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The readings that have been studied during the course can throw light on a variety of issues that are very relevant to the life of the modern community. In particular, much attention should be paid to the transformation of worldviews, cultural values, artistic styles and many other aspects that affect the lives of various individuals and groups. This paper is aimed at discussing such trends as the support given to HIV patients, emphasis on diversity, the changing role of religion, and many other important processes. To some extent, they can be explained by dramatic changes in the public opinion. Moreover, one should examine significant scientific discoveries that took place during the twentieth century. Additionally, it is necessary to show how these trends are reflected in in culture, such as music. These are the main details that should be examined in more closely.
Overall, it is possible to argue that social, scientific, and biological evolution is the underlying cause of the changes that will be discussed in this paper. In many ways, this factor changes the interactions between individuals and groups. One can say that the issues described in the readings created to a new philosophy or a worldview; in turn, they transformed the society, its science, attitude to religion, art, and many aspects that influence the daily lives of individuals. This is the main argument that should be discussed in greater detail.
Discussion of the main examples
At first, it is necessary to mention that modern culture places more emphasis on critical thinking and the need to cast doubt on various postulates that people could have taken for granted in the past. To some degree, this trend can be explained by the important scientific discoveries that were made in the twentieth century. For example, one can speak about those ones which are related to cosmology. This issue is discussed by Stephen Hawking who speaks about the transformation of scientific models which are supposed to explain the origins and development of the universe (572). Furthermore, this author argues that “any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis that you can never prove” (Hawking 571). In turn, Carl Sagan argues that scientific models are by no means “infallible” (Sagan 1).
The problem is that a single observation can refute many of the existing models (Thomas 56). In turn, David Freedman shows how scientists changed the view on Pluto (3). In the course of the twentieth century, scientist acknowledged that Pluto might not be a planet; yet, when this celestial body was discovered, it was described only as a planet. This example is important because it throws light on the limitations of human knowledge. On the whole, these trends significantly advanced the modern science. However, the main issue is that such discoveries made people more skeptical about many of the existing postulates that could been accepted without criticism. Moreover, the role of religion as means of explaining the universe began to decline because science offered a more effective alternative.
This issue is also examined in the reading included in the second module. In particular, they show how the study of evolutionary process changed the worldviews of many people. For instance, Charles Darwin’s book On the Origins of Species proved to be turning point in the history of natural science because this author provided valuable tools for explaining different phenomena such as the survival or extinction of species (Darwin 7).
His ideas are still discussed by many historians. For instance, Scott Sampson believes that the debate about Darwinian Theory had profound implications for the work of many schools, since teachers need to raise students’ awareness about this theoretical framework. Moreover, the writer speaks about the conflict between the supporters of intelligent design and those educators who argue that Darwinian Theory should be included in the curriculum (Sampson, 217). Admittedly, modern scientists view this theory in a more critical way. For instance, Steve Jones argues that their attitudes have evolved from “delight to doubt” (Jones 275).
Nevertheless, the legacies of this theory of still are still palpable. For instance, many people have come more critical toward religion and its major premises. Furthermore, one can argue that many individuals became more aware about the influence of religion on the education. The problem is that many religious organizations became opposed to Darwinian Theory and its inclusion in school curriculum. This is why the society became polarized. These are some of the main aspects that can be singled out.
Furthermore, one can argue that the decline of dogmatism affected the lives of many individuals because it transformed the policies of government. In particular, this decline diminished the victimization of many people. For example, one can speak about individuals who suffered from HIV and AIDS. At present, many researchers try to find ways of eradicating this disease (Stevenson 1; Watkins 68).
The problem is that two decades ago these individuals were treated only as outcasts. In part, this situation could be explained by the fact that at that many individuals were very prejudiced against HIV patients and homosexuals. Additionally, one can mention the notorious Tuskegee experiment during which many people suffering from syphilis did not receive any appropriate treatment. Instead, medical workers simply observed the progress of the disease. This study can be described as a “moral nightmare” (Heller 1). The changes in the public opinion prompted other people to treat HIV patients with more empathy.
On the whole, the contemporary community pays more attention to the prevention and control of disease. More importantly, many people who were discriminated in the past, receive more support nowadays. Therefore, one can argue that changing worldviews improved the welfare of many people since many of the stereotypes and biases were eliminated. This is one of the points that should be taken into account.
