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Origins Project debates to tackle violence, humanity and the future

ASU professor Lawrence Krauss speaking onstage
April 02, 2014

Two great issues of society are violence and the future. How can we overcome our violent tendencies, and how can we make for a better future for ourselves and our species? The Origins Project at ASU will tackle both issues in one evening.

A limited number of tickets (free and for sale) remain for the Origins Project Great Debates on “Transcending our Origins: Violence, Humanity and the Future,” 7 p.m., April 5, Gammage Auditorium.

“The Origins Project was created to address foundational questions across all disciplines, and inaugurated five years ago this weekend with an all-day event at Gammage auditorium," said Lawrence Krauss, Origins Project director. “This weekend’s event provides a perfect anniversary, bringing together several major themes of continuing interest to the Origins Project, including 'How can an understanding of human origins help us better understand our behavior and the organization of society?' and 'How can an understanding of origins help better prepare us for the future?'

“We have brought together a stellar group of scholars and public intellectuals to address these topics, and in so doing provoke, inspire, entertain and educate,” he added. “It will be a memorable evening for anyone interested in the forefronts of science and technology, and how these impact the human experience.”

At 7 p.m. Origins will hold the first Great Debate, titled “The Origins of Violence.” Panelists include noted scholars and writers like experimental psychologist Steven Pinker; primatologist Richard Wrangham; political scientist Erica Chenoweth; psychologist Adrian Raine; international relations scholar John Mueller; and Sarah Mathew, of ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. They will discuss the development of violence from the brain to world wars.

The second panel, which will begin at approximately 8:40 p.m., is titled “The Future: From Medicine and Synthetic Biology to Machine Intelligence.” It will feature scientists and notable experts such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; biologist and entrepreneur Craig Venter; science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson; investor and former journalist Esther Dyson; distinguished scientist Eric Horvitz of Microsoft; science executive George Poste of ASU; and physician and evolutionary biologist Randy Nesse of ASU. They will talk about the future of new biomedical and robotic technologies and their impact on humanity.

Lawrence Krauss will moderate the evening.

A small number of free tickets are still available to the ASU community. You must present a valid ASU ID at the Gammage Box Office for these tickets.

There also are tickets available online through, and at the ASU Gammage Box Office, at (480) 965-3434.