will be held on Monday 13 February 2006
9:30 am - 12:30pm plus afternoon discussion session if sufficient interest.
Lecture theatre 6 level 4 ("CB01.04.06")
in the University of Technology tower block Broadway.
Suggested entrance donation: $5 students and concesions, $10 adults.
Branch of the evolutionary tree that led to modern humans.
Video clip from WGBH/PBS/SBS video series on Evolution re-enacting the famous stoush between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860.
Dr Darren Curnoe will speak on Making peace with nature . Darren is a scientist with a fascination for understanding the place of humans in nature and the evidence for our biological evolution. He is an expert in the study of human origins and each year directs excavations of a 250,000 year old fossil and archaeological site in South Africa. He is a passionate educator and science communicator. In his talk he will argue among other things that intelligent design, or creationism, is a device used to justify our continuing mistreatment of the environment and that only a scientific understanding of our evolution will put us at peace with the natural world.
Prof Stephen Boyden will speak on the biology of civilisation , that is about humanity's tendency to suffer "cultural maladaptations" because there have been too few generations since our hunter gatherer days for natural selection to have removed tendencies in our behaviour which are unsuitable for cultural life. See Australasian Science April 2005 p. 34. He is the convenor of the Australian National University's Nature & Society Forum.
There will be time for questions and discussion.
Charles Darwin (b. 12 Feb 1809) whose promulgation of the Theory of Evolution, or descent with modification through natural selection, has had as profound an effect on how we view and understand the natural world as any other scientific theory ever proposed. He opined that people who could not see how gradual evolutionary change over vast stretches of time could produce the amazing varieties and form of life suffered from a "failure of imaginations". An underlying objective of these Darwin Days for students is to present scientific evidence to help our imaginations so we need not have to fall back on such notions as "intelligent design".
Notes to teachers
Some key points from the article: Darwin introduced historicity into science (chemistry and physics do not have this character); he rejected all supernatural explanations; he refuted typology or essentialism -which says living things are invariant and stable, they are not; variation characterises living things, refutation of typology amounts to refutation of racism amongst other things...
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