Saturday, September 19, 2009

Darwin, Darwin, Darwin!!

I'm so excited that University of Kentucky is going to be paying tribute to Charles Darwin this fall. This week Prof. V. Betty Smocovitis will be presenting a lecture titled Rhapsody on a Darwinian Theme: Darwin in Song in Musical Production." It will be on Thursday Sep. 24 in the Lexmark Rm in the Adm. Bldg at 3:30 pm. In October, the Gaines Center for the Humanities will present the 2009 Bale Boone Symposium. This is basically a week of Darwin related activities/lectures. On Oct. 16th, James Krupa from the department of biology will be presenting "What Is Evolution and Why Does it Matter?" On Oct 19th, Barry Werth will be presenting "Evolution in America: A Short History of the First 150 Years." On Oct 20th, Jonathan Gottschall from Washington and Jefferson College will present "Darwin in Wonderland: Evolution and the Science of Story." On Oct 21st, Kenneth R. Miller from Brown University will present "Is it Really Only a Theory?: Evolution and the Question of Design." On the last day, Oct 22, Adam Gopnik will present "Darwin's Two Times." All of these talks will be at UK's student center and will start at 6pm. Events are free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

This summer my husband and I listened to Malcolm Gladwell's most recent publication, Outliers. It is a phenomenal exploration of how opportunity, luck, and birth year create particularly good circumstances for one to succeed. The reason why I'm just now posting about it is because a friend who participates in a book club with me selected it as the book he wants to discuss next. I'm happy that I have the opportunity to revisit the work and the opportunity to go and purchase the paper version of it. It really excites me that someone out there is taking a sociological perspective on success. This work in particular is very well written and Gladwell does a good job of unpacking and demystifying success. I can't wait to re-read it and then get my hands (or ears) on Gladwell's next piece of work.

Jamie :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


A very interesting and controversial movie will be coming out soon: Creation. Here is the trailer.


First Bright's Meeting of the School Year

Yesterday was the first meeting of UK's Brights. For those of you who don't know what "Brights" are, please feel free to explore their website. The University of Kentucky is trying to gain more members in order to officially label themselves as a part of the "Bright" community. Right now it looks like we'll be mostly a discussion-based group even though I personally want to advocate for activism/recruitment, readings, and fundraising. At this meeting we talked about what encouraged us to question religion. I discussed being raised in a fairly religious household, being told that "women aren't supposed to be strong," and that women are expect to "do" certain things around the house as well as certain things for others. Many believe that women are supposed to be selfless individuals who "want" to take care of others, cook, clean, and have babies. Of course, many religions promote this type of thinking and reinforce static, dialectical sex-based role assignment rather than roles or positions based on independent desires. Personally, I do what I want. I do care about others, but only to the extent that I wish them to care about me and think men and women act similarly when it comes to this. I used to be very adamant about not having children, which in retrospect was a good thing. However, after finding a loving person who I wish to share my life with, I have changed my mind.

So why do I refuse to believe in the supernatural? First and foremost, science is about questioning, religion is about having faith, and questioning the world around me is much more productive and responsible. I also think acting in the name of a "God" is stupid--people should have real reasons to go to war, attack their enemies, and ultimately do what they choose to do. I think people confuse "what god wants them to do" with their own desires and/or the result of religious conditioning and how it has influenced them to do what they do.

I would like to encourage anyone who desires to question the world around him/her to join us for our next meeting. Please contact me if you want the specific meeting information.