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Evolution and the Levels of Selection
November 3, 2008, Green College Coach House, UBC
An all-day interdiscipinary workshop on the historical, philosophical, and conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory. more...

Daniel Dennett
Jan 14: Daniel Dennett, "Darwin’s 'Strange Inversion of Reasoning". Wednesday, January 14, 7:00PM, Freddy Wood Theatre, University of British Columbia, Point Grey Campus.

One of Darwin’s earliest critics noted his “strange inversion of reasoning: in order to make a perfect and beautiful machine it is not requisite to know how to make it.” This is indeed a counterintuitive idea, but it is central not just to biology but to computer science and, indeed, all of science. Resistance to this ‘strange inversion’ is at the heart of popular discontent with both evolution by natural selection and computer models of the brain and mind. It helps to understand some of the controversies surrounding theories of consciousness to recognize that some of the participants are “mind creationists” who cannot accept Darwin’s inversion when applied to minds.

Sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Green College Principal's Series
Jan 20: Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Paleobiology, University of Cambridge and the Cecil H. and Ida Green Visiting Professor at UBC, delivers a talk titled: "Darwin's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation". Tuesday, January 20, 5:00-6:30PM, Coach House, Green College, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road, University of British Columbia, Point Grey Campus.

Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity Seminar
Jan 21: Simon Conway Morris, "The Cambrian explosion: A reality check for evolution?". Wednesday, January 21, 4:00PM, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory Auditorium, 2202 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Point Grey Campus.

Graduate and Faculty Christian Forum
Jan 22: Simon Conway Morris, "If Humans are Inevitable, What Are the Theological Implications?". Thursday, January 22, 4:00-5:30PM, Hennings 202, 6224 Agricultural Road, University of British Columbia, Point Grey Campus.

Darwin vs. Galileo
Help decide if "Darwin had a greater impact on modern science than Galileo." UBC Zoologist Greg Bole will argue for Darwin and SFU Mathematician Tom Archibald will argue for Galileo.

Jan 24: Round one on the Sean Leslie Show on CKNW Radio, 980AM, on Saturday January 24, from 4:00-5:00PM.
Jan 28: Round two: listen to The Early Edition with Rick Cluff on CBC Radio One, 690AM, on Wednesday January 28th, at 8:20AM.
Jan 28: Round three: come in person to watch our debaters square off. Wednesday January 28, IRMACS Theatre at SFU - Applied Sciences Building 10900, 6:00-7:00PM.

Part of SFU's Geek Week celebrating Science. Video from the event is now available from the IRMACS Centre.

Philosophers' Café
Jan 26: The never-ending case of Bishop Wilberforce vs. Thomas "Bulldog" Huxley: Empiricism and the State of Evolutionary Biology in an Age of Faith-Based Fundamentalism. Cafe Kathmandu, 2779 Commercial Dr. 7:30PM. more...

Feb 17: On beauty and the evolution of a sense of form. Speaker: Lee Gass, moderator: Pnina Granirer. Lord Byng High School, 3939 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver, 7:00pm. more...

March 30: Social Darwinism as an Instrument of Racist and Authoritarian thought. Café Kathmandu, 2779 Commercial Dr. 7:30PM. more...

Darwin and You: a Lecture Series
Public lectures by Vancouver evolutionary biologists and researchers in evolution, to be held at 7:00PM on Thursday evenings at SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Room 1800 (Jan 29 and Feb 5) and Room 1900 (Feb 12-Mar 5). More information can be found on the SFU Continuing Studies website. The complete series can also be watched on YouTube at the Beaty Museum Channel.

Jan 29: Darwin and his times (John Beatty and Greg Bole, UBC) MOV
Feb 5: Darwin and your health (Leticia Aviles, UBC) MOV
Feb 12: Darwin and your past (Mark Collard, SFU) MOV
Feb 19: Darwin and your brain (Bernie Crespi, SFU) MOV
Feb 26: Darwin and your sex life (Elizabeth Elle, SFU) MOV
March 5: Darwin and your beliefs (Ara Norenzayan, UBC) MOV

BC Humanist Association
Feb 8: Join the BC Humanist Association for cake in celebration of Darwin's Birthday. Festivities begin at 10:00am at the Oakridge Seniors' Centre, 513-650 West 41st Avenue. At 11:00am Pat Walden will give a presentation on: “The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Intelligent Design”, subtitled “Does Canada’s granting agency for science education research support Intelligent Design?”.

