The Darwinism of disease

Published: 12 October 1999

"Ape or Angel" Series continues; explores how evolutionary theory provides a basis for new medical therapies

The theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in the mid 19th century launched an intellectual revolution whose reverberations continue to shatter our perceptions today. Last week Montreal audiences heard from Dr Eugenie Scott about "The Great Controversy" linked to the teaching of evolution in many North American schools, and this week, in the second of the three-part series, Dr Paul Ewald, an evolutionary biologist from Massachussetts, will discuss "The Darwinism of Disease," at 8 pm, October 13, 1999 (Fieldhouse Auditorium, Stephen Leacock Building, downtown McGill campus). Dr Ewald’s talk will be introduced by Dr Graham Bell, director of the Redpath Museum. Dr Ewald writes:

"While completing my doctoral work in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Washington (1975-80), I became drawn to medical questions when I realized that most of the generalizations about the evolution of disease organisms in the medical literature had misapplied the principles of natural selection. A few more steps of logic led me to realize that the correction of this error could have practical consequences for medicine, as well as consequences for our basic understanding of host-parasite associations."

Introduced by McGill anthropologist Bruce Trigger, on October 20, 1999 Steven Mithen, an archaeologist from Britain, will discuss the evolution of the human mind itself, "Becoming Human: the Evolution of Mind and Language," Wednesday, October 20, 1999, same location. These lectures are free and the public is welcome.

The Millennium Lecture Series, provocatively entitled "Ape or Angel," is presented by McGill’s Redpath Museum, together with three prestigious partners, the Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee, the Mossman Endowment, and the Maxwell Cummings Distinguished Lectureship.

Back to top