The British Humanist Association (BHA) last night held its first annual Holyoake Lecture in Manchester with Professor Steve Jones giving a lecture where he asked ‘Is Human Evolution Over?’ The lecture was chaired by The Guardian’s science correspondent James Randerson.
Professor Jones, a distinguished supporter of the BHA, argued that one of the primary causes of the slowing of human evolution is the declining number of older fathers, especially in western countries. Human evolution depends on the division and chance of mutation of cells. The older the man, the greater the number of cell divisions and chances of mutation.
Professor Jones concluded that human evolution is over for now in the West.
Questions fielded with intelligence and wit by Professor Jones following his talk included: those on gene therapy; whether male selection or female selection determines what matings occur; whether competition for food is over as a factor in the West; nature as opposed to nurture and the promiscuity of voles; and the role of disease immunities in human evolution.
The Holyoake lecture is a new fixture in the BHA’s annual lecture programme, which also includes the Voltaire, Bentham and Darwin lectures.
For information about future BHA events, visit humanism.org.uk/meet-up/events
The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious and campaigning for an end to religious privilege and discrimination based on religion or belief.