DAR 200: Darwin's Legacy

DAR 200: Darwin's Legacy (Fall 2008, Stanford Univ.). "Light will be thrown..." With these modest words, Charles Darwin launched a sweeping new theory of life in his epic book, On the Origin of Species (1859). The theory opened eyes and minds around the world to a radical new understanding of the flora and fauna of the planet. Here, Darwin showed for the first time that no supernatural processes are necessary to explain the profusion of living beings on earth, that all organisms past and present are related in a historical branching pattern of descent, and that human beings fall into place quite naturally in the web of all life. Now, 150 years later and 200 years after Darwin’s birth, we celebrate the amazingly productive vision and reach of his theory. In this Fall Quarter course, we will meet weekly with leading Darwin scholars from around the country to learn about Darwin’s far-reaching legacy in fields as diverse as anthropology, religion, medicine, psychology, philosophy, literature, and biology. With such a broad reach across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, no wonder the theory of evolution by natural selection has been called the single best idea, ever.

Lecture 01 - Overview of the Course; Darwin's Own Evolution; Darwin's Data
Professor William Durham provides an overview of the course; Professor Robert Siegel touches upon "Darwin's Own Evolution;" Professor Durham returns for a talk on "Darwin's Data;" and the lecture concludes with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Lynn Rothschild.

Lecture 02 - Evolution vs. Creationism Debate
Dr. Eugenie Scott explores the evolution vs. creationism debate and provides an argument for evolution. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Brent Sockness and Jeff Wine.

Lecture 03 - A Biography on Charles Darwin and Darwin's Origin of Species
Dr. Janet Browne presents a biography on Charles Darwin and explores Darwin's Origin of Species. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Craig Heller and Robert Proctor.

Lecture 04 - The Philosophical Importance of Darwin's Theory of Evolution
Dr. Daniel Dennett presents the philosophical importance of Darwin's theory of evolution. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Hank Greely and Chris Bobonich.

Lecture 05 - How and Why Species Multiply
Peter and Rosemary Grant discuss how and why species multiply. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Carol Boggs and Rodolfo Dirzo.

Lecture 06 - Darwin's Life and Work
Dr. Niles Eldredge discusses Darwin's life and work. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Ward Watt and Liz Hadly.

Lecture 07 - Social Darwinism
Professor Melissa Brown speaks about the history and consequences of social Darwinism, and offers insight into new ways of thinking about social evolution.

Lecture 08 - Causation of Cancer
Dr. Paul Ewald speaks about how several pathogenic viruses have evolved over time to break down the cell's barriers to several types of cancer. He suggests that further research will aid in the discovery of additional viruses linked to the causation of cancer. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Gary Schoolnik and Stanley Falkow.

Lecture 09 - Social Behavior of Species
Dr. Russell Fernald discusses how social behavior changes the brains of fish, animals, and humans to adapt to situations typically involving mating behaviors. The lecture is concluded with a panel discussion with Eric Knudsen and Charles Junkerman.

Lecture 10 - Analysis of Darwin's Literary Works
Dr. George Levine discusses through analysis of Darwin's literary works, ways of seeing and being enchanted by the world as well as the poetic eloquence of Darwin's prose. The lecture is concluded with a discussion between Dr. Levine and Rob Polhemus.