Ever since Darwin, scientists have wondered about the parallels between biological evolution and cultural change. Darwin thought, for instance, that words and languages are as much subject to a struggle for existence as elephants and trees are. However, does the same apply to culture in general? To rituals, agricultural practices and art? To tweets and fake news? Does it make sense to approach the realms of culture with methods originating in biology? Cultural Darwinians think it does, others heartily disagree.

The public event “Does culture evolve?” provides an accessible introduction to recent advances in this debate. A line-up of internationally acclaimed researchers will share the cultural habits of fruitflies and Darwinian approaches to the study of religion. We perform a live experiment on the spread of fake news, and finish with a discussion on the Darwinization of culture. We would like to hear what you think as well! The event is free, including museum entrance and drinks after

This public event is organized together by the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and the Lorentz Center. It is an outreach event of the scientific Lorentz Center workshop ‘Probing the Foundations of Cultural Evolution’, which takes place 1-5 April 2019.

The mission of Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, the Dutch National Museum for the History of Science and Medicine, is to increase public support for science in the Netherlands. The Museum’s activities are always designed to connect with current issues.

The Lorentz Center is a workshop center located at Leiden University. The Center organizes international workshops in all scientific disciplines, with the aim of promoting innovative and pioneering research, often relating to complex societal challenges. See www.lorentzcenter.nl for more information.

The organizers of the event received the generous support of the Netherlands Organisation for
Scientific Research (NWO).

Date:  5 April 2019, at 19:00
Language: English
Location: Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Lange Sint Agnietenstraat 10, Leiden
Entrance: Free, but registration required
Information: e.boon@tue.nl

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