TED talker talks Darwin


Students gathered on Feb. 11 to hear Michael Shermer’s lecture “Why Darwin Matters: Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design” to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 207th birthday.

The event served as one of the keynote speeches for this year’s Darwin Week, the annual lecture series hosted by UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers (UNIFI). The lecture was held in the Center for Multicultural Education (CME).

Shermer is the founder of Skeptic Magazine, has hosted the television show “Exploring the Unknown,” is a successful TED talker and has also hosted  documentaries on the History Channel and Discovery Channel.

In the lecture, he discussed Darwin’s upbringing. Although Darwin grew up religious, it wasn’t until he was middle-aged that he fell away from his faith.  Shermer said he suspects that Darwin was on his way to losing his faith when his daughter passed away.

Shermer talked about Darwin’s voyage to the Galapagos Islands,  where Darwin began exploring the theory of evolution.

According to Darwin’s “The Origin of Species,” he believed that “there must be a struggle for existence” or many species would have gone extinct.

Shermer explained that all life needs to be able to change in order to adapt to their environment.

“All organisms change throughout time,” Shermer said.

He showed caricatures depicting the ways humans and monkeys are related to provide evidence for evolution.

Sophomore textiles and apparel major, Jordan Caruso, was one of the UNI students in attendance at Shermer’s lecture. He praised Shermer’s extensive knowledge on the subject.

“[Shermer] always had a response for everything,” Caruso said. “You could tell that he knows what he is talking about. I don’t like when you go to a lecture and people ask questions, and they say ‘I don’t know.’ It’s nice that he thoroughly got into his speech.”

A Darwin after-party was held at Beck’s following the event. Shermer attended to answer questions and continue discussing Darwin.