ALA 315 UOM Intersection of Philosophy Science and Worldview Essay
write a reflective essay of approximately 3 pages, discussing your thoughts about what you have learned in this course and how it has affected your thinking about basic conceptual aspects of science; about the intersection of science, philosophy, and worldview; and about popular science as a genre.
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
Popular Science Lab #19: Evolution
Draw on today’s readings and class session to respond to the following questions:
1. (a) According to Darwin, how does evolution by natural selection work?
According to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, nature selects organisms that
have features favorable for their survival, while eliminating inferior species.
Natural selection is a key to the origin of new species from the existing ones.
The following article provides information about this theory.
(b) What are two key pieces of evidence for evolution?
Interspecies variation and fossil records are the best key pieces of evidence of evolution.
2. (a) Describe and correct a common misconception about how natural selection works.
One common misconception is that natural selection produces organisms perfectly that
suited to their environments. However, this is false. The process of natural selection does
not produce organisms perfectly suited to their environments. Instead, it allows the
survival of individuals with a range of traits — individuals that are “good enough” to
(b) Describe a major update to the scientific understanding of evolution by natural
selection since Darwin’s time. (E.g., give a brief account of updates to molecular biology
and genetics, or recent thinking about the role of cooperation in evolution.)
There have been many changes since the development of Darwin’s theory: the laws of
heredity have been more thoroughly established, DNA had been determined to be the
hereditary molecule, the genetic code has been deciphered, and genome sequencing has
become much more common than before.
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
Popular Science Lab #15: Deep Time
(1) How do geologists determine the ages of rocks?
The age of a rock can be determined using stratigraphy. This is a branch in geology that studies the
chronology of events and changes. This branch also studies the development of organisms that have
determined the development of the Universe from when initially become an independent spatial body
(2) What happened during the Hadean, Archean, and Proterozoic eons, and how do we
know? For each eon, give a very concise bullet-point outline of what happened and how
we know (what evidence or reasoning is used to support the conclusions scientists have
drawn about what happened).
Hadean (4.6-4.0 billion years ago): what happened, how do we know?
During Hadean time, the solar system was forming within a cloud of dust and gas known
as the solar nebula, which eventually spawned asteroids, comets, moons and planets.
Proof of the Hadean era lay within detrital zircons. During this time, a lot of volcanoes
and meteorites would take over the lands, and we know this, again, because of these rock
Archean (4.0-2.5 billion years ago): what happened, how do we know?
During the Archean, the Earth’s crust had cooled enough to allow the formation of
continents and the beginning of life on Earth. Proof of these formations can be seen in the
continents people live in all around the world.
Proterozoic (2.5-0.541 billion years ago): what happened, how do we know?
The most important events of the Proterozoic would have to be accumulation of oxygen
in the Earths atmosphere. Though oxygen is believed to have been released by
photosynthesis as far back as Archean times, it could not build up to any significant
degree until chemical sinks unoxidized sulfur and iron had been filled. This accessibility
of oxygen and the Proterozoic records are the biggest factors of proof for this period.
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
Popular Science Lab #16: Climate Change and the Anthropocene
(1) Describe in some detail (a solid paragraph) the scientific basis for thinking that human
activities can produce long-term changes in the Earth’s climate.
A group of certified scientists have concluded that there has been a more than 95
percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.
The increasing sector of industrial activities of modern civilization have raised the
amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that exist in the atmosphere from about 280
parts per million to about 414 parts per million over the last 150 years. These research
panels have also concluded there’s a better than 95 percent probability that humanproduced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have
caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years.
Human activities have since increased the abundance of heat-trapping gases in the
atmosphere. The increase is mostly due to the constant of burning fossil fuels – including
coal, oil, and natural gas.
(2) Give two specific examples of points or ideas or ways of speaking or themes you
found in today’s readings (/video) that give you a better sense of how to have productive
conversations with other people about climate change.
