« April 2012 »

Wed Apr 4, 2012

Tue Apr 10, 2012

Mark Largent. "Vaccine Anxieties: The Modern American Vaccine Debate"


Location: 319 DeBartolo Hall

Mark Largent
James Madison College, Michigan State University

Nearly 40% of American parents have refused or delayed at least one routine vaccination for their children. Parents commonly cite concerns that vaccines might cause autism, but scientists and physicians have stridently rejected any connection. The vaccine-autism debate is a proxy debate, and behind it looms a number of serious and sometimes intractable problems with the modern vaccination schedule. This talk will describe the emergence of the modern American vaccine debate and uncover some of the concerns that animate parents' anxieties about vaccines.…

Wed Apr 11, 2012

Wed Apr 18, 2012

Susan Hackwood. "Science, Values, and Public Policy"


Location: 217 DeBartolo Hall

Susan Hackwood
Executive Director of the California Council of Science and Technology
"Science, Values, and Public Policy"

The intersection between science and technology, and public policy is a fascinating world. Decisions made by policy makers have an enormous impact on our life – think of the economy, healthcare, education, the environment, safety and security. Policy decisions most often have a science or technology component that policy makers and their staff are simply not trained to handle. Asking an expert is not enough. Clear communication, trust and accountability are paramount to science advising. A technical topic is inherently difficult to explain, not just because of the knowledge of the listener, but also because policy makers are looking for a “one handed answer”, not an “on the other hand”. Also, the scientific method does not take into account very real personal feelings such as outrage, irrational hope or groupthink.…

Thu Apr 19, 2012

Sarah Parker. "Beyond Bacon: From Scientific Theory to Practical Medicine in Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia Epidemica"


Location: 126 DeBartolo Hall

Sarah Parker
Ph.D. Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

English physician and author Thomas Browne has often been heralded as one of the first medical authors to take up the philosophy of science Bacon proposed in his Advancement of Learning (1605) and Novum Organon (1620). In book two of Advancement, where Bacon outlines his theory of the idols, he calls for a “Kalender of popular Errors, […] chiefly, in natural Historie such as passe in speech & conceit, and are neverthelesse apparently detected and convicted of untruth” (AL, 2I2r 35-36). By the middle of the century, Thomas Browne was working on, publishing, and continually expanding his Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, enquiries into very many received tenents and commonly presumed truths

Mon Apr 23, 2012

Scott Shackelford. Reilly Forum: "Cyber War and Peace"


Location: 210-214 McKenna Hall

Scott Shackelford Kelley School of Busines, Indiana University
Is cyber peace possible?  If so, what might it look like?

Shackelford will analyze the merits and drawbacks of the emerging “polycentric” approach to cybersecurity that includes both the public and private sectors with regulation occurring at multiple levels. One component of cyber peace is defining state responsibility for cyber attacks. At a time in which the unchecked sovereign authority of states is being challenged across many arenas, state responsibility remains a key component of international security. But the speed and anonymity of cyber attacks makes proving state responsibility difficult. Prof. Shackelford will analyze potential legal regimes of state responsibility for cyber attacks, and speak more generally about the applicability of international law and relations to conceptualizing cybersecurity and fostering cyber peace.

Tue Apr 24, 2012

Sir Patrick Bateson. "The Active Role of Behaviour in Evolution"


Location: 283 Galvin Life Sciences Building

Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS Professor of Ethology (Emeritus),
Cambridge University and President of the Zoological Society of London

Abstract: The orthodox position about biological evolution, still clung to by many, is that changes in genetic organization produce phenotypes that might or might not have a selective advantage over others.  Those organisms that survive and reproduce are essentially passive in the evolutionary process.  In opposition to this view much evidence suggests that a variety of processes operating in the life-time of the individual influence actively the evolution of its descendants.  These include dispersal, choice, control of the environment and developmental plasticity.  In this talk I shall review some of the evidence that requires a fresh approach to biological evolution.…

Mon Apr 30, 2012

Sarah Parker. "'More than dust & ashes’: Medicine and Autobiography in John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions"


Location: TBA

Sarah Parker
Ph.D. Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

‘More than dust & ashes’: Medicine and Autobiography in John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
The speaker of Donne’s Devotions (1624), reflects at length on his experience with illness. Though this text frequently references the concerns, admonitions and diagnosis of the physicians attending the ailing patient, the Devotions does not allow these figures a voice. By avoiding direct quotation of his attendant physicians, the speaker mediates and even effaces medical explanations for his suffering. I argue that the absenting of medical rhetoric allows the suffering speaker to emphasize his individuality by narrativizing his illness in strictly spiritual terms. The Devotions undermines the physicians’ authority by trumping the generalizations of corporeal diagnosis that medicine offers with special claims to a spiritual experience of suffering as a process of punishment and atonement for past sins.