On this auspicious occasion - the 200th birthday of English naturalist Charles Darwin - hundreds of groups around the world are pausing to celebrate his accomplishments and his impact upon science and society. Darwin has been featured in numerous magazine , internet and televised specials.
What is happening in your area? Here in New Mexico, we got an early start on Wednesday 11th with a splendid talk by Anne Weaver, author of the young reader’s book “Voyage of the Beetle,” and an avid evolution educator. Anne explained that most people of the time were mired in “Essentialism” - the idea that all things, including species, are immutable, unchanging “essences.” She explained that Darwin came to realize that it was the individuals who stayed the same for most of their life, and had children that shared their characteristics. Between individuals of the same species, however, there can be a lot of variation. Species are not immutable; individuals vary; it is populations that evolve, as natural selection shapes the aggregate gene pool. Of course, biology has advanced tremendously since Darwin’s publication of the Origin; but this cautious naturalist got the Big Idea right, and for that he is rightly celebrated.
If you’re in New Mexico, there are Darwin Day events this week at UNM (Albuquerque), NM Tech (Socorro) and those Freethinkers. I’ll be talking about the Age of the Earth Friday 13th, in Socorro- come on down! I’ll be discussing how I helped Professor Steve Steve disprove creationist flood theory.
What is everyone doing to commemorate the day?