Furthermore, it is possible to argue that these trends are partly reflected in various works of art. In this case, one can speak primarily about music which began to emerge at the time when the role of different social groups changed significantly. For example, one can mention such as song as Thinking Blues performed by Bessie Smith. This work of art throws light on the peculiarities of “female subjectivity that balances self-possessed dignity with flashes of humor” (McClary 430). This song is a good example of how music can empower some social groups. It should be noted that in many cases many songs could be written primarily from a male perspective. Nevertheless, the situation was changed significantly. Moreover, the contemporary artworks can throws light on the experiences of people who represent various subcultures (Hebdige 24).
In many cases, these artworks can significantly empower various individuals and groups. There are artistic movements that combined the elements of different sub-cultures; in this case, one can speak primarily about punk which became very popular in Great Britain (Hebdige 27). This evolution of culture is closely related by the transformation of society. Moreover, in the modern world, many of the existing subcultures have been commercialized (Bull 197). These trends can be attributed to the changes in the public opinion, especially increasing emphasis on diversity.
Additionally, the idea of social evolution can be illustrated with the help of various examples taken from literature. There are many novels and short stories, which explore the experiences of people who could be marginalized in the past. In particular, it is possible to mention Notes from a Native Daughter written by Joan Didion. This author shows that Native Americans have a different perception of nature and environment. For instance, these individuals believe that other people do not fully know or appreciate the place in which they live (Didion 271). This is one of the ideas that are central for this author. This issue is also explored in the poem Covers the Ground written by Gary Snyder who describes the way in which California was changed due to industrial and commercial growth (Snyder 1).
In particular, this writer creates very vivid images by saying that this land is “covered with cement culverts standing on end” (Snyder 1). Overall, these authors increase people’s awareness of indigenous culture. Moreover, they prompt the audience to think about the values and perceptions of these people. These trends beneficial affect the interactions between people within the community and their attitudes toward one another.
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There is another example that should not be overlooked. Much attention should be paid to the way in which conflicts are managed. In particular, modern societies attempt to improve methods of resolving conflicts. The efforts of policy-makers are aimed at reconciling the interests of different stakeholders. This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about such issues as the extraction of shale oil (Mooney, 85). Furthermore, the efforts of legislators are supposed to minimize the impact of agricultural activities on the environment and farmers (Grossi 2). Furthermore, researchers attempt to develop strategies that can help various communities to avoid fresh water crisis (Rogers, 2).
The main change is that in the past, policy-makers did not always seek for solution that could adequately meet the interests of different stakeholders (Frank 20; Weisman 10). This is one of the differences that can be identified. This example suggests that the norms adopted within a community have also evolved profoundly, since it has become more egalitarian.
On the whole, this discussion can throw light on the way in which the worldviews, attitudes, and values of many individuals and groups have evolved during the twentieth century. The readings that have been selected are related to the events and trends that changed the life of the modern community, especially science, the position of religion, art, literature, and music. The tendencies, which have been singled out, are important for understanding the life of the society. Therefore, these trends have significantly shaped the experiences of people living in the United States or other advanced countries. These are the main points that can be considered.
Bull, Michael. The Audio-Visual IPOD, Routledge: 2012. Print.
Darwin, Charles. On the Origins of Species, London: Cricket House Books, 2010. Print.
Didion, Joan. Notes from a Native Daughter, New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1990. Print.
Freedman, David. “When Is a Planet Not a Planet?” The Atlantic. 1998: 1-2. Print.
Frank, Adam. The Roots of Conflict, University of California Press, 2009. Print.
Grossi, Mark. “Tainted water flows from taps of rural valley homes.” The Fresno Bee. 2011: 1-6. Print.
Hawking, Stephen. Our Picture of the Universe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.
Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style, London: Routledge, 1987. Print.
Heller, Jean. “Syphilis Victims in U.S. Study Went Untreated for 40 Years.” New York Time. 1972: 1. Print.
Jones, Steve. “Biodiversity, Natural Selection and Random Change.” Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society. Ed William Morrow. New York: Harper Collins 2002. 274-273. Print.
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Rogers, Peter. “Facing the Freshwater Crisis.” Scientific American, 46.3. (2012): 46-53. Print.
Sagan, Carl. Can We Know the Universe?, New York: Random House LLC, 1979. Print.
Sampson, Scott. “Evoliteracy.” Intelligent Thought. Ed. John Brockman. New York: Random House, 2006. 216-222. Print.
Snyder, Gary. Covers the Ground. New York, Counterpoint, 1993. Print.
Stevenson, Mario. “Can Hiv Be Cured?.” Scientific American 299.5 (2008): 78-83. Print.
Thomas, Keith. Man and the Natural World. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983. Print.
Watkins, David. HIV: 25 Years Later. New York: Scientific American, 2008. Print.
Weisman, Alan. The World Without Us, New York: St. Martins: Press, 2007. Print.