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Coastal throws Darwin a birthday party on Sunday

February 6, 2006

Coastal Carolina University faculty will celebrate the 196th anniversary of Charles Darwins birth on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. with a lecture party in Wall Auditorium. The event is free, and the public is invited. Birthday cake will be served.

Five faculty members will discuss different aspects of Darwins theories and his legacy as one the greatest scientific minds of the 19th century. The presentations will be followed by an open question-and-answer period.

Darwin is widely known for his theory of evolution by natural selection, principles that form the basis for our modern understanding of biology. The event is sponsored by Teresa Burns, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, and Richard Collin, Palmetto professor of politics and geography.

Speakers include:

Richard Moore, professor of biology, The Evolution of Evolution

Many people think that Darwin invented the theory of evolution, but in fact other biologists and naturalists had long observed variations among individuals of the same species and had postulated that species evolved or changed over time was the first to provide a credible explanation of why and how the changes occurred.

Austin Hitt, assistant professor of education, What can an earthworm tell us about evolution?

While he is known for traveling to exotic places, one of the strongest examples of Darwins genius as a scientist is his observations of vegetable mold, earthworms and other mundane phenomena.

Wendy Hood, assistant professor of biology, Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

The most powerful scientific theories have the ability to organize and explain many seemingly disparate phenomena. Learn how the theory of evolution operates as the central organizing principle in biology.

Karen Aguirre, assistant professor of biology, Fast-Forward Darwin: Evolution and Immunity

Why do we need a new flu vaccine every year? Why are we concerned about viruses and bacteria becoming immune to our antibiotics? See how evolution takes place on the small scale, and how scientists use the predictive powers of the theory of evolution to stay ahead of disease.

Dennis Earl, teaching associate, Department of Philosophy, The Explanatory Powers of Evolutionary Theory

A correct scientific theory also provides the best explanations for the facts the theory claims to explain. Evolutionary theory is one of the best examples of this model of scientific theories, and of the use of scientific reason generally. Earl will also compare and contrast evolution against creationist-based models of scientific theory.

For more information, call 349-2712.