Meeting with Baltimore COR for Darwin Day
Time: February 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., with potluck beginning at 6:30 pm
Location: Baltimore Ethical Society, Baltimore, MD
If you're joining us for dinner, please tell us you're coming and what dish you'd like to bring here:
Speaker: Prof. Kevin Omland, UMBC, on “Sharing the Tree of Life With Our Cousins: The Fall of the Ladder of Progress”. One simplistic criticism of evolution by natural selection is that it cannot explain the evolution of complex organisms from simple organisms. In the 21st century, biologists are increasingly realizing that it is impossible to categorize some organisms as simple and others as complex. Old views of the evolutionary Tree of Life typically depicted life in an ordered "ladder of progress" with "simple" species at the bottom and most "complex" species at the top (typically considered by humans to be humans). Current views recognize that all present day are adapted to their particular niches, with no one species representing some pinnacle of evolution. Darwin would be delighted and amazed by how DNA sequences from an increasingly large number of species are now providing information on how all species on the planet are related to one another. Unlike misconceptions from back in the 1900s, evolutionary biology now recognizes that present day species are not descended from other present day species, rather we are all cousins.