My son is not sure about what he has been taught about the common ancestor

by KateWild 51 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • GrreatTeacher

    You are correct; there is no shame in admitting what you don't know.

    I know precious little about chemistry.

    But, if my son was having difficulty with it, I'd begin teaching myself about it in a heartbeat so I could help him.

    I don't have an issue with people who can't learn things. I have students like that all the time.

    But, choosing not to learn about things because you have "no interest or desire" is quite a different thing, and quite unacceptable, in my opinion. And, I can't believe that you can't learn it since you have a university degree.

    I just cannot understand it. You have quite a difficult situation with your son. If he needs you to understand biology and evolutionary theory, why wouldn't you do everything in your power to learn it and teach it to him?

  • KateWild


    The following is something Cofty wrote in response as part of the thread. It's completely incomprehensible to a 14 yr old. If you think that's what they learn in the US or the UK you are wrong. But feel free to provide a reference showing me the contrary.

    I also expect that you don't understand it either because you didn't contribute in this part of the thread.

    Eukaryotes are a result of a chimera of an archaeal host and and prokaryotic symbiont
  • KateWild


    My son is not having trouble with biology. He just isn't sure of what the school is teaching is true.

    Also just because someone is qualified and specialises in one subject it doesn't automatically mean they can grasp everything.

    You can't understand why I don't do everything in my power to learn about evolution. How do you know I haven't?

    Kate xx

  • Gargamel

    Just wanted to say that although Dawkins obviously has a major downer on religion, not all of his works are about that.

    Anyway - to the common ancestor - without overcomplicating it:

    The closer two species are genetically, the more recently their common ancestor was around. For instance, whatever species humans and gorillas split from was a lot more recent than, say, humans and horses. Presumably horses and zebras was relatively recent, though zebras acquired stripes - believed to be camouflage.

    Throughout nature there is this balance needed for survival between being prominent enough to attract a mate and being hidden enough to hide from predators. This is why some creatures change colour or form when attracting a mate - because the rest of the time they need to be camouflaged. There were even observations that some creatures that were otherwise identical, stood out a lot more in areas where there had been no predators for a while whereas in areas where there were predators, their colourings blended in better with the background.

    One of the most remarkable things I read was about the evolution of bacteria in a lab. As they are so tiny, they change form far more it is evolution in microcosm. Unfortunately, the details of that lengthy experiment are in a Dawkins book so may be a closed door. It was a remarkable piece of research though.

    I'm so glad that you are exploring.

  • cofty

    Kate I have written 38 posts in that series so far and you are fixated on the only technical one in wholes series.

    "Eukaryotes are a result of a chimera of an archaeal host and a prokaryotic symbiont"

    I didn't actually write that in the OP at all. As you are well aware that was part of a conversation with somebody who claimed to be a microbiologist. The OP is perfectly easy to understand if you are prepared to check just one of two definitions at most.

    All the other 37 OPs are more than accessible to an average 14 year old.

    Here are a few that are particularly simple...

    #4 Smelly Genes
    Hundreds of broken genes that used to code for olfactory receptors in our ancestors are still found in our genome.

    #5 Vitamin C
    Why humans can no longer make their own vitamin C and what that tells us about our species' history.

    #7 Human Egg Yolk Gene
    Humans and our primate cousins have the genes for making vitellogenin and they are all broken in the same way.

    #11 Tiktaalik
    An amazing fossil discovery illustrates the transition of life from sea to land.

    #14 Joey Goes to Oz
    Fossil evidence for the origins of marsupials found in Antarctica exactly as predicted.

    #18 Fish Fingers
    The evolution of limbs is mapped out in an amazing sequence of ancient fish fossils.

    #19 Goosebumps
    A vestigial reflex bequeathed by our hairier ancestors.

    #22 The Hillocks of Hiss...
    A vestigial feature if the human ear shared by 10% of the population demonstrates our evolutionary history.

    #23 Faunal Succession...
    The consistent sequence of fossils found in the rocks can only be explained by evolution.

    #24 The Origin of Your Inner Ear...
    How the bones that reptiles eat with became the bones that we hear with.

    #30 Your Third Eyelid...
    The remnants of a nictitating membrane reveals our evolutionary history.

    #33 A Tale About Tails
    Human embryology reveals our primate history.

    #34 Hiccups and Tadpoles
    How hiccups are a relic of our amphibian ancestors.