If you regularly browse the environment sections of news outlets, it’s easy to get
trapped in a pit of despair thinking about climate change. And there’s good reason for that.
But I think it’s important that we get beyond just talking about how dire things are, and
will be, when it comes to climate change. Rather than simply talking about the facts of
climate change and how humans are affecting these rates even more, it may be necessary
for humans to start having better, more productive, more hopeful conversations about
climate change. This consequently leaves people feeling both educated and informed, as
well as solution-focused and contributive. People need to get excited to go and do
something about climate change. If not, then humans will have a population in a collective
anxious to deal with, and then the issue of climate change will never be solved. It is also
necessary to begin talking more about solutions, rather than focusing so much attention on
the actual problem. Yes, acknowledgement of the problem is important, but there will
never be any change if people do not start focusing on the solutions.
February 8 2022
1. Dwarf galaxies are some of the most abundant types of galaxy in the universe, however
they can be difficult to detect due to their low luminosity, low mass and small size. They
are most commonly found in galaxy clusters, often as companions to larger galaxies, and
are classified into three main types. Again, these are the galaxies that make up most of
the universe. supernova-driven gas outflows play a prominent role in the chemical
evolution of dwarf spheroidal galaxies, which play a major role in the evolution of the
2. Star Formation is the process by which dense regions within molecular clouds in
interstellar space, sometimes referred to as “stellar nurseries” or “star-forming regions”,
collapse and form stars. Star formation is heavily dependent on their locations in the
galaxy because some of these locations enable life, while other locations kill these stars.
These stars can inject energy and momentum into the interstellar mediums.
3. A Supernova is a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a
catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass. A supernova happens where there is a
change in the core, or center, of a star. Supernovae play a vital role in distributing the
elements produced in their cores throughout the universe, contributing to the growth
process. When a star explodes, it shoots out elements and debris into space that span
millions of miles and eventually condense to create new stars or celestial bodies.
Information@eso.org. “Dwarf Galaxy.” ESA/Hubble | ESA/Hubble,
“Stars.” NASA, NASA, https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/how-do-stars-form-andevolve.
Klesman, Alison. “Astronomers Confirm There’s a Third Type of Supernova
Explosion.” Astronomy.com, 28 June 2021,
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
Popular Science Lab #10: Exoplanets and Life in the Universe
(1) Explore NASA’s “Eyes on Exoplanets” app:
(a) What do you think – are we alone? Justify your response by drawing on the readings
and, if “applicable,” the app.
I believe that there is a huge possibility that we are not alone in the universe, who – or
what – ever else is out there simply just has not been caught yet. I believe this because of
many different readings and findings I have analyzed about the makeup of the universe.
There are eight planets, and I think that it is highly unlikely that only one of them are
occupied, and that humans are the only beings that live in said Universe.
(b) What do you think the creators of the app want people to think about the question of
whether we are alone? Justify your response as best you can.
I believe that the creators of this app want people to question who or what else is out
there in the Universe, rather than whether we are the only beings here. The app is a
complex creation, and I do not think it would be as informative and technological as it is
if the creators were not trying to imply that the Universe is more than what appears to the
(c) What do you think the authors of the readings (Sara Seager, Mary Roach, and Michael
Summers and James Trefil – discuss at least two of the three readings) want people to
think about this question? Justify your response as best you can.
Authors Sara Seager is a firm believer in the ideology that there is ‘another earth’
somewhere out in the Universe hosting an entire parallel system. Author Mary Roach
takes a more comical approach towards her beliefs about all the unchartered topics of
ALA 315 / Popular Science / Gibelyou
science. Both of these women have produced multiple different readings that take a
deeper look into the Universe that we are floating in, and all of the different fiction and
nonfictional sectors that make it up. I feel as though both of these authors want readers to
be open to the idea that somewhere out there in the Universe there may be some forms of
life that are as oblivious to us as we are to them.
