David Quammen & Mary-Jane Rubenstein

November 24, 2019

Biologists from the 19th Century well into the 20th Century have often pictured the evolution of life as an ever branching tree. The roots symbolized some prehistoric simple organism, while the crown and upper branches represented “higher life” like the vertebrates. Of course, humans were at the highest branches. But recent biological research has shown that the Tree of Life is not so simple and terms like “horizontal gene transfer” and “infective heredity” have changed the way we think about what constitutes a species, how evolution occurs, and even ourselves. In this episode of Inquiry, we welcome science writer David Quammen. He will be talking about his new book The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life.

In this episode of Inquiry we talk with Mary-Jane Rubenstein. She is a professor of religion; feminist, gender, and sexuality studies; and science in society at Wesleyan University. Her latest book is about the history of the much-maligned idea of pantheism. Is pantheism the same as atheism? Why should feminists be interested in pantheism? What about the problem of evil in pantheism? Rubenstein’s book is Panthologies: Gods, Worlds, & Monsters.




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