What the hell is Evo-Devo?

A session at Skeptics on the Fringe 2013

Friday 23rd August, 2013

7:50pm to 8:50pm (GMT)

Legs growing where eyes should be! Chickens with dinosaur teeth! How many times did the central nervous system evolve? Once? Twice? Fourteen times? Evo-Devo is a new field of biological science that is answering previously unanswerable questions and changing evolutionary and developmental biology as we know it. As fascinating as the work is, the topic can be quite inaccessible. The curious are recommended textbooks that assume a decent understanding of evolutionary biology, developmental biology, molecular biology, and genetics. The “popular science” books on Evo-Devo are usually filled with jargon and scare off many casual readers. The few that avoid jargon have been simplified to the point that they are almost patronising, offering no intellectual challenge at all to the reader.

Science shouldn’t be exclusive, not even the most complex and cutting-edge research. Anyone can be curious about challenging scientific topics, even if they aren’t trained scientists. This talk aims to communicate Evo-Devo research in a highly accessible way, without babying the audience. Challenging concepts will be addressed, but all you need to know in advance is that “genes are in the nucleus and they make proteins that do stuff”. Everyone attending this talk will know exactly what Evo-Devo is, what it means for biology, its advantages/disadvantages, and why it’s worth being skeptical of the field until you know exactly what it is.

Peter Harrison is a skeptic and professional creator of award-winning magic, with his material appearing on television specials and a client-list that reads like a who’s who of corporate Scotland. Peter is also a Scottish biologist, and actively involved in Skepticism and Skeptics in the Pub. He is speaking at Skeptics on the Fringe for the third time.

Find out more at realityismyreligon.wordpress.com

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Peter Harrison

Skeptic and professional creator of award-winning magic

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Time 7:50pm8:50pm GMT

Date Fri 23rd August 2013

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