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This version of NSU News has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of NSU News, visit news.nova.edu.

This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

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Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

nova.edu/prmc

SharkBytes Archives

Contact

Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954
communications@nova.edu

Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins Speaks to Hundreds at NSU

The Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Division of Math, Science, and Technology welcomed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, D.Phil., to NSU on Feb. 17 as part of the college’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 800 NSU students, faculty, and members of the community, Dawkins—a vocal critic of creationism (the religious belief that the universe was created by a deity)—presented a slide show of pictures and video that he titled “The Fact of Your Own Existence.”

“Before [Charles] Darwin, the belief was if it looked designed, it must have been designed,” Dawkins said. “Darwin discovered the alternative to chance and design.”

The biologist illustrated this with a take on Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” concept. Dawkins displayed photos of an impala (antelope) and a lion. As the predator, “the lion is out to get the impala,” Dawkins said, making the impala prey. However, the impala is also out to evade the lion and survive. “If the impala escapes, the lion can starve,” thus also making the impala a predator to the lion.

Dawkins questioned why a creator would design creatures to exist this way, adding that “natural selection has no interest in happiness or pain. Natural selection simply favors survival.”

Dawkins concluded his talk by reading excerpts of his 2009 best-selling book, The Greatest Show on Earth. In the preface, he describes the book as his “personal summary of the evidence that the ‘theory’ of evolution is actually a fact—as incontrovertible a fact as any in science.”

Prior to his talk, Dawkins met with a group of undergraduate Honors and biology students from the college for a student seminar. In the days leading up to the keynote presentation, the college’s divisions hosted companion events to discuss Dawkins and themes related to his work.

On Feb. 14, the Division of Math, Science, and Technology hosted a faculty panel titled “Kin You Spell M-E-M-E?: The Research and Impact of Richard Dawkins” and the Division of Humanities hosted a panel titled “Inheriting Inherit the Wind: The Separation of Religion and Education.” On Feb. 15, the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences presented a faculty panel titled “A Tempest in Russell’s Teapot? Science, Religion, and Atheism.” 

Visit the college’s photo gallery to view photos from Dawkins’s talk.

On Mar. 24, the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences will welcome its next Distinguished Speaker, neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D.