Darwin Year

Tune In: Evidence, belief and evolution

Elliott Sober at SMUMost mainstream discussion of evolutionary theory versus belief in God assumes a fundamental conflict between the two views that does not exist, according to one philosopher. “It’s appropriate that people get exercised about this, because it’s an important question,” says Elliott Sober, the Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The professor of philosophy talked about how belief in God and evolution are related in “Darwin and Intelligent Design” at SMU April 13.

Sober’s 2008 book, Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science, has been called one of the most in-depth analyses of the relationship between statistical reasoning and evidence in evolutionary biology. He appeared as part of “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World,” SMU’s ongoing series of free, public lectures throughout 2009 celebrating Darwin’s 200th birth date and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal book, On the Origin of Species.

Watch Sober’s lecture courtesy of SMU News:

Part 1 video
Part 2 video

By | 2009-05-01T12:40:55+00:00 May 1, 2009|Categories: Tune In|Tags: , , , |

Darwin Year continues with ‘Darwin on Intelligent Design’

Elliott SoberBiological philosopher Elliott Sober will speak on “Charles Darwin and Intelligent Design” at 5 p.m. April 13 in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium.

Sober, the Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, appears as part of “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.” The University is presenting an ongoing series of free, public lectures throughout 2009 celebrating Darwin’s 200th birth date and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal book, On the Origin of Species.

Sober’s 2008 book, Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science, has been called one of the most in-depth analyses of the relationship between statistical reasoning and evidence in evolutionary biology.

Visit the “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy” website

Calendar Highlights: March 2, 2009

headshot_amity.jpgLooking back to look forward: The Spring 2009 O’Neil Lecture in Business Journalism presents a timely and provocative look at the New Deal. Author and expert in economic history Amity Shlaes will discuss the New Deal – what it did or didn’t do to revive America, and the lessons it holds for today. Shlaes will compare past efforts to the current Obama administration’s attempt to revive the U.S. economy in “Edifice Complex, 1936 and 2009: What the Great Depression Teaches About Building an Economy on Infrastructure” at 3:30 p.m. March 2 in Crum Auditorium, Collins Executive Education Center. The event is free and open to all.

ballet.jpgBallet at lunchtime: Students in the Meadows Division of Dance present lunchtime performances of 10-15 original short ballet, modern and jazz works in the Spring 2009 Brown Bag Dance Series, running from March 2-6 with performances at noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. All performances will be held in the Bob Hope Lobby, Owen Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 214-768-2718.

Miguel1.jpgShared border, common interests: Clements Center Fellow Miguel Ángel González Quiroga discusses perception vs. reality in the history of border race relations in a Clements Center Brown Bag Lecture, “Conflict and Commonality in the Texas-Mexico Border Region, 1830-1880,” at noon March 3 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Bring your lunch.

Alone in the vault: The DeGolyer Library presents author, printer and bookseller Tom Taylor and “Alone in the Vault: An Initiation into the Bibliophilic Mysteries.” The lecture will take place 6:30 p.m. March 5 in the Stanley Marcus Reading Room, DeGolyer Library. A reception precedes the lecture at 6 p.m. in the Texana Room. The event is free and open to the public, registration is required.

1855_DarwinTHUMB_CC184a.jpgWhere we came from: Biologist Sean B. Carroll, who uses DNA evidence collected from modern animals to study ancient evolution, will lecture on “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species” at 5 p.m. March 5 in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall. The event is part of SMU’s series “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.”

Celebrating Darwin’s legacy: Theodore Walker Jr., associate professor of ethics and society at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, will speak on “Methodist Perspectives on Darwin and Creation Through Evolution” as part of the Perkins Theological School for the Laity. He will speak between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. March 7 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The event is part of SMU’s series “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.” For more information, contact Pia Vogel or call 214-768-1790.

Afro-Cuban All StarsIn McFarlin Auditorium:

March 7: TITAS presents Juan de Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All Stars at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 214-528-5576.

Compiled by Theresa Nelson (’09.)

Tune In: Squishy bugs and scientific curiosity

Christina PaulsonChristina Paulson (left), a biology graduate student in SMU’s Dedman College, talked about the impact of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution on her life and work as part of the University’s celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday Feb. 12, 2009. Paulson told of her own, humorous introduction to Darwin in 5th grade (“As a 10-year-old, the message I took home … was not to put beetles in my mouth”). She also talked about how “the desperate passion and curiosity that Darwin felt for science” has affected her own research, in which she studies a species of small worm to explore ways to treat illnesses and diseases in humans.

Find a transcript and SMU News video at the Darwin’s Evolving Legacy website video

By | 2009-02-26T14:52:50+00:00 February 26, 2009|Categories: Tune In|Tags: , , , , |

Francisco Ayala discusses evolution’s history Feb. 20

Francisco AyalaFormer Dominican priest and National Medal of Science winner Francisco Ayala will speak on the science and history of Darwin’s theory of evolution at 5 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Ayala is an acclaimed evolutionary biologist at the University of California-Irvine and the author of Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion. His talk is part of the series “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.”

