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Forum Lectures

Why evolution is right and creationism is wrong

31 October 2007, 16:00, EMBL Large Operon

Steve Jones, University College, London

Evolution is sometimes seen as a complicated or arcane process. It is not: the idea is simple. Darwin described it in three words, "descent with modification", which we can modify today as "genetics plus time". The second part of his machine, natural selection, is also straightforward: it turns on inherited differences in reproductive success. Natural selection is a factory for making almost impossible things, and I will talk about what it is in creatures as different as the AIDS virus and the chimpanzee, and will ask what evolution can - and, more important, cannot - tell us what it means to be a member of the species Homo sapiens.