The Beak of The Finch
This is an exceptionally important and timely book for at least two reasons. In the
first place, it renders both the fact of evolution and the most powerful theory ever devised
for explaining it readily comprehensible to the general public. Secondly, Weiner's novel
provides a scientifically convincing repudiation not only of the claims of Creationists,
but also of the critiques of many nonconforming evolutionary theorists concerning the
sufficiency and continuing fruitfulness of Darwinism as a guiding conceptual archetype.
Theses objectives are achieved through Weiner’s ability to immerse the reader in ...view middle of the document...
They determined that Darwin's “hypervariable finches”, in
their secluded island setting, might very well present the key to a crucial break in our
knowledge of evolution. They began to acquire measurements on twenty-one assortments
of finches that could found on seven islands. The potential of the project became
apparent in a short amount of time, as the researchers discovered that the precision of
measurement and complexity of mathematical analysis allowed by modern technology
revealed a rate of variability unimagined by scientists until now. They observed “natural
selection” forcing a species to advance in one particular method until, when the
environmental disputes eased, “ sexual selection” took over and eventually brought about
a complete change in direction.
With this, Weiner implies that the Grants' labor greatly enhances our
understanding of the nature of the competition forcing both “natural selection”
and “sexual selection”. As he expresses it, their findings allow us to acknowledge
that "Darwinian competition is not only the clash of stag horns, the gore on the jaws of
lions, nature red in tooth and claw. Competition can also be a silent race, side by side, for
the last food on a desert island where ... the only sound of battle is the occasional crack of
a Tribulus seed."
Jonathon Weiner as well, investigates the extent to which those researchers have
shed new light or new ideas concerning the problem of origin of species. Their findings
validate how both of Darwin's procedures of selection interweave in nature to produce
those “invisible” boundaries that over time, result in the inability of members of one
group of organisms to breed with those of another. The Grants discovered that not only
do the finches solely possess variable beaks, but also that they are especially sensitive
to these variations. The result is that a small change in beak structure or size can have
harmful effects for the continued existence of individuals, and for their probability of
mating and reproducing. It was also recognized that finch size, and the distinctiveness
of their beaks, are all vastly heritable. Together, these three characteristics are able to
speed up the selection process noticeably, making...