Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy birthday Charles and Abraham

Historians who are aware of the long eclipse endured by Darwin’s ideas perhaps have a clearer idea of his extraordinary contribution than do biologists, many of whom assume Darwin’s theory has always been seen to offer, as now, a grand explanatory framework for all biology. Dr. Richards, the University of Chicago historian, recalls that a biologist colleague “had occasion to read the ‘Origin’ for the first time — most biologists have never read the ‘Origin’ — because of a class he was teaching. We met on the street and he remarked, ‘You know, Bob, Darwin really knew a lot of biology.’ ”
From a thoughtful history of Darwin's influence in the New York Times.

How curious that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln would share their birthdate, and how apt that Adam Gopnik both noticed and produced a book putting them together.

History Today recently had a Darwin piece, with the interesting European perspective on the reception of Darwinian ideas: Darwin is not controversial. There is no pro/con Darwin debate. Throughout the educated world, they say, Darwinian evolutionary principles are simply fundamental. It's only in the United States there is controversy, and it's really socio-political rather than scientific.
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