Thursday, October 01, 2009

Symposium on Evolution by NLM/NIH

The National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health will be hosting a symposium on evolution. The announcement appears on the NLM page and states, in part:

Darwin may have finished the page proofs, but the process of persuading scientists and the public about evolution had just begun. Darwin pieced together evidence for his theory of natural selection from many sources, including studies of domestic breeding, anatomical similarities among species ("homology"), embryology, the sequential order of fossils, and the presence of vestigial organs. Bur whether this evidence ever constituted "proof" of evolution was questioned at the time and remains unsettled today, in part because of broader cultural and religious concerns about evolution. The "proofs" were far from finished in 1859.

This symposium brings together a line-up of internationally-renowned scholars, representing a cross section of disciplines, who will discuss historical, philosophical and scientific perspectives on Darwin and evolution. It has two general aims. First, it seeks to trace the different ways in which evolution has been understood in this period, and how these ways of understanding related to the changing basis of scientific evidence on evolution. Second, it seeks to explain why scientific "proofs" of Darwinian evolution have been unpersuasive to many individuals, including those who promote creationism and intelligent design. The speakers' perspectives on evolution have raised important questions about the nature of the evidence in favor of evolution, and the relationship between proof and belief. Put another way, a focus on Darwin's critics and supporters can illuminate the many ways in which "proof" has been understood in the last 150 years.

If you are in the Rockville area, stop by today.

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  1. Out of interest, have you ever read Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of the Human Fossils by Marvin Lubenow? I was wondering what your views on it as a palaeoanthropologist were. Do you have any relevant articles that you have written about the hominid fossil record and human evolution?

  2. I have. Here is a post on the subject. I found the book to be maddening because it became clear that he either knew nothing about how evolution proceeds or intended to learn nothing about it. There were moments of just plain ignorance and moments where it was difficult to believe he was not being deceptive and dishonest. Aside from the observations that I make in the post, I have pages and pages of notes about the book that I would like to try to turn into an article. The problem there is that the book is not new anymore (2004) so I don't know what sort of response it would engender. I would, in no way, recommend this book to anyone. That help?

  3. Ted, send me your email and I will send you an article that I wrote about the hominid fossil record.

  4. It's .

    Thanks in advance.