Visit SMU’s “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy” website

Tune In: Evolutionary psychologist discusses how humans mate

David BussOn Jan. 26, 2009, nationally renowned evolutionary psychologist David Buss spoke at SMU on how the very different ways men and women pursue each other stem from thousands of years of human evolution. Buss came to the University as part of “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World,” SMU’s year-long celebration of Charles Darwin’s bicentennial. See SMU News video of Buss’ lecture in two parts:

David Buss: Strategies of Human Mating, Part 1 video
David Buss: Strategies of Human Mating, Part 2 video

By | 2009-02-12T14:35:35+00:00 February 12, 2009|Categories: Tune In|Tags: , , , , |

Celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday Feb. 12

Charles DarwinCharles Robert Darwin, author of the groundbreaking scientific classic On the Origin of Species, was born in 1809 in the small market town of Shrewsbury, England. SMU is celebrating the anniversary year of his birth with events, panel discussions and lectures, including the following on his birth date, Feb. 12:

  • A birthday cake reception from 4-5 p.m. in the Dallas Hall Reading Room. SMU faculty and graduate students will give testimonies on how Darwin’s legacy has affected their particular field or research. Refreshments will be provided.
  • A seminar by Fred Grinnell, professor of cell biology at UT-Southwestern Medical Center, on “Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic” at 5 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The seminar will be followed by a signing of his new book with the same title.
  • A screening of the original 1960 film version of “Inherit the Wind” starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly, presented by the Department of Cinema and Television in Meadows School of Arts. The movie – based on the real-life case in which William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow argued the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution – begins at 5:30 p.m. in Room 3531, Greer Garson Theatre.

Visit SMU’s website for “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy”
Find Darwin’s complete works online

Evolution and the mating game

Evolutionary psychologist David BussEvolutionary psychologist David Buss says the very different ways that men and women pursue each other today stem from thousands of years of human evolution. Buss will speak on “Strategies of Human Mating” at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Buss, head of the Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology program at UT-Austin, will discuss how jealousy, dating and mating are products of evolutionary needs. He is the author of such books as Sex, Power, Conflict: Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives and The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Pia Vogel, 214-786-1790.

Visit the website for “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World”

By | 2009-01-22T14:08:28+00:00 January 22, 2009|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|Tags: , , , |

2009 marks milestone in ‘Darwin’s Evolving Legacy’

Charles Darwin, painted by George Richmond, 1830sWhen Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the way we view the world and our place in it changed. Throughout 2009, SMU will celebrate the 150th anniversary of this seminal book and the 200th birthday of the extraordinary man who wrote it through a series of lectures, exhibits and presentations.

Departments and schools across the University are participating in a coordinated program of events that will address evolution’s contributions under the title “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy: Celebrating Ideas That Shape Our World.”

“It’s hard to imagine any branch of science that has not been advanced by Charles Darwin’s work,” says Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As the evolution of SMU continues into its second century, it is fitting to recognize the intellectual achievement found in Darwin’s writings.”

Ludden notes that SMU is privileged to hold many early volumes and editions of Darwin’s groundbreaking work in the DeGolyer Library Special Collections that will be displayed during the 150th anniversary of the book’s first publication year.

Evolutionary psychologist David Buss will open the year’s events with a lecture on “The Strategies of Human Mating” from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom. Buss says the very different ways that men and women pursue each other today stem from thousands of years of human evolution. Ancient adaptations were keyed to successful reproduction and survival, he says, but still give rise to jealousy, stalking and even homicide.

A complete list of confirmed events for 2009 is available online. Learn more at the Darwin’s Evolving Legacy website. (Left, Charles Darwin as painted by George Richmond in the 1830s.)

By | 2008-12-18T14:23:34+00:00 December 18, 2008|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 17, 2008

Elemental music: Guest conductor Nicolás Pasquet of the Liszt Hochschule in Weimar, Germany, leads the Meadows Symphony Orchestra in “The Elements: Water” – a program featuring Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Debussy’s La Mer and Premiere Rhapsody, Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, and Smetana’s The Moldau. The program debuts at 8 p.m. Oct. 17 and repeats Oct. 19 at 3 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

Seymour Island, AustraliaElection reflection: SMU Political Science Professors Cal Jillson, Dennis Simon and Harold Stanley will survey the political landscape and analyze the 2008 primary and general election campaigns in “Road to the White House 2008,” presented by SMU’s Godbey Lecture Series. The series begins Oct. 20 and repeats on consecutive Mondays through Nov. 10. Lecture at 11 a.m., lunch at noon each day at Maggiano’s North Park Center. Cost is $163 for members, $193 for nonmembers. Register online or call 8-2532.

Darwin Year preview: Earth Sciences Professor Louis Jacobs will discuss his fossil research in places ranging from St. Bart’s to Seymour Island, Antarctica, in the Godbey Lecture Series‘ “Islands and Life” – a preview of SMU’s 2009 event “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy.” The program takes place Oct. 22 in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. A 5:30 p.m. wine reception precedes the 6 p.m. lecture. Tickets are $45 for members and $70 for nonmembers. Register online or call 8-2532. (Top right, Seymour Island as photographed by graduate student researcher and blogger Chris Strganac.)

Make a racket: The Stanford Championships tennis tournament comes to SMU Oct. 22-Oct. 26 in the Turpin Tennis Center. Eight legendary names in men’s tennis, including Boris Becker, Jim Courier and Mark Philippoussis, compete for the title and $150,000 in prize money. In addition, Anna Kournikova will compete in Mixed Doubles matches. Tickets are available at www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or call 877-332-TIXX (8499).

Coming of age: The Hughes-Trigg Student Center celebrates its 21st birthday with a “responsible celebration” Oct. 23. Stop by the Student Center for cake, fun and games.

M.L.S. information session: Learn more about SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program at an information session 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in Human Resources Training Room #208, Expressway Tower, 6116 N. Central Expy. Refreshments will be provided. RSVP to the M.L.S. program.

Lar Lubovitch Dance CompanyIn McFarlin Auditorium:

  • Oct. 17-18: TITAS presents the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (bottom right) in its 40th anniversary tour at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For tickets, call TITAS at
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