consistently arguing a

clear and precise point are the attributes that make Gould?s essay such a

delight to read. More important, however, is the social implications of this

essay. While school boards across the nation debate the subject of whether

evolution should be taught in the schools, Gould?s work stands out with it?s

overriding validity and straightforwardness. It is an example of reasonable

argument as evolution?s opponents use nothing but rhetoric and fear to displace

scientific analysis. Through Gould?s work, a greater sense of understanding

about how creatures evolved can be gained through these two excellent examples.