|Sent on:||Tuesday, February 7, 2012 7:21 AM|
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There were a lot of Fundamentalists who latched onto Professor Michael Rampino’s “revision” of Darwin’s theories of evolution last year in the hopes that, at last, someone had discovered that Darwin is wrong. It was the Fundie dream: Science would finally admit that god created each and every creature!
Alas, the Fundies were disappointed. Prof. Rampino believes that Darwin is 100% right--it’s just that his “Origin of Species” does not cover one additional cause of evolution: catastrophic extinctions.
Darwin deals with the classical idea of evolution that happens slowly and gradually. “Catastrophic evolution is completely different,” says Prof. Rampino. “It says that every so often some big catastrophe happens and the forms of life become extinct over a very, very short period of time. These catastrophes wipe out up to 95 percent of the species and then all the ecological niches that those species were in are open and a new species can evolve.
Extinction Important in Evolution
“So extinction may be a very important process in evolution,” notes the New York University professor. “Much more so than Darwin had thought when he wrote The Origins.”
Fossil records show that there have been at least five such extinctions in the history of the earth. What caused them? “We know that the one in which dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago was caused by the impact or a large asteroid or comet,” Prof. Rampino notes. “The others are all question marks.”
Rampino believes that we are causing a mass extinction at the present time as species become extinct in various parts of the world due to human activities like deforestation and climate change. “Once the species go, they are not coming back. Extinction is forever,” he says.
Professor Rampino, who teaches geology, the history and evolution of the earth and environmental science at NYU, received his doctorate at Columbia University. He did post-doctorate studies at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and worked there for a number of years before joining NYU in 1985.
Hear The Latest in Science Developments
Come on Sunday to hear the brilliant Dr. Rampino, a renowned speaker, in NYC Atheists’ outstanding series of lectures to keep Atheists on top of current scientific discoveries.
NYCA brings you the best, the newest, the tops, and we are fortunate to have this foremost evolutionary geologist with us to start our series this year.
Come, in this month that celebrates the birth of Darwin, to hear how science marches on and builds on scientific theories established previously.
COST: BRUNCH is $20, which includes a selection of
Buffet Entrees, salad, one soft drink, coffee, tax and tip.