Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture

Public event: Does Culture Evolve?

Date
Friday 5 April 2019
Time
Explanation
Free entrance, registration required
Location
Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
Lange St. Agnietenstraat 10
2312 WC Leiden
Room
Einstein room

Ever since Darwin, scientists have wondered about the parallels between biological evolution and cultural change. Darwin thought, for instance, that words and languages are as much subject to a struggle for existence as elephants and trees are. However, does the same apply to culture in general? To rituals, agricultural practices and art? To tweets and fake news? To science? Does it make sense to approach these realms of culture by means of methods originating in biology? Cultural Darwinians think it does, others heartily disagree.

The public event “Does culture evolve?” provides an accessible introduction to recent advances in this debate. A line-up of internationally acclaimed researchers will critically discuss the supposed cultural habits of fruitflies, Darwinian approaches to the study of religion, the spread and evolution of fake news, and general arguments for and against the Darwinization of culture.

This public event is organized together by the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and the Lorentz Center. It is an outreach event of the scientific Lorentz Center workshop ‘Probing the Foundations of Cultural Evolution’, which takes place 1-5 April 2019.

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