Write a Summary-Response Essay( 500 – 800 words) about one of the six short stories we’ve discussed, considering it as a case history about evolutionary processes and relating it to Wilson’s ideas about evolution. [You may also cite other evolutionists we have studied this semester (Sherman & Billing, Miller, Sapolsky, Buss, Webster etc)].

Include comments on the story made by classmates which you admired or learned something from: quote or paraphrase the comment, or some part of it, putting the student’s last name in parentheses at the end of the quote or comment. Be sure to say what it added to your understanding of the story or evolution in general.

The Stories:

Peter Watts, from Blindsight (2006)

David D. Levine, “I Hold My Father’s Paws”(2006)

James Van Pelt, “A Flock of Birds” (Links to an external site.) (2003)

James Shirley and William Gibson, “The Belonging Kind” (Links to an external site.)(1986)

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, “Frog Pond” (Links to an external site.)(1967)

Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question (Links to an external site.)“(1956)

Topic: What evolutionary processes are at work in the story (survival evolution, sexual selection, artificial selection, cultural evolution)?

You must, of course, construct or quote working definitions of the types of evolution you think are shown in the story (as I did in Weeks 12-14) and then apply the terms of the definitions to the events of the story, using quotations from the story to support your viewpoint.

Here FYI are the definitions I provided of the different types:

Here are the four types of evolution we’ve dealt with:

  1. Natural Selection: the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring… believed to be the main process that brings about evolution. (OxfordDictionaries.com)
  2. Sexual Selection: a mode of natural selection where members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex to mate with (intersexual selection), and compete with members of the same sex for access to members of the opposite sex (intrasexual selection).(Wikipedia)
  3. Cultural Evolution: the idea that human cultural change––that is, changes in socially transmitted beliefs, knowledge, customs, skills, attitudes, languages, and so on––can be described as a Darwinian evolutionary process that is similar in key respects (but not identical) to biological/genetic evolution (Dictionary.com)
  4. Artificial Selection: The breeding of plants and animals to produce desirable traits. Organisms with the desired traits, such as size or taste, are artificially mated or cross-pollinated with organisms with similar desired traits (Dictionary.com)

You should also refer to and quote at least once from Wilson, classmates in discussion, or other evolutionists we have studied.

How to do this:

1. Develop an introduction for your paper which states what story and what ideas you will discuss. (Depending on your own writing process, this can be either the first part you write, or even the last!)

2. Summarize the story you chose in one paragraph

3. Then show the evolutionary processes at work in the story, quoting from Wilson or others to define the processes, then using examples and direct quotations from the story to support your ideas.

4. Include comment(s) by classmates.

4. In one final paragraph, provide a final comment on the readings. Tell me what you found interesting or important.

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