Dub and Debate to Celebrate Darwin's Birthday

The University of Birmingham will again be mixing dub and Darwin at this year's Darwin Day celebrations on Friday, February 10th. This annual symposium, organised by the University of Birmingham Medical School, celebrates Charles Darwin's life and his continuing influence on human thought, with a little reggae thrown in for good measure.

This year’s keynote speaker Nick Matzke from the US National Centre for Science Education brings a particular topical interest to the event. Nick helped prepare the case for evolution and against intelligent design in the recent, highly publicised trial in Dover, Pennsylvania.

The symposium will also hear from local speakers covering topics as diverse as the evolution of the Hepatitis C virus, the changing shape of the human face and the origins of human walking.

Visiting speakers include Dr John van Wyhe from the University of Cambridge, speaking on the origins of Darwin's finches and Dr Frank James from the Royal Institution, who will attempt to debunk the famous discussion between Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, and T. H. Huxley about the Origin of Species.

The day will close with more Darwinian reggae music from the Genomic Dub Collective (a collaboration between event organiser Professor Mark Pallen and Dominic White, a Jamaican PhD student at the University). This will include the first airing of a new track "Dub fi Dover", celebrating the victory for Darwinism in the Dover trial, plus a fresh video re-mix of "The Origins of the Species in Dub”, a reggae celebration of Darwin's masterpiece, which touches on themes as diverse as Natural Selection, human evolution in Africa and the consequences of social Darwinism. The set will close with an international celebration of the concluding words of the Origin of Species in over a dozen languages.

The seminar organiser Professor Mark Pallen said:" Darwin Day is an informative and entertaining event celebrating the life of a great Midlander, whose work remains as current and exciting today as when it was first published. Indeed, Darwin's work informs everything we do as modern biologists. Also, having Nick Matzke here gives us Brits the chance to hear news from the front line in the battle to defend evolution against its critics."

The day runs from 9.00 to 6.30 pm in the Birmingham Medical Institute, 36 Harborne Road, Birmingham, B15 3AF (near Five Ways Station). Costs are £25 or £10 for students. For bookings contact:

Robert Arnott on 0121 414 6804 R.G.Arnott@bham.ac.uk. This birthday symposium is being held as part of the International Darwin Day Programme - more details on http://www.darwinday.org

For more information on Darwin Day or on the Origin of Species in Dub, contact Professor Mark Pallen on 0121 414 7163, m.pallen@bham.ac.uk. Further information and sound clips are available from http://www.infection.bham.ac.uk/BPAG/Dub/dub.html

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further media information or to arrange interviews contact Ben

Hill, Press Officer, telephone 0121 414 5134 or mobile 07789 921163

Sound clips of Professor Mark Pallen, Dominic White and Nick Matzke talking about Darwin Day are available for download on the University’s website.

http://www.bham.ac.uk/news_events.asp?section=000100010008

Darwin Day

Darwin Day is an annual event celebrating the life of Charles Darwin. For more information see the website:

http://www.darwinday.org/