Sanger Lecture: Genes, Culture and Undesigned Intelligence
Tuesday 2 October 2012, 18.30-19.30
Author of Genome: The autobiography of a species in 23
chapters, Matt Ridley has been one of the leading commentators
in the popular media on the sequencing of the human genome,
which followed from the research of Fred Sanger. Ridley’s earlier
works explored the evolution of human nature and its similarities
to that of other animals. In his latest book The Rational
Optimist Ridley turns to cultural evolution to explain unique
features of human society, arguing that the habit of exchanging
goods and services has had the same impact on cultural innovation
that the invention of sexual reproduction has had on genetic
evolution. In his Sanger lecture, he will explore this theme and
argue that to explain traits such as language, genetic selection
may be driven by cultural innovation rather than vice versa.
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