This is one of several panel discussions on evolutionary topics that have been held at Cornell University as part of recent Darwin Days. Two of my good friends and colleagues, Warren Allmon and Will Provine, have prominent roles. As you watch this, pay particular attention to their points of view, in particular with respect to the status of eugenics thinking in today’s world. Is eugenics an historical relic, to be studied as such (Allmon), or is it in fact alive and well in the world of medical genetics (Provine)?
Professor Stearns takes an interesting approach to the subject, in that he discusses random changes in allele frequencies not in the context of their effects within populations (what he calls microevolutionary change), but rather how these processes relate to macroevolutionary processes, ones that we can use to make inferences about phylogeny. Pay particular attention to how he portrays the role played by random factors in populations and evolution, as well as the relationship between population size and the probability of fixation of new neutral mutations.
From the Stanford series Darwin’s Legacy, historian Janet Browne focuses on the reactions to Darwin that immediately followed the publication of The Origin of Species. How do they compare with current controversies regarding evolution, religion and society?
This site contains supplementary material for students in my section of Zoology 206 at Miami University. It is designed to allow them to explore some of the most recent developments in evolutionary biology and to easily access material that may provide further insight into the topics covered in class. Comments are welcome throughout.
Note that this is not the official site for the course. Announcements, assignments, etc. will be posted on the course site in Niikha.