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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Lecture series inspects evolution

    Everything from intelligent design and HIV to the big-bang theory will be explored in a seven-lecture series about evolution that kicked off this week.

    Joanna Masel packed the house with the first lecture Tuesday night, debating the usage of the terms “”fact”” versus “”theory”” with evolution and examining how it compares to intelligent design.

    Several hundred UA students, faculty, staff and community members attended the first of the lecture series, which is sponsored by Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science.

    “”We were turning people away at the door,”” said Mike Sadatmousavi, a business freshman and student worker at the College of Science.

    Masel, an assistant ecology and evolutionary biology professor, explored what the theory of evolution is, common misconceptions about

    Lecture schedule

    Tuesday, March 7
    Cosmic Evolution: From Big Bang to Biology
    Chris Impey, distinguished professor
    of astronomy
    Tuesday, March 21
    Earth Evolution: The Formation of Our Planet
    Joaquin Ruiz, dean of College of Science and geosciences professor
    Tuesday, March 28
    Social Evolution: Cooperation and
    Conflict from Molecules to Society
    Rick Michod, evolutionary biology professor
    Tuesday, April 11
    Animal Evolution: Recycling Ancient Genes for New Uses
    Lisa Nagy, molecular and cellular biology
    assistant professor
    Tuesday, April 18
    Human Evolution: Tracing Our Origins
    with DNA
    Michael Hammer, research scientist
    Tuesday, April 25
    Disease Evolution: The Example of HIV
    Michael Worobey, ecology and
    evolutionary biology assistant professor

    it and what the role of chance is in evolution.

    “”People saying that evolution is just a theory is a funny sort of insult,”” Masel said. “”A theory is the best thing you can have in science.””

    Masel said evolution is a fact, and that there is an enormous amount of direct evidence to support it.

    “”If people are going to be opposed to something, they should know what it is first,”” Masel said. “”Anti-evolutionists use people’s misconceptions about evolution to exploit them.””

    Intelligent design and the coexistence of evolution and religion were hot topics at Masel’s lecture.

    “”You can still be religious and believe in evolution,”” Masel said. “”The (anti-evolutionists) want to make it a battle between science and religion.””

    Masel said she encourages people to come to the lectures regardless of their beliefs and maybe if they just want to know what the fuss is about.

    “”We want to educate people about what we’re debating,”” Masel said. “”We should be discussing this as a society from the position of knowledge, not ignorance. People can come and make up their own mind.””

    Trish Wheeler, a general biology graduate student, said the lecture was “”fantastic,”” and said she plans to attend the remaining six.

    “”I appreciated how conscientious she was to really discuss the nature of science and how it fits the topic of evolution,”” Wheeler said.

    Wheeler said the lecture series could be valuable in discovering opportunities in the science field.

    “”Regardless of people’s beliefs, this whole presentation series will broaden their views on science,”” Wheeler said.

    The lecture series is designed to explore various aspects of evolution and demonstrate how it represents reality, according to the UA College of Science brochure.

    All the lectures are scheduled to be in the Center for Creative Photography Auditorium at 7 p.m., and are free to the public.

    For those who can’t make it to the lecture, a podcast recording will be available after each lecture at http://cos.arizona.edu/evolution.

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