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Program: Evolution and the Human Brain

Fred Brown, a graduate of University of Illinois with a first degree in electrical engineering, has written over 100 technical articles and believes firmly in lifelong learning.

His topic was Evolution and the Human Brain.  Starting with a very clear definition and explanation of evolution as gradual and progressive change, he explained that it is an established scientific fact and a fundamental part of creation.  The controversy lies in which theory best explains specific aspects of evolution.  Starting in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, Evolution is based on four elements: Heredity, Variation, Excess Replication, and Natural Selection.  Darwin’s great contribution was the idea of the Survival of the Fittest. 

Darwin drew on the work of Thomas Malthus who projected exponential population growth would cause serious detriment.  While Malthus saw predators and limits of natural food supply as checks on population growth in the natural world, humans are the exception. 

Darwin’s other significant work The Descent of Man published in 1871 goes beyond the explanation of survival of the fittest to sexual selection.

The program then discussed what makes Humankind a unique species.  First Homo Sapiens are the only species in the Homo genus.  Secondly, we engage in premeditated warfare, and have for millenia.  Thirdly, our brain is larger than needed for survival.  We are characterized by intelligence associated with our large brains.

He concluded by stressing the importance of meditation which he defined as true awareness of our consciousness leading to self-awareness.  This is the most important aspect of human life.  Quoting Lao Tzu he pointed out that the sage is concerned with our inner life, not the outer world.  Know Thyself.

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