Without notes and with just a few informative slides, Armand Leroi delivered his captivating 2011 Darwin Day Lecture to a packed Conway Hall on Wednesday evening. His talk, titled "Mutants, and what to do about them" covered the possibilities, practicalities and economics of screening for genetic diseases. Phrased thus, it sounds like a dry subject, but Professor Leroi spoke with commitment and deep knowledge, in clear and expressive language that allowed his succinct points to hit home. His lecture was introduced by Robert Ashby, British Humanist Association (BHA) Board of Trustees Chair, while the lecture itself and its subsequent Q&A was chaired by BHA Vice President Richard Dawkins. The evening concluded with a few announcements from BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson.
Though he did not shy away from the eugenic implications of universal screening of human embryos, he was clear in his avoidance of making moral judgements. It's not necessary here to reiterate these or any other points in his lecture, as you can listen to the entire thing yourself — along with some intelligent questions from the floor. The audio was recorded by the Pod Delusion and is available from their website, which incidentally also allows embedding of the player, as below:
The latest regular episode of the Pod Delusion also contains brief interviews with Armand Leroi and Richard Dawkins before the lecture: