The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial
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Darwin Day

Monday, 19 October; OCC, Portland Ballroom 251/258

Brought to you by The Geological Society of America and The Paleontological Society.

9:00 - 11:15 a.m
T92. In the Footsteps of Darwin the Geologist: Celebrating Darwin’s 200th Birthday

(Darwin Society)

Convened by Gregory S. Baker, Yildrem Dilek, Patrick A. Burkhart; Edward Evenson.

11:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Overcoming Resistance to the Reality of Evolutionary Change in Nature

Americans admire scientists and believe that science enhances their quality of life. Recent polls show that most people rank scientists highly, in terms of their contribution to society, and they see science’s impact as being largely positive. Even so, less than 40% of Americans are convinced of the reality of biological evolution. In one study, 31% of respondents said that humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

These studies show that a majority of Americans accept or deny evidence of evolution, geologic processes and the age of the Earth to the extent that they can be reconciled with their religious or other core beliefs. All too often many people, including scientists, accept what they want to believe about the world.

Accuracy, clarity and engaging modes of presentation of scientific knowledge to the general public are essential to enhance public understanding of science. However, on issues like the origin of life, evolution and the Earth’s long geologic history, it is necessary to enable more people to accommodate concepts they find challenging, without compromising the integrity of the science itself. This calls for novel approaches to communicating these ideas.

Participants on the panel will include:

  • Jeremy Jackson
    Director, Center for Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and a leading authority on human impacts on the oceans
  • Judge John E. Jones
    Well known for his presiding role in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case bearing on teaching of ‘intelligent design’
  • Randy Olson
    Marine biologist, independent film-maker known for his documentary Flock of Dodos: the Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus, and author of the forthcoming book Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style.
  • Kevin Padian
    Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, and President of the National Center for Science Education.
  • Ray Troll
    Artist whose quirky, energetic and humorous posters and books include Planet Ocean, Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway, and Raptors Fossils, Fins & Fangs, incorporating sound science and focusing on evolutionary themes.
1:30 - 3:45 p.m.
T120. Darwin, Geology and Evolution:
Impact of Darwinian Views on Scientific Theory-Making

(GSA History of Geology Division; GSA International Division; GSA Sedimentary Geology Division; Paleontological Society; GSA Geology and Society Division; GSA Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division; GSA Geoscience Education Division; National Association of Geoscience Teachers; GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division)

Convened by Yildirim Dilek, Gregory S. Baker, Michael Roberts, Léo F. Laporte.

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Flock of Dodos: the Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus

This documentary showing will be followed by a Q&A with film-maker Randy Olson.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial
7:30 p.m.

LA Theater Works presents:

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial

This adaptation by Peter Goodchild is taken from the original sources and trial transcripts. The Scopes Trial, over the right to teach evolution in public schools, reaffirmed the importance of intellectual freedom as codified in the Bill of Rights. The trial, in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925, set the stage for ongoing debates over the separation of Church and State in a democratic society — debates that continue to this day.

This event is open to the public. All attendees at The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial will receive a free pass to the GSA Exhibit Hall.

Newmark Theater, $25 (tickets can be purchased through registration)

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Sponsored by Subaru of America, Inc.

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