The Fact of and Facts About Evolution
By ASHLEY YEAGER - DUKE TODAY
Added: Mon, 04 Oct 2010 21:31:29 UTC
Durham, NC -- People filed into Page Auditorium on Oct. 3 carrying The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution tucked under their arm. The scene was typical of a lecture given on a college campus, except the instructor was the controversial and outspoken British biology writer Richard Dawkins.
And the students? They were a collection of Duke community members mixed in with area biology teachers and religious and free thinkers.
Todd Stiefel, Duke '97, then took the stage and asked if the audience was "excited about science and reason," to which the crowd erupted in cheers. A marketing professional, he pitched The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, of which Stiefel, along with J. Anderson Thomson, Duke '70, are on the Board of Trustees. The two alums had urged Dawkins to come to Duke and engage audience members in a discussion of evolution as fact. Before turning the stage over to Dawkins, Stiefel encouraged the audience to "come out and live out" as free thinkers.
Dawkins' lecture used no props or PowerPoint slides. For 45 minutes, he simply talked his listeners through his latest book, mixing scientific discussion with scathing jabs. He cited evidence for his argument that "we stop calling evolution a theory and call it a fact."
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