Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Darwin Day Lectures: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Pleistocene Rewilding!

Happy Darwin Day! If you love science and philosophy, you should come out on Thursday to listen to Harry Greene, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, speak on "Natural History, Aesthetics, and Conservation":
The diversity of life on earth is under serious threats from multiple human-related causes, and science plays well-known roles in addressing management aspects of this problem. My presentation will describe how natural history also plays a vital role in enhancing our appreciation for organisms and environments, thereby influencing the value judgments that ultimately underlie all conservation. I will first explain how an 18th century philosopher’s distinction between “beauty” and “sublime” can be used in the context of Darwin’s notion of “descent with modification,” then illustrate this approach with frogs, rattlesnakes, the African megafauna, Longhorn Cattle, and California Condors.
Thursday, February 14th at 7:30PM in Rooke 116. 
The talk is hosted by the Biology Department and co-sponsored by the Environmental Studies Program and the Departments of Geography, Philosophy, and Religion.

Professor Greene will also be giving a colloquium on Friday at noon in the same room on "Pleistocene Rewilding: Lions in a Den of Daniels?"

More than five years ago a group of us published papers in Nature and American Naturalist proposed partially restoring the lost North American Pleistocene megafauna with conspecifics and closely related proxies for tortoises, cheetah, elephants, and other species. In this seminar I will summarize our initiative and the subsequent response from conservation biologists and the public, with emphasis on implications for conserving biodiversity on a rapidly changing earth.
These should both be fascinating talks! Come out and make Darwin your valentine.