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Wiens to address evolution, peacemaking in Faculty Seminar lecture

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Peacemaking and evolution will be the topic of the first presentation of the 2008-09 school year’s Faculty Seminar series at Bethel College.

A. Wayne Wiens, professor of biology, will address the question “Is peacemaking in our genes and our evolution?” Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel. Note the change in time from previous Faculty Seminar events.

“Is there an irreconcilable conflict between our genetics and our hopes to live as a human community?” Wiens said. “For more than a century since Darwin, the primary images evoked by evolution are of heartless, violent and selfish competition. If humans are products of such dark processes, what hope is there for our peaceable aspirations?

“The talk will show flaws in these views,” Wiens continued, “which are being changed by contemporary research about how evolution actually works and how cooperation and altruism can evolve in social species, including humans and other primates.”

Wiens, who retires fully at the end of this school year, has been on the Bethel College faculty since 1960. He has degrees from Bethel, the University of Kansas and Northwestern University.

The other Faculty Seminar presenters for 2008-09 are Don Lemons, professor of physics, and Mark Jantzen, associate professor of history, with details to be announced. All presentations are in the Administration Building chapel, with no admission charge.

Faculty Seminar provides a forum for presenting the achievements of the Bethel College faculty to the larger campus community. Recent dissertations, books, papers and fine arts productions usually form the core of the presented material. Sessions last approximately 90 minutes and include critical and wide-ranging discussion following each presentation. Students and interested members of the community are welcome at all sessions.

The Bethel College Faculty Seminar series is supported in part by the Earl and Meta Leisy Eymann Endowment. For more information, contact Faculty Seminar director Nathan Bartel at (316) 284-5240 or e-mail

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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