In the 1990s, a scientist deemed Feb. 12 International Darwin Day, a time for people to reflect on “the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking and hunger for truth.”
Leading up to Feb. 12, which is Charles Darwin’s birthday, events around the globe will explore scientific contributions to humanity. Among them is the seventh annual Darwin on the Palouse on Friday night. This year’s event features PZ Myers, author of the popular science blog “Pharyngula.” Science magazine ranked him among the top 50 science stars of Twitter in 2014. The event also features Hanna LoRene Smith, a doctoral candidate at the University of Idaho, speaking about climate change and a concert by Australian musician Shelley Segal.
Here’s what the night will include:
Myers is an outspoken biology professor at the University of Minnesota at Morris. On his blog “Pharyngula” he applies a scientific spin, and sharp wit, to current events; critiques pseudoscience; and posts photos of cephalopods. His talk Friday is titled “On the Edge of Evolution: A Critical Evaluation.”
“I’m going to be kind of a booster for more evolutionary developmental biology but raise some criticisms of current epigenetics,” said Myers in a phone interview from his office in Minnesota.
The talk will break down how we go from genes to bodies, he said. “People often have a very simplistic idea of how it works.” It will also sum up current evo-devo knowledge, promising developments and how it can be applied to everyday life.
“Just because you inherit a particular kind of gene doesn’t mean you are doomed,” Myers said. “There are things where your genes are going to affect how your body behaves there are other things that are going to modulate those affects.”
Hanna LoRene Smith
Hanna LoRene Smith, a doctoral candidate at the University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, will talk on “Living With Chaos: Finding Hope In The Anthropocene.” The Anthropocene is a proposed new epoch of geological time characterized by massive human impact on Earth. LoRene Smith’s research focuses on the resiliency of forest-based communities in the Pacific Northwest.
Segal is an Australian singer-songwriter, artist and activist. Her sound combines elements of jazz, folk, pop, reggae, electronica and blues. Her concert will follow the talks and question-and-answer sessions.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Darwin on the Palouse
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, doors open at 6
WHERE: Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main St., Moscow
OF NOTE: Beer and wine will be available from Hunga Dunga Brewing Company.