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Darwin Day Celebration

Advisory Board

The following professionals have agreed to serve as advisors to Darwin Day Celebration.

Patrick Bateson

A pioneer in Ethology (the biological study of behavior), Patrick Bateson is an Ethology professor at Cambridge University. With Cambridge lamb skins for education in Zoology (BA) and Animal Behavior (PhD), Batesons achievements include over a decade as the Director of Animal Behavior at Cambridge, authorship of Design for a Life : How Behavior and Personality Develop, his Harkness Fellowship at Stanford, editing and co-editing on several books.

Outside of his interests in Darwin and our goal for Darwin Day, Bateson is both a Fellow and the Biological Secretary of the Royal Society, as well as Provost of King's College, Cambridge.

William H. Calvin

A theoretical neurobiologist, Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, William Calvin is the author of 11 books, mostly for general readers, about brains and evolution including The Throwing Madonna The Cerebral Symphony, The River That Runs Uphill, The Cerebral Code, Conversations with Neil's Brain (with George Ojemann), and How Brains Think. His book with Derek Bickerton, Lingua ex Machina: Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human Brainwith, is about syntax. The latest, A Brain for All Seasons:  Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change, about paleoanthropology, paleoclimate, and considerations from neurobiology and evolutionary biology. It won the 2002 Phi Beta Kappa book award for science.

Helena Cronin

Helena Cronin is Co-Director of London School of Economic's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences, where she runs the wide ranging and successful program "Darwin@LSE". The program fosters research at the forefront of evolutionary theory.

She is the author of the best selling book; The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today, which was chosen as one of The New York Times' nine best books of the year for 1992.

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 2001, is a gifted writer, who is known for his popularization of Darwinian ideas as well as for original thinking on evolutionary theory. He has invented telling metaphors that illuminate the Darwinian debate: His book The Selfish Gene argues that genes — molecules of DNA — are the fundamental units of natural selection, the "replicators." Organisms, including ourselves, are "vehicles," the packaging for "replicators." The success or failure of replicators is based on their ability to build successful vehicles. There is a complementarity in the relationship: vehicles propagate their replicators, not themselves; replicators make vehicles. In The Extended Phenotype, he goes beyond the body to the family, the social group, the architecture, the environment that animals create, and sees these as part of the phenotype — the embodiment of the genes. He also takes a Darwinian view of culture, exemplified in his invention of the word "meme," the unit of cultural inheritance; memes are essentially ideas, and they, too, are operated on by natural selection.

Daniel C. Dennett

The philosopher Daniel C. Dennett is interested in consciousness, and his view of it, similar to that of Minsky, is as high-level, abstract thinking. He is known as the leading proponent of the computational smodel of the mind; he has clashed with philosophers such as John Searle who maintain that the most important aspects of consciousness — intentionality and subjective quality — can never be computed. He is the philosopher of choice of the AI community. In his more recent work, he has turned to what he calls "Darwin's dangerous idea"; he is squarely in the ultra-Darwinist camp of George C. Williams and Richard Dawkins, and he has with great energy mustered a serious critique of the scientific ideas of Stephen Jay Gould.

William Durham

William Durham is an eminent Professor of Anthropological Sciences at Stanford University, specializing in ecology and evolutionary theory. Besides numerous honors from his academic colleagues, he has been honored with the MacArthur Foundation's "genius award" Fellowship and numerous awards for exceptional teaching.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones is a highly regarded geneticist and snail biologist. He is interested in why so much diversity exists in animals and plants: why no two individuals are alike. Surely, it can be argued, natural selection should instead inevitably lead to the evolution of one perfect form for each species. He works on the striking variety of shell color and banding patterns in the land snail Cepaea nemoralis. Cepaea has been seen as an archetype of diversity since the nineteenth century. In the 1950s, the English biologists Arthur Cain and Phillip Sheppard argued that such apparently trivial differences were under the action of natural selection (in this case because birds would attack the conspicuous forms). Jones finds that climate is also involved and --- most important --- that differences in microclimate on the scale of a few inches can alter the behavior and survival of snails of different pattern. Ecologically complex habitats hence foster genetic diversity. Jones has been writing and lecturing about science to a general audience for fifteen years.

Robin McKie

Robin Mckie is a Science writer at The Observer. An author of numerous books, including African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity, and The Book of Man: The Human Genome Project and the Quest to Discover Our Genetic Heritage.

Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and Slate, and is the author of six books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, and The Blank Slate.

Eugenie C. Scott
Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, a former college professor, is Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a nonprofit membership organization in Oakland, CA, of scientists, teachers, and others that works to improve the teaching of evolution, and of science as a way of knowing. It opposes the advocacy of "scientific" creationism and other religiously-based views in science classes. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), and the advisory counsels of several church and state separation organizations. She has held elective offices in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Scott is the current president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, for which she has also been Secretary-Treasurer. Honors include the Bruce Alberts Award of the American Society for Cell Biology, the Isaac Asimov Science Award from the American Humanist Association, the First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation, the James Randi Award from the Skeptic Society, and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Missouri College of Arts and Sciences.

Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at Caltech, and the co-host and producer of the 13-hour Fox Family television series, Exploring the Unknown.

Shermer is the author of How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, Why People Believe Weird Things, Teach Your Child Science, and The Borderlands of Science : Where Sense Meets Nonsense. He is the co-author of Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?; Teach Your Child Math and Mathemagics; and In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History.

Frank Sulloway

Frank Sulloway is a Visiting Professor of Psychology and History of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has made many visits to the Galapagos Islands and is an expert on that part of Darwin's travels and the current evolutionary forces at work there. Prof. Sulloway has done pioneering work on personality from an evolutionary perspective, and particularly on the effect of birth order. Along with other honors, he has been honored with the MacArthur Foundation's "genius award" Fellowship.

Colin Tudge

Colin Tudge is a three-time winner of the Glaxo/ABSW Science Writer of the Year Award. His career as a science writer includes serving as Features Editor at New Scientist , his own science program, Spectrum, on BBC Radio and freelance writing for The Independent, The Times, Natural History and The New Statesman.

He is the author of ten previous books, including Last Animals at the Zoo; The Time Before History; The Impact of the Gene; Last Animals at the Zoo; and coauthor (with Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell) of The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control.

Edward O. Wilson

Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Hölldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

His books include The Future of Life; Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge; Diversity of Life; The Ants (co-authored with Bert Hölldobler); On Human Nature; Naturalist; Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition; Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration (co-authored with Bert Hölldobler); and The Insect Societies.

Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer is the author of Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea and Parasite Rex, and writes a column about evolution for Natural History.