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  • Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

  • Neil: and I'm Neil. Hello.

  • Rob: Hello, Neil! Today we're talking about evolution.

  • Now the man most people think of when talking about evolution is of course Charles Darwin.

  • He was a bit of a genius, wasn't he?

  • Neil: He was. Evolution means the way living things change and develop over millions of years.

  • And a genius has great and unusual skills or abilities in a particular subject or area.

  • Well Charles Darwin was a clever man

  • but I happen to know that another man actually came up with the same idea, but many years before he did!

  • Rob: So how do you know that then, clever clogs

  • that's someone who thinks they know everything? What was his name?

  • Neil: Well, his name was Patrick Matthew.

  • Rob: OK, well we're going to learn more about him on today's programme.

  • But first can you answer this, Neil? What was Patrick Matthew's job? Was he ... a) a politician?

  • b) a church minister? Or c) a horticulturalist?

  • Neil: Well, I don't know so I'll go for the most profession that sounds most interesting

  • ...a horticulturalist, so I'll choose that one!

  • That's a person who studies plants.

  • Rob: OK. We'll find out later whether you are right or wrong.

  • But let's listen now to Dr Mike Weale talking about Patrick Matthew.

  • Can you hear the word he uses to mean 'change-making'?

  • Dr Mike Weale: He published a brief outline of the idea of species being able to change

  • into other species through natural selection

  • this great, transformative idea that unites us all in a single tree of life.

  • And he did that 27 years before Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace did so.

  • And they recognized that he did so

  • but other people since then have simplified the story and tended to concentrate just on Darwin.

  • Neil: So, Matthew believed that evolution happened by natural selection.

  • And natural selection describes the way that plants

  • and animals adapt to their environment,

  • because some individuals survive and reproduce, and others don't.

  • Rob: And adapt means the way our bodies or our behaviour change to suit new conditions.

  • Neil: And what does Mike mean by "a single tree of life"?

  • Rob: Well, the basic idea behind evolution is that

  • all the different species or types of living thing have evolved from the same simple life form.

  • Just like a family tree describes how the members of your family are related to each other,

  • so the "tree of life" describes how all living things are related.

  • Neil: So if this was a transformative or change-making idea,

  • why don't more of us know about Patrick Matthew?

  • Rob: A good question, Neil. We heard in the clip that

  • Darwin acknowledged or accepted - Matthew's claim to the idea.

  • But it seems to be down to us the general public wanting to simplify things.

  • Neil: Well, I like to keep things simple, Rob.

  • Rob: You don't have to tell me that, Neil.

  • But let's hear more on why Matthew might have been passed over or ignored by some.

  • Here's Dr Patricia Fara, senior tutor at Clare College Cambridge.

  • She tells us why Darwin was so successful.

  • And listen out for the word she uses to mean close friends and supporters.

  • Dr Patricia Fara: He brought his allies on board.

  • And although he was publishing from his stronghold down in Kent he had the most

  • famous, most prominent, eminent members of the scientific society

  • in Victorian times who were pushing on his behalf.

  • Having a scientific theory being accepted is not just a matter of whether the theory's right.

  • Rob: The word she used was allies.

  • What are they Neil?

  • Neil: Allies are people who help or support us in something

  • having someone on board also means to have someone's support for an idea or project.

  • And Darwin's allies weren't just mates from down the pub, were they?

  • Rob: No, they weren't! They were famous, prominent and eminent scientists.

  • Prominent means important and well-known

  • and eminent means important and respected.

  • Neil: Ah yes! So you could say that I'm an eminent radio presenter, Rob?

  • Rob: Well, I could Neil, but ...

  • Neil: OK, OK, OK moving on! These eminent scientists were pushing on Darwin's behalf.

  • In other words, they were taking strong action to promote his theory of evolution.

  • Rob: And it's possible that Patrick Matthew did not enjoy the same level of support.

  • Neil: That could be true.

  • So do you remember the quiz question from the beginning of the show, Rob?

  • Rob: Indeed I do! I asked: What was Matthew's job? Was he ... a) a politician?

  • b) a church minister? Or c) a horticulturalist?

  • Neil: And I said c) horticulturalist.

  • Rob: Yes. And that was the right answer, so well done!

  • Just to remind you: a horticulturalist is a person

  • whose job is to study and grow plants such as flowers, fruit and vegetables.

  • But Matthew was interested in trees too.

  • In fact, his ideas about evolution appear in an appendix

  • or section giving extra information at the end of a 200-page book about wood!

  • Neil: So maybe that's why we know Darwin's name but not Matthew's.

  • It doesn't seem fair.

  • Rob: Well, life's not fair, Neil.

  • You should know that by now!

  • Neil: I should, I should.

  • Rob: So why don't we hear the words we learned today?

  • Neil: OK. Here we go:

  • evolution

  • genius

  • clever clogs

  • natural selection

  • adapt

  • species

  • transformative

  • passed over

  • allies

  • on board

  • prominent

  • eminent

  • horticulturalist

  • appendix

  • Rob: Thank you, Neil. Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • There are plenty more to listen to at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Please join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

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B1 中級

BBC 6 Minute English August 27, 2015 - Evolution before Darwin

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    Adam Huang   に公開 2015 年 09 月 05 日
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