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.