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Bad Religion's Greg Graffin to teach evolution at Cornell in the fall

Randy Lewis
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — Contrary to the adage, punk rocker Greg Graffin is demonstrating anew that those who can, not only do, but sometimes teach too.

The founding member of Bad Religion will begin teaching evolution in the fall at his alma mater, Cornell University in New York, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Graffin's other life as an esteemed author and academic.

Graffin got his Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell and, when he's not touring with his Bad Religion band mates of three decades, he's often been center stage at University of California, Los Angeles as a lecturer in paleontology and life sciences.

Last year he published his book that covered his thoughts on punk and atheism, "Anarcy Evolution: Faith, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God," which drew critical praise in various quarters.

"This is the first year of three that I am slated to help develop the course and lecture at Cornell," Graffin said in a statement issued Wednesday. "I have a colleague who is a gifted geneticist, Richard Harrison, who will be co-teaching with me. I only have to lecture on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That leaves plenty of time to head overseas on the weekends!"

He's further been singled out for his scientific acumen by paleontologist Jingmai O'Connor, who has named an ancient bird fossil he discovered in northwestern China Qiliana graffini in honor of Graffin, whom O'Connor describes as a "paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, professor, rock star, and inspiration to numerous budding and established scientists around the world."

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