Happy Birthday Mr. Darwin

darwinbday31A few days ago, I asked my friend Doug how I should celebrate Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. As Doug is an interesting fellow who often lectures on such things, I was expecting some kind of brilliant, inspired answer in return. All he said, though, was simply “Read what he wrote.”

It’s not terribly witty, but I think it’s pretty good advice… So, that’s what I’m doing tonight… Right now, I’m reading a letter in which he talks a bit about his relationship with his father.

For those of you unwilling to follow one of the links above, and read what Darwin had to say, here’s a clip from an article in today’s Christian Science Monitor on the current threat to Darwin’s legacy:

…In the US, though, Darwin remains a controversial figure. Two centuries after the famed naturalist’s birth, more than 40 percent of Americans believe human beings were created by God in their present form, according to recent polls from Gallup and the Pew Research Center – a view impossible to reconcile with evolution propelled by natural selection.

Such creationist beliefs lack scientific merit, educators say, and in classrooms evolution reigns supreme. Opponents have tried an array of challenges over the decades, and the latest tactic recently scored its first major victory. It’s a tack that is changing the way the cultural battle over evolution is fought.

In June of last year, Louisiana became the first state to pass what has become known as an “academic freedom” law. In the past, fights over evolution took place at the local school board level, but academic freedom proponents specifically target state legislatures.

Such laws back away from outright calls for alternative theories to evolution, electing instead to legislate support for teachers who discuss the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of issues such as evolution in the name of protecting the freedom of speech of instructors and students alike.

In 2009, bills have been introduced in Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, and New Mexico. Their likelihood of success is uncertain: In the wake of the Louisiana result last year, similar bills were introduced in Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina, all of which failed…

Thank you, Mr. Darwin, for all you’ve done, and all that you continue to do.

[note: This would me a much longer, better written post, if not for the fact that there are fewer than 10 minutes left before it’s no longer his birthday.]

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7 Comments

  1. Paw
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Darwin did unspeakable “experiments” on his island. I’m glad that you included that image of his frog-man creation. Too many people forget about that shameful chapter in the old man’s life.

  2. Paw
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Actual video exists of Darwin’s young, half-man half-frog creature. I wish I hadn’t watched. It’s voice will haunt me till the end of my days.

  3. dragon
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    A Herd of buffalo can move only as fast as the slowest buffalo and, when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular culling of the weakest members.

    In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as its slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we all know, kills off brain cells. Naturally, the alcohol attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. As a result, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, constantly making the brain a faster and more efficient machine….

  4. Brackinald Achery
    Posted February 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    … and that, Norm, is why you feel smarter when you drink.

  5. Posted February 13, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Darwin is evil and godless.

  6. Ol' E Cross
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Mr. Darwin.

    Here’s a song for you, the song the whole world is dancing for you.

  7. Posted February 15, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Now I know what I’ll be doing for the Ypci community talent show. Thanks, OEC.

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