Videos

“The Most Important Words I Have Ever Spoken” – N. Tyson

Astrophysicist and popular science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a message and short video on his Facebook page today:

The video is interspersed with quick clips of news and political debates while Tyson speaks about our state of scientific literacy. In one clip, Vice President Mike Pence argues “let us demand that educators around America teach evolution not as fact, but as theory.”

Tyson’s core message revolves around the notion that when it comes time to make decisions on science or important matters that affect us all, people have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not. Tyson calls this a “recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy.”

A timely message a few days before the upcoming March of Science. Here is the video:

Darwin, Wallace, and Natural Selection – A Short Film

Below is an HHMI BioInteractive short film on the epic voyages of Darwin and Wallace that led each to independently discover the natural origin of species and to formulate the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Many textbooks are smothered with Charles Darwin as being the “father” of natural selection,  rarely mentioning Alfred Wallace at all. In scientific circles, both men are credited with arriving at natural selection theory independently.

It is important to note that their theories were not entirely identical. Darwin’s theory is more focused on individual struggle while Wallace’s tends to concern itself with populations and groups. Wallace possessed more combined field time than Darwin, and in my opinion, Wallace explored more smaller isolated lands than Darwin which led to the Wallace Line – an imaginary boundary line separating ecozones that explains the differentiation of species among groups.

Wallace Line
Wallace Line

There is a richer backstory to both Darwin and Wallace, but to end this blog post, be comforted in knowing that they remained friends, despite minor disagreements. For example, Darwin believed that animal breeding could demonstrate natural selection, but Wallace always disagreed, arguing that such demonstrations are examples of artificial selection rather than natural selection (Wallace was correct). The short film below highlights how both men arrived at their theories.