Leading into the 2009 celebration of Darwin's birth and the separate anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, Stanford University held, in the final months of 2008, a 10 week lecture course on Darwin and his legacy.
These lectures, given by distinguished and notable experts in their respective fields, have now been uploaded to youtube, including the discussion panels that follow each lecture and the highly informative Q&A sessions.
It is no exaggeration to say this is a phenomenal opportunity to have access to instructive material from leading thinkers on evolution and the impact of evolutionary thought on a multitude of disciplines.
Now, a word of caution: each file, including the lecture, discussion and Q&A is up to 2 hours long. So set some time aside to give these videos the attention they deserve and enjoy them because they really are wonderful and absolutely worth the time spent to listen closely
On a personal note, I've been listening to them at night before bed and I've just completed Dan Dennet's quiet amazing lecture drawing out the links in philosophical discourse between the "strange inversion" of evolution and comparing this to similar events in computer technology and the parallels that are to be found between this and evolution in nature.
So I confess, I have not watched these all before-hand as I type this, but quite honestly if the next six are even half as good as the first four (especially Eugenie Scott's perfect explication of the three domains in the Q&A following her lecture) I shall be extremely pleased. And it is my simple pleasure to upload these to the Origins group so that you can share in this, and I hope that you can derive as much enjoyment and insight from it as I feel I have already so far.
Lecture 1: "Darwin's Own Evolution" with Robert Siegel and "Darwin's Data" with William Durham
Lecture 2: "Evolution vs. Creationism" with Eugenie Scott.
Lecture 3: "A biography on Charles Darwin" with Janet Browne
Lecture 4: "The philosophical importance of Darwin's theory of evolution." with Dan Dennett
Lecture 5: "How and why species multiply: speciation and hybridisation." with Peter and Rosemary Grant.
Lecture 6: "Darwin's life and work" with Niles Eldredge
Lecture 7: "The history and consequences of social Darwinism" with Melissa Brown
Lecture 8: "Darwin's legacy in medicine and infectious disease" with Paul Ewald.
Lecture 9: "Evolution, Brain and Behaviour" with Russell Fernald
Lecture 10: "Learning to see Darwinian ways of meaning" with George Levine
Just a thought though, each video ends with an invocation that the material presented is copyrighted to Stanford, so not sure what that will do to your dvd burning ambitions but something to bear in mind.
I'm not going to make it to London for the 12th sadly, but I do have reason to attend a wedding there on the 14th, so am going to stop over and go visit the Darwin exhibit in the NHM and possible his grave at Westminster*. I'm sure no-one would begrudge me the minor delay of three days.
I've not yet watched 6, but I too and working my way through them, and they have been brilliant, I really hope you get something out of them.
*and if anyone would like to join me, I'd welcome the company.
I finally got round to watching the sixth lecture - a fascinating insight into the apparent workings of his mind leading up to during and beyond the voyage of the beagle. The contention is that Darwin was more of a transmutationist (precursor to evolution the idea that species were not stable and fixed but changed) and through interpreting the welth of texts relating to this era, Eldredge puts over his idea of Darwin "experimenting" before writing "The Origin". Like Aniket Kanade (reply 6), I suspect I'm experiencing that unusual sensation of realising I understood less than I had supposed.