Does Culture Evolve?

5 April 2019

Venue: Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.

Language:           This lecture will be held in English

Venue:                 Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Lange St. Agnietenstraat 10, Leiden

Start:                    19.00

Entrance:            Free, but registration required


Ever since Darwin, scientists have wondered about the parallels between biological evolution and cultural change. Darwin thought, for instance, that words and languages are as much subject to a struggle for existence as elephants and trees are. However, does the same apply to culture in general? To rituals, agricultural practices and art? To tweets and fake news? To science? Does it make sense to approach these realms of culture by means of methods originating in biology? Cultural Darwinians think it does, others heartily disagree.

The public event “Does culture evolve?” provides an accessible introduction to recent advances in this debate. A line-up of internationally acclaimed researchers will critically discuss the supposed cultural habits of fruitflies, Darwinian approaches to the study of religion, the spread and evolution of fake news, and general arguments for and against the Darwinization of culture.

This public lecture is part of the Lorentz Center workshop ‘Probing the Foundations of Cultural Evolution’, which takes place 1-5 April 2019.

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave is the Dutch National Museum for the History of Science and Medicine. Its aim is to improve the societal support base for science in the Netherlands. Rijksmuseum Boerhaave always seeks to connect its activities with current events.

The Lorentz Center

The Lorentz Center is a Dutch workshop center, located at Leiden University. It organizes international scientific workshops in all disciplines, to promote innovative research at the scientific frontiers as well as on complex societal challenges. (


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