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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Security, freedom and human adapation: Issues and Experts

Security, freedom and human adapation: Issues and Experts

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January 07, 2004
Bracing for new security measures…An unprecedented security effort involving photographing and finger printing foreign visitors arriving at American airports and seaports will affect millions of travelers. The measures will be expanded later this year to include land borders, including those shared with Canada. Canadians are officially exempt from these measures, but they are likely to face increased demands to provide documentation proving citizenship, notes SFU historian Andre Gerolymatos. He specializes in military and security strategy. "The trouble with the kind of security legislation proposed is that it remains after a particular crisis is over, somewhat like the personal income tax, imposed during World War 1 as a temporary measure, did," says Gerolymatos. "The same absurdity applies to homeland security. It is a department borne out of frustration, that has achieved little. It is poor compensation for the U.S. failure to revamp its security services, which failed miserably on 9-11."

Free will: a biological reality or a philosophical concoction?…An internationally recognized modern day guru of philosophy will tackle this age-old question in two free public lectures at SFU hosted by the university’s Centre for Systems Science. Daniel Dennett brings scientists and philosophers, frequent foes on this topic, together with his unconventional view that Darwin’s theory of biological evolution explains the birth of both the human race and free will. Dennett is an Austin B. Fletcher professor of philosophy and director of the Centre for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He has written seven books and more than 100 articles about the workings of the human mind. On Friday, January 16, 7:30 p.m., SFU’s Centre for Systems Science will host Dennett’s lecture, Explaining the Magic of Consciousness, as part of the graduate liberal studies program’s Koerner lecture series. It takes place in the Fletcher Challenge Theatre (room 1900) at SFU’s Harbour Centre campus. Dennett will deliver Freedom Evolves, on Monday, January 19, 4:30 p.m. at C9001, Burnaby campus.

Tracing the logic of human adaptation…Given raging wars around the world, escalating human poverty and rising numbers of new diseases, humans appear to have lost their ability to adapt. But Charles Crawford, a professor emeritus of psychology at SFU, has built a career and discipline on his theory that humans never stop adapting even though the process can make them behave perversely. In one of 13 episodes of the Leading Edge: Innovation in B.C., science programming produced by the Knowledge Network, Crawford explains and demonstrates how the tenants of evolutionary psychology still dictate our survival. The half hour segment, Adaptation: Evolutionary Psychology, will air Tuesday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m. The series will eventually profile the work of John Clague, Kieran Egan, Mark Skinner and several other SFU professors.