The "Darwin Year"

Following on from Wesley Elsberry's post, readers may be somewhat surprised that Evolving Thoughts hasn't made much of the Darwin bicentennial and the Origin sesquicentennial so far. Well, I haven't needed to, given the number of other folk making hay from this. In particular I recommend Carl Zimmer's piece, over at his new digs with Discover magazine. Carl points out John van Whye's paper that showed that Darwin didn't "sit on the theory for 20 years" but rather followed a preplanned sequence for backing up his ideas. However, when Charles planned this research, he greatly underestimated the time it would take him (the Cirripedia volumes, where he dissected and described all known and extinct barnacles, took him much longer than he anticipated), and so it blew out from 8 to 20 years.

But there's another point I want to make about this anniversary, and it is this: Darwin, as important as he was, is not the crucial man in the history of biology. And to make this claim out, I have to discuss some theories of history, and how they affect the history of science.

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