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The University of Alabama

UA’s ALLELE Lecturers to Discuss How Human Coercion Has Shaped Evolution

Paul Bingham

Paul Bingham

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Paul Bingham and Dr. Joanne Souza, two leading scholars on the human origins problem, will visit The University of Alabama to give the lecture “What Human Evolution Can Teach Us about Our Anatomy, Sexuality, Behavior, History, and Politics” Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Biology Building auditorium on the UA campus.

The lecture is part of Alabama’s Lecture on Life’s Evolution Series. Known as ALLELE, this interdisciplinary lecture series is organized by UA’s Evolution Working Group. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bingham and Souza will speak on the development of the social coercion theory, which they developed together as part of a decade-long collaboration that resulted in the publication of their book “Death from a Distance and the Birth of a Humane Universe.”

Their theory suggests that the ultimate origins of all cooperative organic units, such as human groups, ant colonies, or genomes, lies in the capacity for individual components making up those units to individually, adaptively project coercive threat.

During their lecture Bingham and Souza will explore how the powerful social coercion theory of human uniqueness accounts for our evolution, behavior and history. This approach not only lends transparency to all kinds of human behaviors, but it also provides a potentially empowering theory for the global community to follow a more humane and enriched path going forward.

Bingham received his doctorate from Harvard in 1980 in biochemistry and molecular biology. He runs a cancer research lab at Stony Brook University with Zuzana Zachar, a professor who is the director of the masters in education in biology program there.  Bingham’s theoretical work on human origins, properties and history has also led to a variety of ongoing educational projects.

Joanne Souza

Joanne Souza

Souza is a psychologist with research interests in the evolution of social fear and its effects on human health, learning and welfare. She is a faculty member and lecturer at Stony Brook University and has founded and directs the Biology Online program in the department of biochemistry and cell biology.

While on campus, Bingham and Souza will also give a talk to the department of anthropology titled, “Unexpected Connections Between Anthropology, Archaeology, and Human Evolution,” Friday, March 1 at 3 p.m. in room 232 of Gordon Palmer Hall.

The 2012-2013 ALLELE series is supported by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors College, Blount Undergraduate Initiative, New College, educational studies in psychology, research methodology and counseling, and the departments of anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, English, gender and race studies, geological sciences, history, philosophy, psychology, and telecommunications and film.

The ALLELE lecture series is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.