We are so blessed to live in a college town. In the next month and a bit, there are a lot of lectures that we are going to go absorb. Darwin Week is one of our favorite series of lectures. Last year it brought us the Blood Sucking Flies lecture and the year before an amazing talk about Neanderthals. Since we are located in “The Holy City,” it is appropriate that the Darwin Week include a discussion of faiths and the coming of the universe. This year the them is “Does Evolution Lead to Evil.”
The Evolution of Complex Animals: New insights into some very old problems in evolution.
Monday, February 6 at 4:00 p.m. CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium Dr. Athula Wikramanayake
Over 500 million years ago, the Cambrian “explosion” yielded a remarkable diversity of animals with bilateral symmetry — animals which have evolved to constitute 95% of the world’s fauna today. Did such complex “bilaterian” animals evolve from simple, non-bilaterian organisms?
Need for Speed: The Evolution of Decision-Making in a Rapidly Changing World
Tuesday, February 7 at 4:00 p.m. CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium Dr. Catalin V. Buhusi
Despite our sophisticated cognitive abilities, humans are notoriously bad at making rational decisions. Similar biases, aversions, and reference-dependent choices have been reported in other species, suggesting that evolution has shaped our ancestors’ brain to make decisions in a different kind of environment. How can we reconcile the apparent necessity of rapid decision-making with the need for building a long-term sustainable society for future generations?
THE 2012 TALKS ON TAP DARWIN WEEK EVENT: Does Evolution Lead to Evil? Two Christian Perspectives
Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. Second Presbyterian Church Dr. Brad Harrub and Rev. James B. Miller
Critics have claimed that regardless of whether evolution is true or not, to believe that humanity had its origins in earlier non-human species leads to racism, eugenics, euthanasia, abortion, and youth violence. Join Rev. Jim Miller and Dr. Brad Harrub for a fascinating conversation on the potential ethical implications of evolutionary theory, with a robust question and answer time to follow.
Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe
Wednesday, February 8 at 4:00 p.m. CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium Dr. Luke S. Sollitt
Are we alone in the Universe? Until recently, this fundamental question about humanity’s place in the cosmos was the province of philosophy or science fiction. The nascent science of Astrobiology seeks to turn science fiction into science research, and answer it once and for all. Dr. Sollitt will discuss three main research areas in this new field: the search for habitable planets elsewhere in the universe, the study of so-called “extremophiles” on Earth, and the search for habitable zones and life elsewhere in the Solar System.
The Ice-Age Dispersal of Humans to the Americas: Do Stones, Bones, and Genes Tell the Same Story?
Thursday, February 9 at 4:00 p.m. CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium Dr. Ted Goebel
When did modern humans colonize the Americas? From where did they come and what routes did they take? These questions have puzzled scientists for decades, but until recently answers have proven difficult to find. New techniques of molecular genetic analysis, and a reinvigorated search for early archaeological sites across the western hemisphere, recently have led to some astounding results.