Cork Skeptics

Promoting Reason, Science & Critical Thinking in Cork City & Beyond

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All in the Genes? Marcin’s talk in full.

Last night, Dr. Marcin Szczerbinski gave a talk on genes and the role that they play in determining our personalities, our mental faculties and the quality of our lives. It was a fascinating lecture that brings the “Nature vs Nurture” debate right up to date. Marcin presents his talk as a hypothesis, but in doing so he brought us on a tour of the key research that tells us something about the influence of genes in our lives. The various strands of research – via twin studies, animal studies and genetic studies – show a strong linkage between our genes and our traits. They also show that genes do not necessarily impose limits on our abilities, and that “inherited” does not mean “immutable”. The environment, as it were, raises (or lowers) all boats, providing the means to correct, improve or impose restrictions on our natural talents and inclinations.

Using Google Hangout, we broadcasted this talk live to YouTube, and the full recording of the meeting is presented below. Marcin’s talk begins at the 29 minute mark. We’d love to hear some feedback from you on what you taught about the talk, whether this format works for you, and any improvements you would like to see.





BBC Horizon’s “Science Under Attack”

Last week, Nobel Prize winner Paul Nurse presented a programme called “Science Under Attack” on the BBC’s flagship Horizon science programme. It tackled some of the major disconnects between science and the public opinion, stressing that scientists need to be much more active in getting their message out to the public. It focuses mainly on the Climategate saga, while touching on AIDS denial and the GM Foods controversy.

The interview with James Delingpole was bizarre. His view is that Peer Review should be opened up to everyone just doesn’t make any sense. Surely, if a scientific paper is written, the best people to determine its worth are other scientists working in the same field? Not, according to “interpreter of interpretations”, Mr. Delingpole.

If you missed it last week, it’s available on YouTube. It’s well worth a look if you have the time. It’s in 6 parts, listed in order below.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6