Evolution Weekend
Evolution Weekend is a worldwide event officially occuring on February 13-15, 2009. The Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. Through sermons, discussion groups, meaningful conversations and seminars, the event aims to show that religion and science are not adversaries. We encourage you to contact your clergy to ask them to participate in Evolution Weekend. If you know of an event, please let us know.

Feb 8: St. Anselm's Anglican Church, 5210 University Boulevard, Vancouver. Sunday, February 8, 8:30am and 10:30am.

Feb 8: Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 49th Avenue, Vancouver. Sunday, February 8, 11:00am. more...

Feb 13: Temple Sholom, Rabbi Philip L. Bregman and Rabbi Daniel J. Mikelberg; 7190 Oak Street, Vancouver. Friday, February 13, 8:15pm.

Feb 15: South Burnaby United Church, Reverend Ian MacDonald; 7591 Gray Avenue, Burnaby. Sunday February 15, 10:30am.

Feb 15: Canadian Memorial Church, Reverend Bruce Sanguin; 1825 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver. Sunday February 15, 10:30am.

Feb 15: St. Philip's Anglican Church, Reverend John Stephens; 3737 West 27th Avenue, Vancouver. Sunday February 15, 8:00am and 10:00am.

Feb 15: Oakridge United Church, Reverend Maggie Watts-Hammond will speak about the difference between Biblical literalism and faith; 305 W 41st Avenue Vancouver.

Studio 4 Interview
Feb 9: Rosie Redfield talks about "Darwin 101" on Studio 4 with Fanny Kiefer on Shaw TV.

Meet Mr. Darwin
Learn from the man himself. UBC Zoologist Greg Bole performs a monologue as Charles Darwin.

Feb 10: University of the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack Campus Theatre, 7:00pm. Everyone is welcome and admission is free. more...
March 2: University of the Fraser Valley, University Women's Club, 7:30pm. more...
March 10: University of British Columbia, for a high school group at the Michael Smith Labs.
March 10: University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford Campus, room B101, 6:00pm. more...
April 14: Brock House Senior's Group, 3875 Point Grey Road, Vancouver, 10:30am.
Oct 8: Van Dusen Gardens, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver, 7:30pm.

Video from the event at Michael Smith Labs is now available from The Science Creative Quarterly.

Celebrate Darwin Week - Burnaby North Secondary
Feb 10-13: Ms. Davies at Burnaby North Secondary School will be screening the documentary "Galapagos - Islands that changed the World" during lunch breaks in room 7 in the South Building, starting Tuesday, Februrary 10. On February 12, students are invited to bring snacks to share as a Birthday Party for Darwin will be held, complete with a birthday cake. Best of luck to Ms. Davies and all her students on their upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands.

SFU Biology Faculty Seminar
Feb 12: UBC Zoologist Greg Bole, also known as "Charles Darwin", presents "Charles Darwin: Evolutionary Trees and Family Trees". Thursday, February 12 at 3:30pm in SSB7172. more...

Cake for Darwin
Feb 12: Darwin's birthday will be marked with celebratory birthday cake competitions at SFU and UBC. Compete to create the most evolutionary birthday cake you can imagine, or just come by for a look, and perhaps a slice of cake. At SFU, judging will be at 4:30pm is SSB7172. At UBC, judging will be at 4:00pm in Michael Smith Labs, room 101. Happy Birthday Darwin! more...


Is Religion Adaptive?
March 2: Richard Sosis, one of the world's leading scientists in the evolutionary studies of religious behavior and a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut and Hebrew University will be speaking on Monday, March 2, at 5:00pm at the Coach House, Green College, UBC. more...
Evolutionary scholars studying religion are currently engaged in a significant debate over whether or not religion is adaptive. Some adaptationists maintain that religion evolved to extend human cooperation and coordination. Here I survey recent developments in one such adaptationist theory that applies signaling models to religious phenomena. I also critically examine the comparative, ethnohistorical, and experimental data that have been brought to bear on this theory. While generally supportive of the application of signaling theory to religious behavior, these data also highlight various shortcomings of the theory and suggest avenues for further theoretical development. I conclude with a discussion about the relevance of these data for resolving current debates concerning whether or not religion is adaptive.

Café Scientifique
March 24: Rosie Redfield hosts a session titled "Should Darwin be an 'ism?" at the Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir Street 7:30PM, free event. more...

