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Darwin Day Lecture - Human Evolution, Critical Thinking & the Concept of Self.

We welcome back Dr. Chris DiCarlo to elaborate on why, in his opinion, humans evolved along such a different path to the rest of life on the planet. The human brain is the product of millions of years of evolution. Through a process of natural selection, Darwinian forces have acted on the brain to produce a highly complex organ. Hard-wired patterns of behaviour selected millions of years ago remain today. This is the gist of evolutionary psychology, a discipline founded in the latter part of the 20th century which helps explain our success.  

The intellectual roots of critical thinking are as ancient as its etymology, traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practice and vision of Socrates 2,500 years ago who discovered by a method of probing questioning that people could not rationally justify their confident claims to knowledge. Confused meanings, inadequate evidence, or self-contradictory beliefs often lurked beneath smooth but largely empty rhetoric. Socrates established the fact that one cannot depend upon those in "authority" to have sound knowledge and insight. He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief.

Dr. Christopher DiCarlo is a philosopher, educator, and author. He currently teaches in the Faculties of Human Biology and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is also a lifetime member of Humanist Canada and an Expert Advisor for the Centre for Inquiry Canada.

He has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences and written many scholarly papers ranging from bioethics to cognitive evolution. His latest book entitled: How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions was released world-wide by Prometheus Press in August, 2011 and is currently in its fifth printing and is an international best-seller.

He is a past Visiting Research Scholar at Harvard University in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences: Department of Anthropology and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He is currently working on his latest book tentatively entitled: Flying Without A Pilot: A Determined Look at the Future of Ethics, Law, and the Value of Human Behavior.

In April, 2008 he was awarded TV Ontario’s Big Ideas Best Lecturer in Ontario Award.

In August, 2008, he was honoured with the Canadian Humanist of the Year Award from the Humanist Association of Canada.

In September, 2008, he was awarded the UOIT Complementary Faculty Teaching Award.

Dr. DiCarlo is the Principal of Critical Thinking Solutions, a consulting business for individuals, corporations, and not-for-profits in both the private and public sectors. He is also the developer of the first Pilot Project in Canada to introduce Universal Critical Thinking skills into the Ontario Public High School curriculum which has begun in the Upper Grand District School Board. These skills have since been developed into The Critical Thinking Project and have been adopted in Schools in Guatemala, Iran, Uganda, and China.

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  • Lynda

    well done


  • Sherif K.

    Great and informative

    1 · February 14

  • Dorle33

    A lot of information to digest. It would be helpful to have a portable microphone for "question period". Dr. DiCarlo did say that critical thinking skills are now being taught in high schools, that's very useful, I think.

    2 · February 14

  • Donald F.

    This was an excellent presentation; very interesting and informative. I suspect, however, that Dr. DiCarlo was "preaching" only to the "converted"; wouldn't it be great if we could get some "Young Earthers" to listen in.

    2 · February 13

  • Greg

    Hey Kevin!
    How many does the venue hold?
    I''d like to post this as an event that Grand River Atheists can attend as well.

    February 10

    • George C.

      According to the Mississauga Library website, the Noel Ryan Auditorium holds 244 seats.

      1 · February 10

    • Greg

      Thnx... posted in our GRA meetup...
      Looking forward to seeing you there!

      February 10

  • Kevin S.


    January 21

  • Douglas T.


    January 20

    • Donald F.

      Underground off Duke of York just north of Burnhamthorpe.

      January 20

No one went

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