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Is Human Evolution Over?

Wednesday 15th October 2008 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00


Professor Steve Jones, FRS, Professor of Genetics, University College London seeks answers

Many people feel that, somehow, the human race is in decline: that modern civilisation means that the rigours of natural selection have been relaxed, that we have lost our ability to adapt to the environment.

Steve Jones told a capacity crowd of Friends and guests that many people feel that, somehow, the human race is in decline: that modern civilisation means that the rigours of natural selection have been relaxed, that we have lost our ability to adapt to the environment, and that some form of genetical dystopia is inevitable. Homo sapiens has certainly evolved rapidly over the past few thousand years in response to the changes brought by technology, and he argued that everything we know about the mechanism of evolution - mutation, natural selection, and random change in small populations - suggests that, in the developed world, and for the time being, evolution has more or less come to a stop.

Professor Steve Jones is one of the best known contemporary popular writers and speakers on evolution. His book In the blood explores, confirms and debunks some commonly held beliefs about inheritance and genetics. His writing shows a wry, sometimes rather dark, sense of humour. He insists that creationism is "anti science". In 1996 his writing won him the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize "for his numerous, wide ranging contributions to the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation through his many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, popular science books, and his regular science column in The Daily Telegraph and contributions to other newspaper media". Steve was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, and has degrees from the University of Edinburgh and University of Chicago. Much of his research has been concerned with snails and the light their anatomy can shed on bio-diversity and genetics. His book In the Blood explores, confirms and debunks some commonly held beliefs about inheritance and genetics. Topics he has explored include issues as diverse as "lost tribes", European royal families, and haemophilia. Professor Jones is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association. He was awarded the second Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year by the National Secular Society on 7 October 2006. Jones has stated that creationism is "anti-science" and criticised creationists such as Ken Ham. Jones suggested in a BBC Radio Ulster interview in 2006 that Creationists should be disallowed from being medical doctors because "all of its (Creationism's) claims fly in the face of the whole of science" and he further claimed that no serious biologist can believe in biblical creation.

Order a copy of Steve Jones' latest book Coral and get it signed by the author. Click on the book cover below. Ten per cent of sales value are remitted to Friends.

Venue: Imperial College