Darwin's legacy and his impact on the social sciences
Speakers: Kevin Padian and Jon Elster
"Darwin's Enduring Legacy ... and some enduring myths."
Abstract: Although Charles Darwin is the greatest biologist of all time, he is also the most misunderstood and reviled in some quarters. We will look at how pervasive and enduring Darwin's contributions are, as well as some common myths that persist in textbooks and common thought.
Kevin Padian is a Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. His area of interest is in vertebrate evolution, especially the origins of flight and the evolution of birds. Kevin Padian was one of the key expert witnesses in the "Intelligent Design trial" Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in USA in 2005. (Wikipedia, Home page)
"Darwin's impact on the social sciences"
Abstract: Darwin and his successors proposed an explanatory scheme that rested on two mechanisms: blind variation and equally blind selection. By “blind variation” I mean random variation. By “blind selection” I mean non-intentional selection. The outcome of these two mechanisms is a form of optimizing. The purpose of this talk is to examine how the social sciences might either use or extend this paradigm to explain behavior.
Jon Elster is a philosopher and Professor of Social Sciences at Columbia University. He is also a researcher at the Centre for the Study of Civil War at the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Oslo. (Wikipedia, Columbia University).