1 March 2022
The universe is ultimately everything in space, time ,and their contents, including planets,
stars, galaxies, and all other possible forms of matter and energy. There are many different
astounding processes that can be credited to the incredible evolution of the Universe. There are
many elements to keep in mind when you are analyzing this evolution of the world that we live
in. Picture an enormous puff of gas and dust across many, many years ago Gravity, as it always
does, tries to pull the materials together. A few more grains of dust would end up collecting.
Then, over the course of a few more years, yet again a few more years, enough gas and dust has
been collected into a giant ball that, at the center of the ball, the temperature reaches 15 million
degrees or so. A marvelous would occur, and nuclear fusion begins and the ball of gas and dust
starts to glow. A new star had begun its life in what we now know as the universe. In fact,
nuclear fusion is an important element to many aspects of the development of the universe. As
the contraction of the gas and dust begins to progress and the temperature reaches levels of an
estimated 15 million degrees, the pressure at the center of said ball becomes enlarged. Electrons
are then stripped off of their parent atoms, creating a form of plasma. The contraction then
continues, and the nuclei in the plasma start moving faster and faster. Eventually, they approach
each other so fast that they overcome the electrical repulsion that exists between their protons
(2020). The nuclei then crash into each other so hard that they stick together, or fuse.By doing
this , they give off a huge amount of energy. This energy from the fusion process then pours out
from the core, setting up an outward pressure in the gas around it that balances the contrasting
pull of gravity. When the released energy reaches the outer layers of the ball of the collected
particles of gas and dust, it moves off into space in the form of electromagnetic radiation.
Consequently, the ball is now a star. The Big Bang hypothesis is another process that is often
associated with the development and evolution of the underise, and it has led to more
experimental deductions. A deduction such as this had been that the temperature in deep space
today should be several degrees above absolute zero in order for the Universe to undergo
evolution. Different observations would show this deduction to be correct. Within galaxies,
including our own Milky Way galaxy, changes in pressure caused gas and dust to form distinct
clouds. In some of these clouds, where there was sufficient mass and the right forces,
gravitational attraction caused the cloud to collapse.
As time goes on, the Universe not only forms elements, atoms, and clumps and clusters
together that lead to stars and galaxies, but expands and cools the entire time. The Universe
continues to expand even today, growing at a rate of 6.5 light-years in all directions per year as
time goes on.Once scientist that would propose a theory as to how the universe evolves would be
that of Isaac Newton. In his theory, the entire universe was filled with elements of different sizes
which shifted around each other. At the center is the sun, which is made up of the smallest kind
of element and the bigger ones sift out and circle around it. The notion of vortices was also used
to explain forces like magnetism. There are many different ways that the universe can evolve.
This process does not start, and it does not end. As long as there are breathing organisms in the
world, then the world will forever continue to evolve. Scientists and astronomers have been
studying these theories and the origins of evolution for as long as it has been humanly possible.
Physical science advances have since incorporated earlier theories that are experimentally
associated with larger, more encompassing frameworks. The big bang theory is supported by a
wealth of evidence; It explains the cosmic background radiation, the abundances of light
elements and the Hubble expansion. Thus, any new cosmology surely will include the big bang
picture. Whatever developments the coming decades may bring, cosmology has moved from a
branch of philosophy to a physical science where hypotheses meet the test of observation and
experiment. Space is constantly expanding. More specifically, the vast regions of space between
galaxies are constantly evolving. According to renowned scientist Albert Einstein, space is not
simply emptiness; it’s a real, stretchable, flexible sector. The notion that space is expanding is a
prediction of Einstein’s theory of gravity, which describes a simple but universal relationship
between space, time, and matter
April 7, 2022
ALA Essay 4
Life is essentially the aspect of natural existence that processes, acts, reacts, evaluates,
and even evolves through multiple processes of growth – including both reproduction and
metabolism. The most crucial difference between life and non-life organisms is that life uses
energy for physical and conscious development. Life is, in simple words, anything that grows
and eventually dies (i.e to proliferate and be cognizant). Understanding the general sector of life
starts with understanding the cellular makeup of life. Understanding the origin of cellular life on
Earth will necessitate the discovery of different pathways for the transition from complex
prebiotic chemistry to a more simple realm of biology – which is essentially defined as the
emergence of chemical assemblies capable of Darwinian evolution (Choi 2022). Charles Darwin
was the British naturalist that had coined the term ‘darwinian evolution’. This had been his
ideology that evolution, in simple terms, could be defined as a descent with some type of
modification. It has been the ultimate idea that all species will eventually change over time, place
an emphasis on newer species, and eventually all share a common ancestor.