The Rap Guide to Evolution
SFU alumnus, actor, and rap artist, Baba Brinkman ( brings "The Rap Guide to Evolution" to the stage. Brinkman is the mind behind the award-winning "The Rap Canterbury Tales", and he will be touring "Evolution" across Europe this Summer.
March 30: IRMACS Studio, Applied Science Building, SFU at 2:30pm. Free event.
April 9: Norm Theatre, Student Union Building (SUB), UBC, 4:00pm. Free event.
April 10 and 11: Aisle 45, 45 West Hastings St., Gastown. Admission $10 ($5 concession).

UBC poster (PDF)

Video from the premiere at SFU is is now available from the IRMACS Centre.
Read an article on the performance from The Scientist (free registration required -or- view screencap or PDF).


Biodiversity Lecture
April 16: Wayne Maddison, Director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, spent part of this past summer in the jungles of Papua New Guinea with the support of Conservation International. He was searching for new species of jumping spiders, as part of a team surveying the rich biodiversity of the Papua New Guinea forests. He found dozens of species of spiders believed to be new to science, some of which change our view of jumping spider evolution. Come and hear about what it was like to travel to remote areas of Papua New Guinea's jungles. See photos and videos of the spectacular new spider species Dr. Maddison collected on the Beaty Museum website.


BLPA Weedbusters
What happens when plants don't have the chance to co-evolve? Lend a hand to the Burnaby Lake Park Association and Metro Vancouver as they remove invasive plant species which threaten the biodiversity of the local ecosystem. These drop-in sessions are a great way to be active in the outdoors while improving the environment. Be prepared for moderate physical activity, wear sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeves. Gloves and other equipment will be provided as well as refreshments to keep you going as you learn about the plants around you from Park Interpreters and other volunteers.

May 24: Meet at the foot of Glencarin Dr. (map), Sunday May 24, 1:00-4:00pm.
June 2: meet at the Avalon parking lot (map), 6:30-8:30pm.
June 16: Avalon parking lot, 6:30-8:30pm.
June 28: Avalon parking lot, 1:00-4:00pm.
July 7: Avalon parking lot, 6:30-8:30pm.
July 21: meet at the Nature House at the foot of Piper Ave. (map), 6:30-8:30pm.
September 20: Glencarin Dr., 1:00-4:00pm.
October 4: Glencarin Dr., 1:00-4:00pm.

Philosophers' Café
May 25: Is Faith an Absolute Indicator of Morality? Reflections on Religion, Magic, Science, and Morals. Café Kathmandu, 2779 Commercial Dr. 7:30PM. more...

Burnaby Lake Nature Walk
June 7: Join in a guided tour of one of the Lower Mainland's largest Regional Parks. Identify birds as they sing their morning chorus. Bring the entire family bright and early from 6:00am-8:00am. Meet at the Nature House at the foot of Piper Ave (map). Brought to you by the Burnaby Lake Park Association and Metro Vancouver.

Darwin Blogs
July 5-10 and beyond: UBC Zoologist Greg Bole (AKA Charles Darwin, check out the video from the Darwin and You lecture series) goes to the Darwin Festival in Cambridge, England. Follow him through a series of Darwin lectures, events, and exhibitions on his blog.
Posted August 21:

Day Four
Thursday morning, July 9th
This was another great session, it was given by some of the leading names in evolutionary anthropology. It was chaired and organized by the rather amusing Robert Foley, who has the impressive title of Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies and Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution at the University of Cambridge. He opened with a comparison between evolutionary biologists and the forces fighting WWI, if Dawkins and Dennett are the generals directing the battles from on high, then the speakers for this session were the evolutionary soldiers actually in the trenches, the "people with the lice and malaria". more...

Evolution of Song
Sep 12: Discover the role of song in the evolution of birds and in the creation of new species. Join David Toews, UBC PhD Student in Zoology, to learn more and participate in hands-on research in the forest around UBC. Presented by Metro Vancouver and the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

Saturday, September 12, 2009
9:00am - 12:00pm
Suitable for ages 8+
Meet in the courtyard of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at 2212 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (map).

Lucy's Place in Nature
Sep 16: Green College and the Centre for Human Evolution, Cognition and Culture are proud to present:

Lucy's Place in Nature
By Prof. Yoel Rak of the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University

