Books and Bridges: The Sanctity of Complexity

Steven Peck, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Brigham Young University, will explore the beauty and complexity of the evolutionary process. Based on a career of study and observation, he will show how life is a relationship among various kinds of agents interacting at different scales in ways that are multifarious, complex, and emergent. Life, therefore, is always part of an ecological embedding in communities of interaction, which in turn structure and influence how life evolves. Evolution is essential for understanding life and biodiversity. Dr. Peck will discuss three areas that have once again become relevant in the effort to unite evolutionary genetics, biological development, and ecological context: (1) the purposeful nature of individual organisms and their parts; (2) the integrative, holistic, non-linear emergent dynamics seen in evolutionary processes; and (3) how genuine novelty emerges into the universe. Peck will then put this complexity under the microscope of sacred understandings, examining evolutionary questions with theological light and weighing whether the two approaches are compatible.

A Q&A and refreshments will follow. The lecture is free, open to the public, and made possible by a grant from Utah Humanities.

This event is organized by Books & Bridges — a community institute of ideas and conversation. Our mission is to facilitate discussion on the best of human thought. We explore the wisdoms of the world and apply them to modern life. We have no political, religious or ideological affiliation. In a society divided by uncivil discourse, the beauty of the humanities—novels, history, philosophy, poetry, ethics and epics—lifts us to our better angels. In our busy world we need space for friends and fellow learners to do a little more heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind.

Event date: 
Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
607 Trolley Square
Salt Lake City, UT 84102