Cells are the basic building blocks of all forms of life. The emergence of the first cells to
be discovered on early Earth had been the culmination of a long history of what is known to be a
prior chemical and geophysical processes. Many scientists have recognized the various gaps in
the common knowledge of prebiotic chemistry and the early planetary setting in which life
emerged (Schrum et al 2010). This assumption allows them to better focus on the various
spontaneous and chemical processes that can lead to the formation of primitive membranes, as
well as early genetic polymers, their coassembly into membrane-encapsulated nucleic acids, and
the chemical and physical processes that allowed for their replication. Even though there have
been many laboratory studies that do not reflect the specific pathways that led to the creation of
life on Earth, they are proving to be inadequate in the process of uncovering intriguing and
unanticipated physical processes that may better help scientists reconstruct plausible pathways
and scenarios for the origin of life. In simple words, the cell is the basic structural and functional
unit of life. Every cell is essentially made up of a cytoplasm enclosed within a membrane, which
contains many biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. Robert Hooke would be the
scientist to make these fascinating discoveries about cells, and just how critical they are to the
development of life.
Understanding how populations of living things change over time through evolution is
another critical element to the understanding of life in general. The theory of evolution gives us
a unifying theory to explain the similarities and differences within life’s organisms and
processes. Populations are known to evolve as gene frequencies begin to change. A population is
a group or community of individuals that are all able to interbreed, usually being distinguished as
what scientists refer to as species. Because these individuals can share genes and pass on
combinations of genes to the next generation, the collection of these genes is called a gene pool.
The process of evolution occurs only in populations and not in individuals. Variation between
different populations is usually determined by the genes that are already present in the
population’s total gene pool. This can be directly altered by various forms of mutation. So,
population changes occur due to a process called Natural selection. This is the process that
gradually increases the frequency of, usually good, inherited traits that allow for survival and
reproduction. This process also decreases the frequency of detrimental inherited traits within a
population (Schrum et al 2010). There are five ultimate forces that can cause genetic variation,
as well as evolution, in a population. These forces are mutations, natural selection, genetic drift,
genetic hitchhiking, and gene flow. In terms of population genetics, the term evolution is simply
defined as a change in the frequency of an allele in a population. The evolution of populations is
defined as the changes populations go through when they are, again, predicted by Darwin’s
famous Theory of Evolution.
The origin of life on Earth is one that would initially begin more than 3 billion years ago,
originally evolving from the most basic of microbes into a dazzling array of complexity over
time. However, there still remains the question of how the first organisms on the only known
home to life in the world we know come to develop from the primordial soup. Science, today,
still remains vastly undecided and conflicted in the exact origin of said life forms – something
that is commonly known as abiogenesis (Choi 2022). The definitive definition of life is one that
is constantly being contested and rewritten. Although science still seems unsure about its exact
origination, there are still many different scientific theories on the origin of life, and how this life
came to appear on planet Earth.
Boundless. “Boundless Biology.” Lumen, courses.lumenlearning.com/boundlessbiology/chapter/population-evolution
Choi, Charles Q. “7 Theories on the Origin of Life.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 Feb. 2022,
National Geographic Society. “History of the Cell: Discovering the Cell.” National
Geographic Society, 22 May 2019, www.nationalgeographic.org/article/history-celldiscovering-cell/.
