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21 June 2013

Dr. Monica Hughes on Myths about Evolutionary Theory: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

On Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed biologist Dr. Monica Hughes about "Myths about Evolutionary Theory." The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You'll find it on the episode's archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Dr. Monica Hughes about "Myths about Evolutionary Theory"

Many Americans are woefully ignorant of the basics of evolutionary theory, even while they criticize or reject it. Biologist Monica Hughes explained the basics of evolutionary theory, including some fascinating examples of evolution in action. Then she discussed and dispelled some common myths about it.

Monica Hughes received her master's and PhD degrees in mycology and forest pathology at SUNY-ESF (State University of New York College of Environmental and Forest Biology). Broadly trained in aspects of plant and fungal biology, Monica's research is focused on an obscure but diverse group of insect-associated fungi, particularly co-evolution of the fungi with their hosts, and description of new species: her research uncovered roughly 50 new species of fungi from New Zealand, including several new genera. Since obtaining her PhD in 2008, Monica has worked as a biology professor in the Community College system of Colorado and at Regis University in Denver.

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Topics:
  • Wildfires in Colorado
  • The basic tenets of evolutionary theory
  • Examples of evolution in action: bacteria, dogs, silver fox
  • The creation of new species: plants, fruit flies
  • The evidence for evolutionary theory
  • Evolution is not just randomness
  • The second law of thermodynamics does not preclude evolution
  • The argument from irreducible complexity
  • The first living organism
  • The irreducible complexity argument
  • The time required for evolution
  • The "goal" of evolution
  • Evolution as "just a theory"

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