Sean B. Carroll

On this date in 1960, Sean B. Carroll was born in Toledo, Ohio. (He is not to be mistaken with cosmologist Sean M. Carroll.) He earned a B.A. in biology from Washington University after only two years, and graduated with a Ph.D. in immunology from Tufts Medical School in 1983, when he was 22. Carroll works as a professor of genetics and molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an investigator at the University of Wisconsin’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He primarily studies evolutionary developmental biology, a relatively new field that focus on the evolution of the development of organisms. Carroll has two sons with his wife, Jamie.

Carroll is a strong advocate for evolution. When he was interviewed by Freethought Radio on May 24, 2008, Carroll stated that he often works with teachers who want to incorporate evolution into their curriculum, and helps to develop high school lesson plans that include evolution. He has published three books about evolution: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo (2005), The Making of the Fittest: DNA Evidence for Evolution (2006), and Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (2009). He writes the Remarkable Creatures science column for The New York Times, and was awarded the 2010 Stephen Jay Gould Prize for raising public awareness about the importance of evolution.

In 2007, Carroll wrote the article “God as Genetic Engineer,” which debunks author Michael Behe’s book about Intelligent Design, The Edge of Evolution (2007). When asked in a 2003 interview by Nature magazine what he wished the public understood better about science, Carroll responded, “The depth and breadth of evidence supporting scientific ideas: compared with, say, the absence of evidence in areas like astrology, UFOs and ghosts.”

“If a designer was designing us, either they’re a terrible designer or they’ve got a great sense of humor, because we’re carrying around all sorts of genes that don’t work.”

—Sean Carroll, Freethought Radio, May 24, 2008.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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