This week, Janet Browne returned to Colby to speak on the Origins of the Origins of Species, a defining work not only in the world of science and biology, but a revolutionary text with immeasurable impact globally. While speaking on the origins of Origins of Species, Browne spoke on what could be deemed as the Origin of the origin. Where did we come from? Where did the Earth come from? How do origins fit into the Evolution theory? Ultimately, where does the story start? Humanity, when looked at in a general picture of evolution, is often depicted as a muscular man evolving from apes. But what defines the modern man? We are constantly transforming and growing, not reaching an endpoint that boxes in our humanity, despite a the aforementioned photo of a hairy, upright, biped man. Evolution cannot be equated to steps on a staircase, but rather steps to multiple different rooms all on the same floor, given that within each room there are hundreds upon thousands of steps, incremental and nearly non-noticeable changes separating every mark. As a concept, it is dependent on gradual development, with no clear intro, body, conclusion, or more appropriately, beginning, middle, or end. It is an idea, not a list of consequential steps. The silhouetted model often reflects a timeline, marked by a single line of growth. In reality, there is a much greater resemblance to a patch of trees, with each species representing a brand on one of multiple trees, having stemmed from the same, similar, or even entirely different parent species. Evolution is a never-ending process, with the definition constantly being altered by those studying it.
However, in a constantly changing world, with political leaders and administration fighting what is common knowledge and widely accepted fact, how do we avoid falling into pitfalls of invalidity and false science? In a political administration run by those who advocate for racial and social difference concluding a biological hierarchy, where difference is hated rather than appreciated, we must fight for the importance in genetic variation, diversity, and science-based perspective.