History and Philosophy of Science

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General Studies Unit
Kaduna State University, Kaduna
Kaduna State, Nigeria

GST 203

HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
LECTURE NOTES

COURSE INTRODUCTION:
This course is designed with the objectives of not only educating students on the historical developments that have taken place in the fields of science and technology and the philosophical basis on which achievements were made but to stimulate discuss and interests in the minds of students irrespective of the course they offer in the University, it is understood that cross disciplinary exposures of students in this manner will enable them appreciate the need to think alike and work together especially that they are our future leaders. The end result is lifting our country to joining the elite nations of scientific and technologically developed societies. Man, His Origin and Nature

Introduction
The origin of man is based on the modern theory concerning the evolution of man which proposes that humans and apes derive from an apelike ancestor that lived on earth a few million years ago. The theory states that man, through a combination of environmental and genetic factors, emerged as a species to produce the variety of ethnicities seen today, while modern apes evolved on a separate evolutionary pathway. Perhaps the most famous proponent of evolutionary theory is Charles Darwin (1809-82) who authored The Origin of Species (1859) to describe his theory of evolution. It was based largely on observations which he made during his 5-year voyage around the world aboard the HMS Beagle (1831-36). Since then, mankind's origin has generally been explained from an evolutionary perspective. Moreover, the theory of man's evolution has been and continues to be modified as new findings are discovered, revisions to the theory are adopted, and earlier concepts proven incorrect are discarded. Evolution of Man - Concepts in Evolutionary Theory`

The currently-accepted theory of the evolution of man rests on three major principles. These principles hinge on the innate ability which all creatures have to pass on their genetic information to their offspring through the reproductive process. An alternative explanation for homology is a common designer. According to this reasoning, the similarities in anatomical features between species point to a blueprint used by a Creator/Designer. The first tenet is microevolution, the occurrence and build-up of mutations in the genetic sequence of an organism. Mutations are predominantly random and can occur naturally through errors in the reproductive process or through environmental impacts such as chemicals or radiation. The second tenet of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is a natural mechanism by which the fittest members of a species survive to pass on their genetic information, while the weakest are eliminated (die off) because they are unable to compete in the wild. Natural selection is often termed "survival of the fittest" or "elimination of the weakest." The third tenet is speciation, which occurs when members of a species mutate to the point where they are no longer able to breed with other members of the same species. The new population becomes a reproductively isolated community that is unable to breed with its former community. Through speciation, the genes of the new population become isolated from the previous group. Evolution of Man - Scientific Evidence

The theory of evolution of man is supported by a set of independent observations within the fields of anthropology, paleontology, and molecular biology. Collectively, they depict life branching out from a common ancestor through gradual genetic changes over millions of years, commonly known as the "tree of life." Although accepted in mainstream science as altogether factual and experimentally proven, a closer examination of the evidences reveal some inaccuracies and reasonable alternative explanations. This causes a growing number of scientists to dissent from...
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