More on the Future of Science Conference

We’re scheduled to interview Ian Tattersall and Daniel Dennett later this afternoon! (All of these interviews will be available in coming weeks on The Tech Museum of Innovation’s Understanding Genetics website.)

As I mentioned in my last post, Ian Tattersall is the curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He’s also the author of several books. I’ve been reading Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness, which is fascinating. Some of the subjects covered in the book he discussed in his presentation today, Patterns in human evolution and the human biological future, although, the aspects of human “future development” were new. As Tattersall presented this morning, with a large and mobile population there is no possibility for us as humans to evolve, “Change is indeed occurring today, at unprecedented rates; but it is doing so on the technological rather than on the biological level, involving our ongoing exploration of a biological capacity that already exists.”

I’m also looking forward to speaking with Daniel Dennett. His latest book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon has created a great deal of controversy. Dennett is the Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University and a Professor of Philosophy. I’m going to ask him about Breaking the Spell and about some of the issues surrounding evolution.

If you were wondering why we are focusing so much on evolution for a site on genetics (and human health), there is a great quote by Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

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