Jan. 31st Repeat: What Newer DNA Evidence is Telling Us About Evolution

Special Topic: a talk by Dr. Jon Peters (BS-Zoology, MS-Biology, MD) entitled "The Other Fossil Record: What Newer DNA Findings are Telling us about Evolution." Dr. Peters' talk will show how strong the DNA evidence for evolution really is, in a way that makes some very technical information understandable to lay people.  Due to the overwhelming response to the meetup on this topic Monday, January 14, 2013, this repeat performance is being held to accommodate those who could not attend then.  A few quotes cited by Dr. Peters to spark your interest:

1. "The new DNA evidence has a very important role beyond illuminating the process of evolution. It could be decisive in the ongoing struggle over the teaching of evolution in schools and the acceptance of evolution in the society at large. It is beyond ironic to ask juries to rely on human genetic variation and DNA evidence in determining the life and liberty of suspects, but to neglect or to undermine the teaching of the basic principles upon which such evidence, and all of biology, is founded." (Sean Carrol, "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution," 2006)

2. "I have some information that will surprise you. For the past 15 years scientists have been using cutting edge technology to investigate your family history. We've been delving into your distant past and we've discovered an incredible secret...What if I told you scientists have discovered a time machine, a portal that has allowed us to see back into ancient history...Inside this tiny crimson drop is the greatest history book ever written. It's the story of a journey, the journey of our species and each of us is carrying a unique chapter. But it's only in the last decade that we've discovered how to read these stories. A window on the past that archeologists could only dream of. A time machine hidden in our genes." (Spencer Wells)

3. "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." (Steven Hawking)

4. "The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true." (Carl Sagan)

This Meetup is sponsored by the Columbia Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It is free and open to everyone. We invite you to come, to learn and to share your ideas.

When you arrive, you may order food or drinks but there is no requirement that you do so. Then there is usually time for informal discussion with new friends.

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  • Marleen

    Dr. Peters gave a very well organized presentation that demonstrates that DNA analysis supports the Darwinian theory of evolution. It's amazing that the evidence that the paleontologists have found and documented matches up with the DNA analysis. Dr. Peters was very disturbed that the creationists do not believe the scientific evidence. I'm not surprised. Data is not going to change the mind of those who believe because of faith; no matter how compelling the evidence.

    February 1, 2013

  • Marie B.

    Very well organized and insightful presentation. Stellar.

    February 1, 2013

  • Jon P.

    This article shows the importance of what AU is doing for America:


    1 · January 31, 2013

  • Tim H.

    I'm curious. The Freedom From Religion meetup group just started. They are expected to be the local chapter for FFRF and FFRF has as it's mission the separation of Church and State - although they have a pretty militant Athiest bent. Do you welcome theists and atheists? Otherwise, the goals sound the same. Perhaps it's worth consideration of at least talking. Of course, this group has been around a lot longer than the newly formed FFRF. I'm looking forward to the meeting on Thursday. See you there.

    January 29, 2013

    • Bruce A.


      January 30, 2013

    • Bruce A.

      This Meetup is sponsored by the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), which welcomes people of all beliefs, including non-believers. You are right, there is an overlap and the two groups are often on the same side of issues. I attended the FFRF convention in Portland recently and was not surprised to see that they support/encourage non-belief. We don't. In fact, we don't spend much time talking about belief or non-belief. Instead, our focus is on laws that allow people to practice religion, or not. This is what we mean when we say we support freedom from religion.

      January 30, 2013

  • Chaline S.

    What time would you suggest people arrive, to be sure to get in (since this topic was sold out last time)?

    January 28, 2013

  • Nancy J

    Hi Bruce, Thursday Jan. 31 is a repeat of Jan.14 for those who were unable to attend due to so many interested? If that is the case, I should not attend. Please contact me at my personal email if it looks like there may be room for me (I could use a review) as the talk was certainly interesting

    January 25, 2013

  • Laurence R.

    How do I show that Lilly will also attend? She shares my e=mail address.

    January 21, 2013

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