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Author of new book on evolution that solves Darwin's dilemma to speak at NY Academy of Sciences

Readers and writers lecture at NY Academy of Sciences January 25

New York Academy of Sciences

Since its publication a century and a half ago, Darwin's revolutionary theory of evolution has explained how natural selection winnows out the mutations most helpful in fitting a species to survive. However, the theory fails to explain how new adaptations and innovations emerge, a major gap that has been attacked by opponents of evolution. Some researchers have attempted to answer this gap by suggesting that small genetic mutations accumulate over time to produce wondrous innovations such as eyes and wings.

Two biologists, Marc Kirschner and John Gerhart, propose that their new theory, "facilitated variation", provides an original solution to this longstanding puzzle of random genetic change. They show how the deep molecular biology of the cell actually fosters biological novelties when plants and animals need them most, not merely when random chance generates them. On Wednesday, January 25 from 6 to 7 p.m., Dr. Kirschner will discuss his new book, The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma, which he co-authored with Gerhart, at New York Academy of Sciences headquarters, 2 East 63rd Street.

The event is part of the Academy's Readers & Writers lecture series, which highlights the latest and most important science books for the benefit of the press and public. By closing the major gap in Darwin's theory, Kirschner and Gerhart provide a timely scientific rebuttal to modern critics of evolution who champion "intelligent design." After surveying the latest genetic research, the researchers came to a surprising conclusion: complex living systems are plausible only if evolution can generate them, and it is life by design that is implausible.


Book sale and reception to follow.

Marc W. Kirschner is professor and chair, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health and as President of the American Society for Cell Biology.

Seating is limited. To RSVP, please contact or call (212) 838 0230 x257.

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Founded in 1817, the New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, non-profit organization of more than 24,000 members serving science, technology and society worldwide.

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