I’m sorry to say I’m not doing any Darwin-Day presentations this year. That’s too bad too. I really enjoy those. For three years in a row, I had the honor of being keynote speaker in James Randi’s group in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Here I am posing with the 205 year-old birthday boy.
There’s a very good Darwin Day event going on tonight (Wednesday Feb 12th) in London. I so wish I could attend! Dr. Alice Roberts is on my A-list of people to meet (along with Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson). I would love to have her on our show, Dogma Debate on iHeart Radio for just twenty minutes over a Skype call, but she’s always on the go, filming excellent science documentaries all around the world.
On this occasion, she’s giving an anthropological lecture, and sharing the stage with Prof. Richard Dawkins.
If tickets are still available, here is the link:
Darwin Day Lecture: How to Make a Human.
If you do get tickets, let me know, and tell her I sent you.
5 thoughts on “Happy B-day, Chuckie D.”
Apologies for being pedantic but Doctor Alice Roberts has been promoted. She is now Professor Alice Roberts. She is a regular on television and radio over here in the United Kingdom and a great science educator too. She recently visited a Creationist Zoo. There was a time when this nonsense was only to be found in America but now they are here also. Sad but true as Metallica might say. So the fight against scientific ignorance has to carry on regardless. Two other great scientific educators are Professors Brian Cox and Jim Al Khalili who are also regulars on television and radio over here. My favourite from your side of the water is Laurence Krauss. Also a great educator with a wonderful sense of humour to match
I wonder why I hadn’t heard of Alice Roberts before now. I would guess it’s in part my fault, the websites / friends I have / the media in general.. And she hasn’t written books about how evil “God” is .. here’s the first video I found / checked out . .http://youtu.be/b5hypsSO9zQ :
In 2012, Alice Roberts was appointed as our first ever Professor of Public Engagement in Science. Alice’s role involves inspiring people to engage with the wide range of world-class research at the University of Birmingham, and ensuring a dialogue between our academics and the wider public.
Alice works with academics and researchers across the University and in addition carries out a range of academic duties such as lecturing undergraduate students and supervising PhD students in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
I couldn’t find another good way to contact you, so I hope it’s not too out of line to ask you some questions I have left after watching a number of your videos. Hopefully you’d find them interesting topics to write about, or at least simple enough to explain in a sentence. Either way!
One of the more common things I have to explain to creationists is that evolution does not make an animal stop being itself. Dogs will always be dogs, but they have the capacity to evolve into different species of dogs that could someday be distinct and infertile with other dogs. Likewise humans are still apes, still mammals, still synapsids, and still… fish? I lose track of things as we get further back.
Are modern fish distinct from tiktaalik’s immediate ancestors? If not, distinguishing between people and fish would be paraphyletic, correct, and my general impression of you is as a champion of monophyly. Could you explain the ways in which mammals are meaningfully “still fish?” Is it any more complicated than grouping everyone into chordata? Is trying to figure out which taxonomic classifications we share with tiktaalik just an exercise in showing the problems with Linnean taxonomy as opposed to cladistics?
More generally (and I think still related), were primitive animals somehow more adaptable? Put another way, could evolution restart using things that have already evolved?
If you took the simplest sustainable ecosystem you could think of, say one modern plant, one modern insect, one modern omnivore to eat each of them, and one modern carnivore to eat the omnivore, and left them on Earth-2 for a billion years – how diverse would you expect Earth-2 to be when you revisited? Certainly you’d find new species of that carnivore, but would you find creatures we’d consider a new taxonomic class, order, or family? If your carnivore was a bobcat, would you expect lion-sized cats and whale-sized sea-cats but not scaled fish?
Just some of the concepts I’m trying to wrap my head around.
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