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Darwin Series Speaker Explores Natural Theology to Natural Selection

Dr. Francisco Ayala, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California-Irvine, will present Darwin in the History of Ideas: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection as part of Duquesne University’s speaker series Darwin at 200: Contributions and Challenges.

This year marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his work, The Origin of Species. In recognition of that, Duquesne is hosting the speaker series as part of Darwin Celebration 2009: A Pittsburgh Partnership, a series of events designed to improve public understanding of Darwin’s legacy and his ideas that form the fundamental basis for all modern biology and medicine.

“Darwin is deservedly given credit for the theory of evolution. Most important, however, is that he discovered natural selection,’” writes Ayala of his presentation. “The design of organisms is not intelligent, as it would be expected from an engineer, but imperfect and worse: defects, dysfunctions, oddities, waste, and cruelty pervade the living world. Darwin’s theory accounts for the design of organisms and for their wondrous diversity as the result of the gradual accumulation of spontaneous mutations sorted out by natural selection. The theory of evolution conveys chance and necessity, randomness and determinism, jointly enmeshed in the stuff of life.”

Ayala, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is the author of Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion. He is a 2001 recipient of the National Medal of Science.

Co-sponsored by the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences and the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne, the lecture is free and open to the public. Act 48 credit for K-12 teachers is available.

Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m.

The Power Center Ballroom, Duquesne University, Forbes Avenue at Chatham Square.

For more information on the Darwin at 200 speaker series and Darwin Celebration 2009, call 412.396.6332 or visitwww.duq.edu/darwin2009.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.