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Beyond Creation and Evolution: Human Origins Studies in a Secular, Media-Saturated World

Speaker(s): Henry Gilbert

Milpitas, CA

December 19, 2015 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Religion and science battled through the Renaissance and Age of Reason. In this struggle, science overcame,  and the discovery of evolution by means of natural selection and speciation (nicely coincident with the discovery of the human fossil record) has been cast as the long-sought, final proof of a naturalistic human essence. It was actually more of a lock on a door that was already closed by people like John Locke and Sir Francis Bacon.
Now there are different, bigger dangers looming that we can address with the science of human origins. This isn’t creationism in Kansas anymore, and it takes a diligent support community to identify objectives. So what is the use of the fossil record in this new time, and how do we approach it? Can the empirical reality of the human fossil record bring people together in a world of increasing extremism? The fossil record is real, and studying these fossils to illuminate human origins has the potential to go on forever as long as fossils continue to be found, curated, and preserved. They are a stable repository of information about what we are, and as long as the Enlightenment is not extinguished, any group that endeavors to preserve this legacy will always be remembered.

This event is free and open to the public. This talk is presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program traveling exhibit, Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?


December 19, 2015
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


The Leakey Foundation


Milpitas Public Library
160 North Main Street
Milpitas, CA 95035 United States
(408) 262-1171
View Venue Website
Henry Gilbert

Professor Henry Gilbert was born in San Francisco and grew up on a farm in Northern California. As an undergraduate he studied evolutionary psychology at the UCSB and undertook a paleontological survey of Turkey with Garnis Curtis, Clark Howell, and Tim White. Dr. Gilbert started fieldwork in the Middle Awash in 1994, and he has been returning to Ethiopia every year since. Dr. Gilbert discovered the Daka Homo erectus cranium in 1997 and finished editing its monograph in 2008. Dr. Gilbert is an associate professor of anthropology at CSU East Bay, a researcher at Cal, and currently directs the Kesem Kebena Project in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

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