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Big Questions: The Nature of Scientific Inquiry
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Heredity, Human
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1.

Darwin's Evolution [electronic resource]

As a naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle, a Royal Navy survey ship charting the coast of South America, Charles Darwin encountered evidence on the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere that encouraged him to question the biblical story of creation. This program explores the intellectual journey he undertook as a result. Presented by British scientist Adam Hart-Davis, the film invokes specimens in Great Britain's Natural History Museum, especially "Darwin's Finches," that were of fundamental importance to the naturalist's ideas; the two major components of his theory, common ancestry and natural selection; Darwin's sudden urgency regarding the publication of On the Origin of Species after Alfred Russel Wallace presented similar breakthroughs; Darwin's gradual confidence that evidence supportin [...]
Online
2002
2.

Mendel and the Gene Splicers [electronic resource]

Darwin's theory of natural selection paved the way for the field of genetics. But the concept of a gene didn't exist in Darwin's time, and it was several more decades before science could clearly show how an organism passes characteristics on to its offspring. This program spotlights the life and work of Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk living in what is today the Czech Republic - and the father of modern genetic science. The film follows Mendel's studies of the reproduction of pea plants in his monastery garden, studies which noted the effects of cross-breeding on flower color, pod color, and pod shape; his awareness that, while only one "factor" or genetic characteristic may be visibly inherited, others lie dormant and can reappear in later generations; and the scant recognition [...]
Online
2002