Schrum, Jason P, et al. “The Origins of Cellular Life.” Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in
Biology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Sept. 2010,
April 7, 2022
ALA Essay 3
The initial development of the earth – as well as everything that exists on it- is both
mysterious and miraculous at the same time. Although there are various different accounts of
what may have happened during said evolution, all of these theories seem to hold an identical
historical text. Humans live on Earth’s rocky surface, breathe the oxygen that the planet
provides them with, drink the water that falls from the sky, and eat the food that grows in the soil
of the Earth. However, not many people truly understand the remarkable development of the
planet. Earth did not always exist within this impressive, complex, and expansive universe, and it
has not always been a hospitable haven for life forms. There are multiple critical events that
would have huge influences over the development of Earth as the way we know it today.
Billions of years ago, Earth, along with the rest of what is now known as the solar
system, had been completely unrecognizable. It had only existed as an enormous cloud of dust
and gas. Eventually, a mysterious occurrence would create a disturbance in said dust cloud,
consequently bringing about a string of events that would eventually lead to the formation of life
as it is now known. One common belief between different scientists is that there had been a
distant star that collapsed,thus creating a supernova explosion. This explosion had disrupted the
dust cloud, causing it to pull together. This would form a spinning disc of gas and dust,
becoming what is now known as a solar nebula. The faster the cloud had spun, the more the dust
and gas would become concentrated at the center, further increasing the speed of the nebula.
Over the course of time, the gravity at the center of the cloud had become so intense, hydrogen
atoms began to move more quickly and violently. The hydrogen protons had began to
fuse, creating helium and releasing massive amounts of energy. This would lead to the formation
of what is known as the star that is the center point of our solar system – the sun. This creation
would happen roughly around four and a half billion years ago. Today, the universe is known as
all of space and its contents – thus including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter
and energy. Further observational improvements have led scientists to the conclusion that the
Sun is one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way. This is one of a few hundred billion
galaxies in the universe. Most of the stars that exist in a galaxy have planets.
The universe appears to have an infinite number of galaxies and solar systems, and a
small portion of the solar system occupies this vast entirety. The origins of the universe and solar
system set the tones for a conceptualizing analysis of the Earth’s origin and early history. One of
the most popular events associated with the creation of the Universe is the Big Bang theory.
In 1927, an astronomer named Georges Lemaître would propose this theory. The ideas behind
this theory are largely supported by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The big-bang theory
proposes the idea that the universe had been formed from an infinitely dense and hot core of
material. The bang in the title implies that there was an explosive, outward expansion of all
matter and space that would create what is now known as atoms. Spectroscopy confirms that
about 74% of all matter in the universe is made up of Hydrogen. (Johnson 2017). Since this said
bang, the universe has been expanding for about fourteen billion years, and a few past
observations have suggested the rate of this expansion is increasing at a consistent rate.
A lot of scientists believe that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in 1859 further contributed
to the foundation of millions-to-billions of years of time that had been necessary for molecules to
become men. However, the seeds of deep time had been planted nearly a century prior, as
geologists began to question the biblical timeline of six thousand-year history that would be
implanted in the biblical record. It is the evidence-based fact that the universe has existed for
around fourteen billion years, and that the Earth was formed almost five billion years ago, with
life form appearing almost three billion years ago. Deep time can essentially be defined as a
certain displacement of the human matter, and a representation of the divine from the story of
creation. However, in the Anthropocene, human beings have become that ultimate sublime force
of creation. There are still unanswered questions, though, about different sectors of deep time,
the creation of the world as humans know it, and the interconnected relationship that the two
have seemed to develop. The world that we live in is one that is complex, and it is one that has
yet to be fully understood.
“Deep Time: Darwin’s Theory.” Deep Time: Darwin’s Theory – Creation Studies Institute,
Johnson, Christopher. “8 Earth History.” An Introduction to Geology, Oct. 2017,
National Geographic Society. “Formation of Earth.” National Geographic Society, 29 May