Bryan Gitschlag is a biologist with a unique background that has involved approaching controversial subjects from opposite perspectives. Raised in a conservative religious environment, and having once started a petition to introduce creationism into Wisconsin classrooms, he is now an openly-LGBT atheist who advocates for skepticism and science literacy. Bryan is currently working on a PhD in biological sciences at Vanderbilt University, where he studies the molecular basis of genetic conflict in the mitochondrial genome.
[Workshop] Darwinian Demons: How evolution brings out the worst in us and what to do about it!
We live in the age of global communication, space exploration, and historically high rates of literacy and life expectancy. However, many problems from the past continue to affect us today: prejudice, echo chambers, and their effects on political polarization. These anachronisms exist largely because biological evolution lags behind cultural evolution; we approach problems in the modern world using brains that were adapted to survive on the savannah. This workshop will review the link between evolution, neuroscience, and contemporary social issues, with an emphasis on how this information can help us break open echo chambers and facilitate better communication with those that do not share our values.