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    Explorations Volume 2 Fall 2011

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    Explorations Volume 1 Fall 2010

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    Evolutionary Biology and Rape

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    This article queries whether an evolutionary analysis of rape may be more compelling in explaining a rape victim\u27s fear than a defendant\u27s sexual aggression. Such a victim-oriented approach could help legal decisionmakers assess the reasonableness of the victim\u27s fear when determining whether sex was forced or threatened. These ideas are explored in the context of two well-known rape trials, State v. Rusk and State v. Smith. This article concludes that evolutionary biology can contribute to an understanding of rape. However, the supposed evolutionary underpinnings of male sexual aggression should not justify such behavior or render it acceptable as a criminal defense. Moreover, evolutionary research must be evaluated in a social frame so that generalizations do not unfairly or inaccurately bias plaintiffs or defendants

    The evolutionary biology of dance without frills

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    Recently psychologists have taken up the question of whether dance is reliant on unique human adaptations, or whether it is rooted in neural and cognitive mechanisms shared with other species 1, 2. In its full cultural complexity, human dance clearly has no direct analog in animal behavior. Most definitions of dance include the consistent production of movement sequences timed to an external rhythm. While not sufficient for dance, modes of auditory-motor timing, such as synchronization and entrainment, are experimentally tractable constructs that may be analyzed and compared between species. In an effort to assess the evolutionary precursors to entrainment and social features of human dance, Laland and colleagues [2] have suggested that dance may be an incidental byproduct of adaptations supporting vocal or motor imitation — referred to here as the ‘imitation and sequencing’ hypothesis. In support of this hypothesis, Laland and colleagues rely on four convergent lines of evidence drawn from behavioral and neurobiological research on dance behavior in humans and rhythmic behavior in other animals. Here, we propose a less cognitive, more parsimonious account for the evolution of dance. Our ‘timing and interaction’ hypothesis suggests that dance is scaffolded off of broadly conserved timing mechanisms allowing both cooperative and antagonistic social coordination

    The relationship between evolutionary biology and religion

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    Belief in creationism and intelligent design is widespread and gaining in significance in a number of countries. This article examines the characteristics of science and of religions and the possible relationship between science and religion. I argue that creationism is sometimes best seen not as a misconception but as a worldview. In such instances, the most to which a science educator (whether in school, college or university) can normally aspire is to ensure that students with creationist beliefs understand the scientific position. In the short term, the scientific worldview is unlikely to supplant a creationist one for students who are firm creationists. We can help students to find their evolutionary biology courses interesting and intellectually challenging without their being threatening. Effective teaching in this area can not only help students learn about the theory of evolution but better to appreciate the way science is done, the procedures by which scientific knowledge accumulates, the limitations of science and the ways in which scientific knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge

    Regional development: contribution of evolutionary biology

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    This paper tries to set out a potential of application of some evolutionary biology concepts to the issue of regional development. The objective is to show that employment of these concepts or at least inspiration by them may enrich some theories of regional development and enhance the explanatory framework of regional evolution.First, the views of institutional economics and geography on evolutionary biology contribution are summarised, then some evolutionary concepts are applied to the path dependence concept e. g., in effort to find a possible way of classification of this phenomenon. However, we discuss some other evolutionary concepts, as coevolution, adaptation, preadaption, general approach to comprehension of evolution, etc. in connexion with some chosen theories and problems of regional development.Regional development ; evolutionary biology ; path dependence ; theories of regional development
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