Upon the discovery of Australopithecus afarensis remains in the 1970s and the subsequent acknowledgment of the remains' distinct taxonomic status, the new species was hailed as situated anatomically and chronologically "halfway" between an ape (the common ancestor of the chimpanzee and Homo sapiens) and modern humans. Furthermore, the primitive appearance displayed by A. afarensis, along with its age, rendered it an ideal candidate to be the common ancestor of modern humans and the extremely specialized robust australopith clade. Beginning in the 1990s, the intensive activity of numerous expeditions to the Hadar region of Ethiopia (site of the earlier A. afarensis finds, including the famous Lucy) filled many gaps in our understanding of A. afarensis cranial anatomy, deriving particularly from the discovery of two almost complete skulls. As a result, anatomical elements that A. afarensis shares only with the robust australopiths surfaced. This new information has forced us to move A. afarensis from its comfortable position at the bifurcation point between the robust clade and modern humans to the robust branch itself, albeit at the branch's very beginning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
5:00 - 6:30pm
Green College Coach House, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver (map)

FestEVOLVE at the Beaty Museum
Sep 19: Join researchers investigating evolution for outdoor family events in the courtyard of UBC's new Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Examine specimens, meet scientists and participate in experiments. Learn about nature sketching from an artist and give it a try yourself. Comb the courtyard's organisms for clues during a scavenger hunt, have your face painted like a wild animal or chat with Charles Darwin about his theory. With a mix of hands on art and science activities, this event is a great way for the whole family to learn about evolution. Part of UBC's Culture Fest 2009. For more information, see the Beaty Museum website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009
10:00am - 2:00pm
FREE family event
Beaty Biodiversity Museum, 2212 Main Mall,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Thanks to everyone who came to the event, pictures are now available.

Workshop for High School Teachers
on Teaching Evolution

Oct 23: Dave Ng organizes a workshop at the Michael Smith Biotechnology Labs at UBC. The day showcases various scientific pursuits, including the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities, participate in workshops that highlight hands-on classroom activities, as well as interact with some of the most prominent scientists in the world. I heard a rumor that this conference is so good that even Darwin is thinking of coming. The event is free, but you need to register here.

In the Company of Crows and Ravens
Nov 5: John Marzluff delivers the next installment in the Biodiversity Lecture Series with his talk: "In the Company on Crows and Ravens". The lecture will be at 7:00pm, Thursday November 5, in room 1005 of the Forest Sciences Centre at UBC. For more information, visit the Beaty Museum website.

Little Brown Mushroom Workshop
Nov 13-15: Presented by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, the Vancouver Mycological Society, and Genome BC, this workshop will examine the sometimes cryptic species of (non-edible) little brown mushrooms found locally. The multi-day workshop includes a slide presentation, a collecting foray, and lab work in which participants will identify specimens though several approaches, including microscopy. The cost is $60 for students and $100 for non-students. For more information, visit the Beaty Museum website.

The Origin of Species: 1859 meets 2009
Nov 18: Carl Zimmer presents "The Origin of Species: 1859 meets 2009" as part of the Biodiversity Lecture Series. In this talk, Carl Zimmer takes a look at how scientists are studying evolution to grapple with one of the most important challenges we face: the emergence of new diseases. The lecture will be at 7:00pm, Wednesday November 18, in room 2 of the Woodward Instructional Resource Centre. For more information and to register, visit the Beaty Museum website.

Origin Turns 150
Nov 24: Join us for the anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species at the Beaty Biodiversity Centre at UBC. At 9:30am we'll welcome everyone with coffee in room 225 before tuning in to a webcast of an E.O. Wilson presentation from Harvard University at 10:00am. At noon, gather in the lounge to eat with Darwin, and view the entires in our Drawing from Darwin Contest. Prizes for the contest will be awarded, and guests will have the chance to decorate a festive dessert to toast the big day.

On the Origin of Whales
Nov 24: The Vancouver Aquarium is hosting an evening of speakers discussing the origin of whales. Killer whale expert Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, Evolutionary biologist Dr. Arne Mooers of Simon Fraser University and whale paleontologist Dr. Nick Pyenson of the University of British Columbia will offer three perspectives on this elegant story of Evolution by Natural Selection. The session topics include recent and remarkable evidence on whales’ unlikely transition from land to water as well as recent work that sheds light on how new species of whale may come about. The evening will also include a special appearance by Darwin himself. To reserve a seat, visit the Vancouver Aquarium's events.

Bake a Cake for Darwin
Feb 9: In celebration of Charles Darwin's 201st, we're inviting everyone to come up with their most evolution-appropriate baked goods. Set up from 2pm in the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Centre's lounge (map), judging will be at 4pm. For inspiration, see last year's entries on the contest page.

The Life and Times of Charles Darwin
Feb 9: Dr. Greg Bole offers us an insight into Darwin's life. This talk will be at 7:00pm in the auditorium of the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Labs at UBC (map). Admission is free, but registration is required. Visit the Beaty Museum site for more information.

© Vancouver Evolution Festival