Category Archives: Darwin

Larry Moran Reread The Origin

It’s been a great pleasure to read the Origin of Specie … I had forgotten how clever Darwin was and how he carefully weighs his arguments for evolution.

I had also fallen prey to several myths about the book. For example, I didn’t realize that Origin of Species is all about speciation and the difference between species and varieties.

Go read all about it. Very much worth a look.

Darwin Year Panel Discussion, Sunday in the Twin Cities

Feb 15 – Darwin Year Panel Discussion Featuring Myers, Laden, Moore, Cotner and Phillips

2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origins of Species. In honor of this, we have assembled a distinguished panel of scientists to give us their thoughts on evolution, creationism, and Darwin. The panelists are: PZ Myers, Randy Moore, Greg Laden, Sehoya Cotner, and Jane Phillips.

The discussion will be moderated by Lynn Fellman. Lynn is a frequent science interviewer on our Atheists Talk radio program. She is also an independent artist and designer (FellmanStudio.com) who incorporates science into her work.

This event is free and open to the public.

Location:
Rondo Community Outreach Library
461 N Dale St
Saint Paul, MN 55103
651-266-7400

Minnesota Atheists Feburary Membership Meeting

February 15, 2009

1:00-1:15 p.m. – Social time.
1:15-1:45 p.m. – MNA business meeting, including annual elections.
1:45-2:00 p.m. – Social time.
2:00-3:00 p.m. – Panel discussion.
3:00-3:30 p.m. – Social time.
4:00 p.m. – Dinner at a nearby restaurant.


Mn Atheist Web Site

Darwin’s Birthday Gallup Poll on “Belief in Evolution”

The Gallup Poll is not surprising in any of its results but it is, of course, alarming and interesting. Here’s a summary.

On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, a new Gallup Poll shows that only 39% of Americans say they “believe in the theory of evolution,” while a quarter say they do not believe in the theory, and another 36% don’t have an opinion either way. These attitudes are strongly related to education and, to an even greater degree, religiosity.

The data:
Believe in evolution 39%
Do not believe in evolutoin 25%
No opinon either way 36%

Not surprisingly, education level has a strong effect on tresponse. Have a look at this graph:

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The good news:

Younger Americans, who are less likely to be religious than those who are older, are also more likely to believe in evolution. Still, just about half of those aged 18 to 34 say they believe in evolution.

Well, not great news, but good news.

In answer to the question “Can you tell me with which scientific theory Charles Darwin is associated?” only a little over half knew. That was asked before all the other questions. And, knowing or not knowing the answer to that question went way way up with higher education levels, not surprisingly.

The poll reporters conclude:

As Darwin is being lauded as one of the most important scientists in history on the 200th anniversary of his birth (on Feb. 12, 1809), it is perhaps dismaying to scientists who study and respect his work to see that well less than half of Americans today say they believe in the theory of evolution, and that just 55% can associate the man with his theory.

… Americans who have lower levels of formal education are significantly less likely than others to be able to identity Darwin with his theory, and to have an opinion on it either way. Still, the evidence is clear that even to this day, Americans’ religious beliefs are a significant predictor of their attitudes toward Darwin’s theory….

h/t: Stranger Fruit

President Obama on Darwin’s Birthday

… and some other guy …

You must go to just after six minutes 20 second. And then it’s like, one second long. But there is is.

Quiz: Who first and most consistently against slavery, Lincoln or Darwin?

Pagel on Darwin

ResearchBlogging.orgMark Pagel, evolutionary theorist extraordinaire, has published an Insight piece in Nature on Natural selection 150 years on. Pagel, well known for myriad projects in natural selecition theory and adaptation, and for developing with Harvey the widely used statistical phylogenetic method (and for being a reader of my thesis) wishes Charles Darwin a happy 200th birthday, and assesses this question:

How has Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection fared over the last 150 years, and what needs to be done to bring this theoretical approach to bear as we increasingly examine complex systems, including human society?
Continue reading Pagel on Darwin

Elephants and Horses

In 1833, Darwin spent a fair amount of time on the East Coast of South America, including in the Pampas, where he had access to abundant fossil material. Here I’d like to examine his writings about some of the megafauna, including Toxodon, Mastodon, and horses, and his further considerations of biogeography and evolution.

Continue reading Elephants and Horses

Fossil Quadrupeds

Charles Darwin wrote a book called Geological Observations on South America. Since Fitzroy needed to carry out intensive and extensive coastal mapping in South America, and Darwin was, at heart, a geologist more than anything else (at least during the Beagle’s voyage), this meant that Darwin would become the world’s expert on South American geology. Much of The Voyage is about his expeditions and observations. Part of this, of course, was figuring out the paleontology of the region.
Continue reading Fossil Quadrupeds

Darwin Day Party

Thursday, February 12, 2009, 7 to 9 p.m.
Bell Museum Auditorium
$10/ free to museum members and University students

The speakers will present in the auditorium from 7 to 8 pm. Birthday cake and refreshments are served after the presentations.

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday! Part of a world wide celebration, the Twin Cities’ version is at The Bell Museum of Natural History this Thursday night. Join in the fun with cake, drinks and presentations by U of M scientists and educators. They will present funny, outrageous and controversial rapid-fire, media-rich presentations about Darwin and evolution. From the big bang to the human genome, hear the newest research and controversy on evolution and Darwin. The presenters are:

Keith Olive

Mark Decker

Sehoya Cotner

Greg Laden

Mark Borrello

Click here for more information about the Bell Museum

Click here to connect to these events on Facebook

Also Opening on February 12th: Frans Lanting Photographs: The University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History is proud to host the North American premiere of this internationally acclaimed exhibit. LIFE: A Journey Through Time, interprets the evolution of life on Earth through photographer Frans Lanting. Lanting’s lyrical photos trace Earth’s history from the beginnings of primordial life to the ascent of mammals through otherworldly landscapes and breathtakingly intimate portraits of animals and plants engaged in million-year-old rituals. Many of the exhibit’s 62 photographs are matched with real animal, fossil, and plant specimens from the Bell Museum’s collection. Born in the Netherlands, Lanting serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer and has received the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.

Also Opening on February 12th: Lynn Fellman’s DNA Portraits: The expanding field of genographics uses genetic markers to trace the patterns of human migration from our common origin in Africa. Recent advances in genetic research has spurred Minneapolis artist Lynn Fellman’s imagination – she’s taken the science to an art form by combining maps, DNA sequence data, and colorful graphics to create stylized portraits as a way to visualize one’s deep ancestry. This exhibit features a sampling of her portraits, as well as a series of panels and banners that explain the science behind her art.