Panel will examine the intersection of public policy, economics, & evolution

Please join us for a roundtable discussion Monday, Nov. 16, 10-11:30am

When: Monday November 16, 2009, 10-11:30am

Where: NESCent, 2024 W. Main St., Durham, NC 27705, Erwin Mill Bldg, Suite A103


What do public policy and economics have to do with evolutionary theory? A lot, say participants in an upcoming meeting at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, NC.

Nearly 30 scholars, policymakers, and entrepreneurs from both the academic and the business worlds will gather at the NESCent headquarters November 13-16, 2009. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss how evolutionary theory can contribute new insights to regulatory problems such as financial reform, environmental regulation, and the regulation of between-group conflict.

Leading experts in the fields of evolutionary biology, economics, law, psychology, and political science will participate in the discussion. The meeting organizer is Dr. David Sloan Wilson, professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University in New York.

To learn more, please join us for a public panel discussion on Monday, Nov. 16th from 10-11:30am at the NESCent headquarters in Durham.

David Sloan Wilson

Meeting organizer David Sloan Wilson (shown left) will present the results of the meeting, followed by a roundtable discussion with several of the participants and video commentary from Harvard evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson. Students, faculty, reporters and members of the general public are invited to attend. Questions and comments are welcome.

NESCent Catalysis Meetings bring together 30-40 participants from diverse disciplines to focus on major questions related to evolutionary biology. This Catalysis Meeting is a collaboration between NESCent and the Evolution Institute, a newly formed think tank for informing public policy from an evolutionary perspective.


For more information please contact Robin Smith at 919-668-4544 or


About the panelists:

David Sloan Wilson

Dr. Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of EvoS, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (Chicago, 2002) and Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives (Bantam, 2007).

Dennis Embry
Dr. Embry is a scientist-entrepreneur who is president of PAXIS Institute in Tucson, AZ. His scholarly writing focuses on social change applied to large population-level change— integrating brain, behavioral, and evolutionary factors. He is a former National Research Advisory Council Senior Fellow in the Commonwealth, recipient of the science to practice award in 2006 by the Society for Prevention Research, and author of multiple manuals and training efforts for social change. He is currently preparing a new popular book and TV program for PBS entitled, “Youthanasia: How modern culture is slowly killing our youth and what can be done.”

John Gowdy
Dr. Gowdy is Rittenhouse Professor of Humanities and Social Science, Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He is past president of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics and is President-Elect of the International Society for Ecological Economics. His current research interests include climate change, biodiversity valuation, behavioral economics, evolutionary economics, and new directions in microeconomic theory. His recent books are Microeconomic Theory Old and New: A Students Guide, Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature, co-authored with Carl McDaniel, Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: A Reader on Hunter-Gatherer Economics and the Environment, and Frontiers in Ecological Economic Theory and Application, co-edited with Jon Erickson.

Douglas Kenrick
Dr. Kenrick is Professor of Social Psychology at Arizona State University. At a theoretical level, his work integrates ideas from three great syntheses of the last few decades: evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and dynamical systems theory. Kenrick has edited several books on evolutionary psychology, contributed chapters to the Handbook of Social Psychology and the Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, and been an author of two multi-edition textbooks (Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction, with Steve Neuberg and Bob Cialdini, now in its 5th edition).

Joel Peck

Dr. Peck is an Evolutionary Theorist working at the University of Sussex. Much of Joel’s work focuses on the evolution of social behaviour, and particularly on the way that social structures evolve. This, in turn, leads to the identification of situations that tend to encourgage cooperative (or altruistic) behaviour. Joel has also worked on a variety of other problems in evolutionary biology, including the origin of life and the evolution of sexual reproduction. At present, Joel is focussed on using the formal theory of information to address a variety of evolutionary problems.

Peter Turchin

Dr. Turchin is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. Peter was trained as a population biologist and is now applying his theoretical and empirical skills to develop the field of Cliodynamics–the quantitative study of human history. His books include Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall and War and Peace and War: The Life Cycle of Imperial Nations.

Harvey Whitehouse

Dr. Whitehouse is Professor of Anthropology at University of Oxford. He is Head of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, and a Fellow of Magdalen College. Whitehouse is the author of Modes of Religiosity: a cognitive theory of religious transmission and recently edited Religion, Anthropology and Cognitive Science.