  • KateWild


    Thanks for your post and welcome to JWN or JWD.

    I had a phone conversation with Angus today (cantleave) and he said the same thing about Dawkins earlier books. So I might look into them.

    Kate xx

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    KateWild said, "My point about the amoeba is that it's in cofty's thread which I don't understand which is not high school biology."

    You're right Kate, that is not High School Biology - it is JUNIOR High School (now called "Middle School" in the USA) Biology - or it was when I went to Junior High School in 1964. By the way, Gene Simmons of KISS attended the same school!

    Where is this backwards High School you complain about? I strongly suspect that it is either not within the borders of the USA or it is an American school that has been lobotomized by political correctness and new-age junk science.

  • KateWild

    Fair enough Cofty I will read all the OPs since you put so much effort into them.

    But I am looking to explain to him about the common ancestor and cantleave also wrote this which I think is worth reading too. I will prioritise as I see fit.

    And as I have already said I am thinking about reading the Dawkins book cantleave recommend.

    Kate xx

  • GrreatTeacher

    Maryland State Biology Curriculum Grade 7

    Expectation 3.4 Evolution

    Indicator 2 Estimate degrees of relatedness.

    Assessment Limits:

    Classification: distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells


    I could not get a link for some reason. This is in the US and I'm not sure if it's different in the UK, but, yes, I would expect a 7th grader (13 year old) to know the difference between a prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell.

    Also in science education it is important to know how to research other things / vocabulary that is currently unknown. So, with a little diligence, Cofty's posting should be accessible.


    The Link is below. It was a PDF and it was translated into plain text. Sorry about the formatting.


    State Curriculum - Biology April 19, 2007 Page 41 of 48 Pre-requisites Summarized from State Biology State Curriculum (SC) Curriculum Life Science Grades 3 – 8 Expectation 3.4 Evolution: Explain the mechanism of evolutionary change. Supplemental Topics D. Evolution 1. Recognize and describe that evolutionary change in species over time occurs as a result of natural variation in organisms and environmental changes. a. Recognize and describe that gradual (climatic) and sudden (floods and fires) changes in environmental conditions affect the survival of organisms and populations. b. Recognize that adaptations may include variations in structures, behaviors, or physiology, such as spiny leaves on a cactus, birdcalls, and antibiotic resistant bacteria. c. Recognize and describe that adaptation and speciation involve the selection of natural variations in a population. d. Recognize and describe that extinction occurs when the adaptive traits of a population do not support its survival. e. Recognize that evolution accounts for the diversity of species. Indicator 2. Estimate degrees of relatedness among organisms or species. Assessment Limits: ƒ classification (recognize relationships among organisms; distinguish between prokaryotes and eukaryotes) ƒ anatomical similarities (evolutionary relationships; homologous structures) ƒ similarities of DNA base sequence and/or amino acid sequence including results from gel electrophoresis) Objectives ¾ Recognize and explain that the DNA code is virtually the same for all life forms. ¾ Integrate scientific information from a variety of disciplines to provide evidence for the relatedness of species on Earth, such as: • Geology, including fossils, radiometric dating • Comparative anatomy, including studies of homologous structures and anatomical similarities • Biochemistry, including studies of DNA base and/or amino acid sequences • Taxonomic systems based on biochemical and anatomical similarities ¾ Explain that the millions of different species that live on earth today are related by common ancestry. ¾ Classify and identify prokaryotes and eukaryotes based on their cell structures. ¾ Identify, explain, and demonstrate how technology can be used to determine evolutionary relationships among species. • Gel electrophoresis • Similarities of DNA base sequences and/or amino acid sequences Relatedness Among Organisms ƒ Species can be classified into large groups called domains and kingdoms, which are comprised of organisms with general similarities. ƒ Classification of prokaryotes and eukaryotes is based on their evolutionary relationships. ƒ Dichotomous keys and are tools that can be used to show relatedness among organisms. ƒ Cladograms are tools that can be used to suggest relatedness through ancestry.


    Despite the curriculum, my issue was with not having "the interest or desire."

    I find that sad as an educator.

    Please don't give up. Please.

  • cofty
    Fair enough Cofty I will read all the OPs since you put so much effort into them.

    Kate I really don't mind if you read them or not. Just don't misrepresent them as complicated, they could not be any simpler.

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