The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 29, 2009

Different views of Cambrian Explosion subject of two events at museum tonight

Two opposing views of the fossil record will be presented tonight in two events at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

The natural history museum scheduled its own lecture on the Cambrian Explosion as "a direct response" to the scheduling of an event on the same topic by the student intelligent design club, said Krysten Marshall, public relations assistant for the museum.

The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Club rented the museum's Kerr Auditorium for a 7 p.m. screening of "Darwin's Dilemma," a short film that explores what is known as the Cambrian Explosion, the sudden appearance of dozens of major complex animal types in the fossil record without gradual evolutionary steps, according to a press release about the event.

The discussion afterward will feature Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of "Signature in the Cell," and Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of "Icons of Evolution."

The Sam Noble Museum, however, will contrast what is said at that event with its own presentation.

A free public lecture will begin at 5 p.m. by the museum's curator of invertebrate paleontology, Stephen Westrop, titled "The Cambrian Explosion and the Burgess Shale: No Dilemma for Darwin."

In this presentation, Wes-trop takes a look at recent research that gives us a new understanding of this evolutionary "explosion" of ocean life, according to a release from the museum. Marshall said Westrop will be available after the lecture to answer questions.

Monday night at a lecture at OU, Meyer said he thought the pairing of lectures was good because it allowed for the audience to get two views.

"I think it's great that students will be party to that," said Meyer, who earned his doctorate in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge. "That's what an academic experience is all about." He said he welcomes a chance to talk with others about what he has spent his life studying.

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