Category Archives: The Virtual University

September 25, 2017

Evolutionary Geneticists Spot Natural Selection Happening Now in People

Everyone who’s been through high school knows about Darwin and natural selection. It’s difficult to study how it works while we’re experiencing it, but we now have some idea of how natural selection is affecting humans.

Human evolution can seem like a phenomenon of the distant past which applies only to our ancestors living millions of years ago. But human evolution is ongoing. To evolve simply means that mutations — the accidental changes to genes that happen normally in the process of copying DNA — are becoming more or less common in the population over time.

These changes can happen by chance, because the individuals who reproduced happened to carry a particular mutation somewhat more often than individuals who didn’t have children. They can also happen because of natural selection, when carriers of a specific mutation are better able to survive, reproduce, or tend to their family members — and therefore leave more descendants. Every biological adaptation, from the ability of humans to walk upright on two feet to flight in birds, ultimately traces back to natural selection acting on these minute changes, generation after generation.

So humans are definitely still evolving. The question is whether we are still adapting: are individuals who carry harmful mutations living less long, reproducing less — ultimately leaving fewer descendants? For instance, terrible eyesight may have been a major survival disadvantage living on the savanna, but with glasses and laser surgery, it’s unlikely to prevent people from living a long life today. How commonly then are mutations under selection in contemporary humans?

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September 22, 2017

Ian Morris | Why the West Rules — For Now (Video)

Ian Morris, Professor of History at Stanford University, lecture Why the West Rules — For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future at the Oriental Institute on October 2, 2013.

September 20, 2017

Are Some Cultures Better than Others? (Video)

Are some cultures better than others? Or are all cultures and their values equal? Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza, who was born in India and moved to America, explains.

Original source.

September 14, 2017

“Two incompatible sacred values in American universities” Jon Haidt, Hayek Lecture Series (Video)

On October 6, 2016, Professor Jonathan Haidt gave a Hayek Lecture at Duke. The event was co-sponsored by the programs in the History of Political Economy (HOPE), Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE), and American Values and Institutions (AVI). The event was open to the public, but also served as a guest lecture in Professor Jonathan Anomaly’s PPE course.

September 12, 2017

If You Live in Freedom, Thank the British Empire (Video)

Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.

September 8, 2017

The Future of European Civilization: Lessons for America (Video)

America has much to learn from Europe’s current condition. The decline in religious faith has led to a universal weakening of European society and a loss of confidence in the value of its civilization. And the effects have been grave: throngs of unassimilated immigrants, military threats from abroad, and confusion about national identity. America, by contrast, still shows many signs of strength. Nonetheless, should we lose our sense of shared identity, Europe’s path likely awaits. What can Americans learn from Europe? Does America have hidden strengths which, if properly used, will allow us to avoid a similar fate? And are there areas in which Europe is faring better than we are?

September 7, 2017

Winston Churchill’s Worst Mistake That We Are Still Paying For (2004) – Video

Christopher Catherwood (born 1 March 1955) is a British author based in Cambridge, England and, often, in Richmond, Virginia. He has taught for the Institute of Continuing Education based a few miles away in Madingley and has taught for many years for the School of Continuing Education at the University of Richmond. He has been associated each summer with the University of Richmond’s History Department, where he is its annual summer Writer in Residence, and where most of his recent books have been written.

September 1, 2017

Biblical Series XII: The Great Sacrifice: Abraham and Isaac (Video)

In this, the final lecture of the Summer 2017 12-part series The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories, we encounter, first, Hagar’s banishment to the desert with Ishmael and then the demand made by God to Abraham for the sacrifice of Isaac. To sacrifice now is to gain later: perhaps the greatest of human discoveries. What, then, should best be sacrificed? And what might be the greatest gain? There are few eternal questions more profound and difficult.

August 31, 2017

Roger Scruton: How Fake Subjects like Women Studies Invaded Academia (Video)

Sir Roger Vernon Scruton is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views. In recent years he taught courses in Buckingham University, Oxford University and University of St. Andrews.

August 24, 2017

Biblical Series XI: Sodom and Gomorrah – Jordan Peterson (Video)

Often interpreted as an injunction against homosexuality (particularly by those simultaneously claiming identity as Christians and opposed to that orientation), the stories of the angels who visit Abraham, bless him, and then rain destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah are more truly a warning against mistreatment of the stranger and impulsive, dysregulated, sybaritic conduct.