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LIVE from the NYPL: How Far Can Darwin Take Us? Adam Gopnik with Steven Pinker

May 20, 2009

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Adam Gopnik, author of Angels & Ages, A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life and Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and many other works, will discuss a fundamental question: How far can Darwin take us as a guide to why we are the way we are?

Both outspoken appreciators of Darwin, Adam Gopnik and Steven Pinker will compare their visions—perhaps complementary, perhaps contrasting—of what Darwin’s legacy is on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth.

About Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1986. In 2000, he began writing New York Journal, about culture and daily life in New York City. He previously spent five years in Paris, writing Paris Journal, a similar column about the life of an expatriate in Paris. Gopnik is the author of Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, and Through the Children’s Gate. In 1998, he received the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting for his Paris Journal. Before he came to The New Yorker he was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf and a fiction editor at GQ. In 1990, Gopnik co-curated an exhibition entitled “High and Low: ModernArt and Popular Culture” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, with the museum’s director, Kirk Varnedoe. He also co-authored the book under the same title.

About Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the American Psychological Association. He is the author of The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate, and writes frequently for The New Republic and The New York Times. He has been named Humanist of the Year, and is listed in Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine's “The World's Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and in Time magazine's “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” His latest book is The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.