Tuesday, February 7, 2006 5:00pm,This should be interesting. Simon Conway Morris is coming to town to give a lecture at Duke University (Biological Anthropology And Anatomy department) next Tuesday. I'll see if I can make it there.
Love Auditorium, LSRC
Simon Conway Morris (University of Cambridge)
"Darwin's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation"
I have met him at a conference before (and got to spend some leisurely time one-on-one with him) and he is the nicest guy. Yet, he is quite a strong adaptationist.
If you do the thought experiment of rewinding the Tape Of Life a million times, what do you expect? On one extreme would be Gouldians (like me) expecting a million different outcomes, i.e., a million completely different histories of Life on Earth and different everything - from biochemistry, through anatomy, development and physiology, to behavior, ecology and even the exact mechanisms evolution works. On the other extreme are people like Daniel Dennett who expect million instances of evolution of pretty much the same life-forms, including intelligent humans (and Nazis wearing black SS uniforms in the 1930s-1940s).
Simon Conway Morris is much closer to the Dennett extreme (though he is more sophisticated) than to Gould. Most of Philosophers of Biology at Duke (and they have a super-strong program) are much closer to Gould than Morris, so it will be interesting to see their questions and comments during the Q&A session afterwards.
Anyone going and willing to give me a ride?