||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (January 2013)|
February 2, 1955|
|Fields||Physiology and evolution of bacteria, plants & animals; History and philosophy of biology|
Ulrich Kutschera (born 1955) is Full Professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kassel (Germany) and a visiting professor in the Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California (USA). He is founder and head of the German association of evolutionary biologists (AK Evolutionsbiologie) and best known for his criticisms of creationism and intelligent design.
Education and Career
Kutschera completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany (M.S. in zoology/evolutionary biology), where he also earned his Ph.D. in plant physiology in 1985. His thesis (summa cum laude) was awarded the Pfizer Research Award (Germany) 1986. From 1985 to 1988 he was the recipient of a Humboldt-fellowship (Feodor Lynen Program) and carried out his post-doctoral work at Stanford University (Carnegie Institution for Science) and at Michigan State University (MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory), USA. Kutschera was a research associate, and, after his Habilitation, a Lecturer at the University of Bonn, Germany. In 1993 he joined the faculty of Biology and Chemistry at the University of Kassel, Germany, was named full professor, and appointed to his current chair in the Department of Plant Physiology and Evolutionary Biology. Kutschera is an elected member of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, Germany) and the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). He served as the head of the division of evolutionary biology, Association of German Biologists (VBiO) (2002–present), and was Vice President of the VBiO (2004-2007). In 2013, Kutschera was elected as Corresponding Member of the Botanical Society of America (BSA).
Kutschera is best known for his work on the mechanism of phytohormone-mediated cell expansion (Epidermal-growth-control theory of stem elongation; Protein secretion-hypothesis of auxin action; Epiphytic methylobacteria as phytosymbionts in living-fossil plants), his contributions to the taxonomy and molecular phylogeny of aquatic annelids (Discovery of the "Golden Gate leech" and other species; Revision of the systematics of medicinal leeches; Theory on the evolution of parental care in the Hirudinea), and his publications on evolution vs. creationism from a historical/philosophical perspective (The modern theory of biological evolution as an expanded synthesis; Synade-model of macroevolution). In 2008, Kutschera coined the term "Darwin's philosophical imperative" to denote the strict separation of scientific facts and theories from religious dogmas in Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species (1859).
Kutschera has published more than 200 scientific papers, many of them with prominent co-authors from the USA, such as Karl J. Niklas and Winslow R. Briggs, 9 books (in German), and numerous professional Science-Videos for biology students. His widely used academic textbook Evolutionsbiologie (3. ED. 2008, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart; ISBN 978-3-8252-8318-6) has been translated into Russian and Portuguese. Kutschera's popular book Tatsache Evolution (3. ED. 2010, DTV, München, ISBN 978-3-423-24707-8) was a best-seller during the Year of Darwin 2009 (in Germany) and the subject of many controversial reports and discussions.
Public understanding of science
According to Ronald Numbers, Ulrich Kutschera, a prominent European evolutionary biologist, concluded in 2003 "that anti-evolutionism in German-speaking countries has already infiltrated some academic circles". In a news report on the Annual Meeting 2007 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, USA, where Kutschera delivered an invited lecture on the spread of creationism in Europe, he is quoted as saying that "The more one argues against this creationist propaganda...the less you can convince people who are not scientists". His recommendation was "to no longer talk about Darwinism", but to use the term 'Evolutionary Biology', which is a scientific discipline, like Physiology. As an elected member of the Giordano Bruno Foundation, Kutschera has defended evolution and humanistic naturalism via his books, public lectures, in German TV shows, and in numerous interviews.
- "Curriculum Vitae". University of Kassel. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "People: Wang Lab". Carnegie Institution for Science. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Discovery Institute: New Plant Evolution Paper Misfires
- Botanical Society of America (BSA)
- Publications: U. Kutschera on NCBI/PubMed
- On Darwin's Philosophical Imperativ - Blog by David Tyler
- "Tatsache Evolution. Was Darvin nicht wissen konnte." - ScienceBlogs by Alexander Knoll
- Ronald L. Numbers: The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006)
- Down with Darwinism on NBCNews.com
- Giordano Bruno Foundation - Kutschera
- Intelligent Design Debate Arrives in Germany on DW.de
- German Scientists Concerned About Rise in Creationist Belief on DW.de