Darwin's 'On The Origin of Species' with Dr. Anil Antony

Darwin's 'On The Origin of Species' with Dr. Anil Antony


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There are few books that change the world and even fewer that do so within the lifetime of their author, but Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species is one of those works. This Conversation, part of a new Context series on science, surveys Darwin’s original theory of evolution, how it developed during Darwin’s lifetime and since, and cultural reactions to it into the present day.

On the Origin of Species, published in 1859 after a twenty-year delay, introduced the world to the modern theory of evolution. Prior to this point, in the Western world, the question of how the diversity of nature came to be was one for Christian theologians and philosophers. Nonetheless, the story of the introduction and acceptance of the theory of evolution is one that includes not only Darwin, but Russell Wallace, who finally convinced him to publish, and Thomas Huxley, who became the new theory’s most prominent public defender.

This Conversation will discuss Darwin’s 1831 journey to the Galápagos Islands on the famous H.M.S. Beagle, and how what he saw on a small group of volcanic islands grew into an explanation of the diversity of all life on earth. In 1882, Darwin published The Descent of Man, which discussed the evolution of human beings specifically. This Conversation will discuss Darwin’s original theory, how he continually improved it during his lifetime, and how it has developed since then, including the later discoveries that supported it of which Darwin could not have had any knowledge. We will also survey modern cultural responses to evolution, including creationism, which has the most impact in the U.S. but which is found in other countries, as well.

Led by Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony, an expert with a PhD in cell and developmental biology, this interactive seminar will examine Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. Designed to inform as well as educate, participants will emerge with a more in-depth understanding of the importance of Darwin, his research, and his legacy.

Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony is an assistant director of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer research organization. He holds a PhD in Cell and Developmental biology and a lifelong interest in the history and culture of south India. Born in the Muslim-majority United Arab Emirates to an Anglo-Indian Catholic family and trained by a Hindu tantric in Kerala, he has direct experience of all three major Keralite religious traditions.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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