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Martin Nowak: God and Evolution

Date of Lecture: March 18, 2013

Martin NowakAbout the Speaker: Martin Nowak is professor of biology and of mathematics at Harvard University, where he directs the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. Among his major discoveries are: the mechanism of HIV disease progression, the first mathematical approach for studying the evolution of human language, the first quantification of the in vivo kinetics of a human cancer, and the five rules for the evolution of cooperation. At the moment, he is working on "prelife," which is a formal approach to study the origin of evolution. He has published over 300 papers in scientific journals and is the author of "Virus Dynamics" (Oxford University Press, 2000), "Evolutionary Dynamics" (Harvard University Press, 2206) and "SuperCooperators" (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and the forthcoming "Evolution, Games and God: The Principle of Cooperation" (Harvard University Press, 2013).

About the talk: Prof. Nowak begins his talk with a timeline for the universe and an explanation of the evolutionary process. He proposes that cooperation is the third fundamental principle of evolution after mutation and selection. Nowak then addresses the tension between science and religion and suggests that evolution poses as little a problem for religion as gravity. "Evolutionary theory attempts to describe the fundamental laws of nature," he states, "which God instantiates to unfold life."

This lecture is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Watch the lecture below or download it free from iTunes U.