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SuperGenes: What Really Makes Us Human

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Prof. Craig Mackay

3rd March, 9pm for 9:15 start Nihon Room Wine and nibbles Free for members, £1 non-members

Humans have been on this planet for only about 20 millionths of its age and yet we have evolved with incredible and increasing rapidity to completely dominate the planet in so many ways. Darwinian, biological evolution happens on very long timescales so something else must be happening. The key is undoubtedly human behaviour and the way this is inextricably linked with our evolution. In this talk I will look at some of the problems thrown up by recent research in biochemistry, social psychology and other fields to try and give some insight into what it is that motivates each and every one of us throughout our lives.

In particular I shall discuss why the most popular models of behaviour are now struggling in the face of the latest work on DNA and inheritance. I will also look at the way we greatly exaggerate the importance of the individual and underemphasise the importance of society in determining the way that we behave. Together they give clues about the underlying drivers of human behaviour that are already well understood by churches and by the advertising industry.

Dr Craig Mackay is Professor of Image Science in the Institute of Astronomy, and a fellow of Corpus Christi. He may be an astronomer, but he has a passion for understanding why we are human, which gives him a unique perspective in this field. His talk promises to be enlightening and will offer a new insight into what does make us human.

This talk is part of the Stokes Society, Pembroke College series.

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