Evolution: Whose responsibility is it?

Date & Time

Wed, 02/04/2009
5:30pm-7:00pm

Overview

February 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, an anniversary that will be marked by numerous discussions about his work, which served as a basis for much of what we now understand as the theory of evolution. For the scientific community, evolution is not a questionable proposition, but it in fact is at the core of our understanding of biology. Scientific consensus about evolutionary theory remains as robust as for nearly any scientific theory. However, the debate about including evolution in science education continues.

· What is the reason for this apparent disconnect?
· Whose responsibility is it to bridge the gap between science and science policy?

Speaker

Tom Deméré
Department of Paleontology at the San Diego Natural History Museum

As Curator of Paleontology, Dr. Deméré has occupied the Joshua L. Baily, Jr. Chair of Paleontology at the Museum since 1994. Tom’s research focuses on the evolutionary history and paleobiology of pinnipeds and cetaceans. He is also keenly interested in the geology and paleontology of southern California and Baja California and has published numerous scientific and popular articles on these subjects.

Tom also serves as Director of PaleoServices, a consulting arm of the BRCC that provides paleontological resource assessment and impact mitigation services to public and private developers. This work has been responsible for the discovery, salvage, and conservation of thousands of significant fossils from construction sites in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties

Jon Cohen
“Science Magazine” Writer

Jon Cohen is a correspondent with Science, and also has written for the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Outside, Slate, Technology Review, Discover, the Washington Post, New Republic, Glamour, Surfer, and other publications. He has written two books, Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine (W.W. Norton, 2001), and Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage (Houghton Mifflin, 2005). He currently is working on a book that will examine how new research is redrawing the dividing line between humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos (Henry Holt).

Cohen began writing for Science in 1990. He has done extensive packages for the magazine about HIV/AIDS in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as routinely covering the research and response to the epidemic in the more developed regions of North America, Europe, and Australia. He earned a B.A. in 1981 from the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in science writing.

Mark Wheeler
SDSU

Mark Wheeler is currently chairman of the department of philosophy at San Diego State University. Professor Wheeler’s research primarily focuses on the ontological presuppositions of science—i.e., what must exist if our scientific theories are true—and is particularly interested in the nature of biological species. Professor Wheeler received his B.A. in philosophy from Colgate University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester.