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200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
02-03-2009, 08:03 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2009 08:46 PM by clarence clutterbuck.)
Post: #1
200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
On February 12th it will be 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin, and 150 years since the publication of his famous theory of evolution that demolishes the age old notion of humans being specially created as the adult couple, Adam and Eve.

Some religously motivated commentators in backward corners of the globe are still peddling this ancient myth as fact, in preference to the latest scientific understanding of human origins.

How do you feel about this, and what are you doing to celebrate Darwin's bicentenary?

[Image: 1878Darwin.jpg]

Happy Birthday Chas!
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02-03-2009, 08:49 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2009 08:49 PM by Annolennar.)
Post: #2
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
Darwin was an awesome guy! I don't think I'll be celebrating or partying in his honor though.

I might go out and buy a copy of Origin of the Species, I've always wanted to read it, but never got around to it.

If you should see evident sins or defects, draw out of those thorns the rose; perceiving, moreover, that such apparent sinners may frequently have a good intention, for no one can judge the secrets of the heart of man.
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02-03-2009, 09:20 PM
Post: #3
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
I recieved my copy yesterday - an illustrated edition with helpful notes and commentary.

This quote is from the final page and shows Darwin's sense of awe and wonder at the power of evolution.

Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species Wrote:It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life, and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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02-03-2009, 11:12 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2009 11:21 PM by grunfeld.)
Post: #4
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
(02-03-2009 09:20 PM)clarence clutterbuck Wrote:  I recieved my copy yesterday - an illustrated edition with helpful notes and commentary.

...

FYI: I don't know what edition that is, but it's not the first edition (not saying the first edition is better than your edition).

Originally, Darwin did not include the "by the Creator" phrase: in the first edition it is simpy, "... having been originally breathed into a few forms ...".

And if Darwin had his way, the "by the Creator" phrase would not have been in there ...
Quote:”… and at the end of the book, in a passage departing from the general spirit of the work, [Darwin] spoke about “several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one” (Darwin 1963 [1859]:470). In a letter written several years later, Darwin expressed his regret that he had given in to public opinion and used the biblical term of the creation of life. In fact, he added, his intention was to refer to the origin of life as “some wholly unknown process”.”
(Iris Fry, The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview, Rutgers University Press, 2000, p55)





PS: Also, personally, I didn't like the "Origin of Species". Boring and longwinded. In my opinion, there are much better books out there, if one is looking for information regarding evolution, such as "The Making of the Fittest" by Sean B. Carroll, or "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller.
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02-04-2009, 01:25 AM
Post: #5
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
In other news.. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...death.html



Yes. They actually did it. Sure it was last year, but who cares! Big Grin


Happy Birthday, Darwin.

"Humanity invented religion initially to overcome the permanent loss of consciousness that occurs at death and it was then taken over by groups who use it to control other groups" - Innuendo, from Def-Logic forums.
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02-04-2009, 02:18 AM
Post: #6
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
(02-04-2009 01:25 AM)Mr_Redneck Wrote:  In other news.. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...death.html

Yes. They actually did it. Sure it was last year, but who cares! Big Grin

Haha! Big Grin

Well, good for them, even if it does seem a bit odd. At least they've set the record straight.

If you should see evident sins or defects, draw out of those thorns the rose; perceiving, moreover, that such apparent sinners may frequently have a good intention, for no one can judge the secrets of the heart of man.
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02-05-2009, 01:48 PM (This post was last modified: 02-05-2009 01:49 PM by Anglican.)
Post: #7
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
(02-03-2009 08:03 PM)clarence clutterbuck Wrote:  On February 12th it will be 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin, and 150 years since the publication of his famous theory of evolution that demolishes the age old notion of humans being specially created as the adult couple, Adam and Eve.

Some religously motivated commentators in backward corners of the globe are still peddling this ancient myth as fact, in preference to the latest scientific understanding of human origins.

How do you feel about this, and what are you doing to celebrate Darwin's bicentenary?

Well they may have been great scientists, but we don't have an Isaac Newton Day or an Albert Einstien Day, so why a Charles Darwin Day? (Or is that a silly question?)
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02-05-2009, 07:49 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2009 07:33 PM by clarence clutterbuck.)
Post: #8
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
Anglican Wrote:Well they may have been great scientists, but we don't have an Isaac Newton Day or an Albert Einstien Day, so why a Charles Darwin Day? (Or is that a silly question?)

I'm not suggesting we should have a Charles Darwin day as such; more that the 200th anniversary of his birth might generate some renewed interest among people about the man and his work. I'm sure this would also apply to other great scientists on similar occasions.

In the UK, the BBC have embarked on a "Darwin Season" of TV and radio programmes. These have so far included a rather good one hour programme written and presented by David Attenborough. It seems to me that progs like these would have extra educational value if shown in the world's rationality blackspots like America, Turkey and wherever Ahmetsecer lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MW1IZB9ThA

Grunfeld Wrote:FYI: I don't know what edition that is, but it's not the first edition (not saying the first edition is better than your edition).

Originally, Darwin did not include the "by the Creator" phrase: in the first edition it is simpy, "... having been originally breathed into a few forms ...".

And if Darwin had his way, the "by the Creator" phrase would not have been in there ...

I see what you mean about the "by the Creator" phrase. The quote I used was purloined in the interests of labour saving from Darwin Online's text of the sixth edition of "Origin." Checking my book after reading your post, I found it is based on the first edition so doesn't include the reference. It's an evocative and poetic piece of writing with or without methinks.
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02-11-2009, 12:46 PM
Post: #9
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
(02-03-2009 11:12 PM)grunfeld Wrote:  Also, personally, I didn't like the "Origin of Species".

I also was not too fond of it. Darwin was a very serious scientist, and "The Origin of Species" was written primarily for other scientists. It can be difficult to get through, but I still think it's worth reading.

If ignorance is bliss why aren't there more happy people?
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02-12-2009, 05:43 PM
Post: #10
RE: 200th Birthday of Charles Darwin (peace be upon him)
I've always been a bit miffed at Darwin. Well, not at Darwin himself, like all great scientists he should be respected and admired for his contributions and his theories, but about the mythos, if you will, of Darwin.

Darwin has become, in the 200 years since his birth, the symbol of all those who believe that deities are irrational and unnecessary for the existence of this world (a group which includes myself.) Plenty of us, I am sure, have seen the Darwin fish that mocks the traditional Christian fish symbol with all the subtlety of a Richard Dawkins book title. Quite honestly, I think he has become as much of a hindrance as a help.

So many myths and lies are told about Darwin within religious communities that he has become a symbol to them as well, a symbol of everything that is destroying the world. Stories about Darwin's supposed deathbed conversion, his supposed attempt to retract the Origin of Species, and other such tales, while false, are widely spread. And the fact is that evolution is not really even a massive blow to Christianity. My understanding is that Roman Catholics have embraced theistic evolution as their explanation of choice for the creation of the world, it is only fundamentalists who insist on literal interpretations of the Bible that have such difficulty with Darwin.

I'm not saying we should throw him out. Darwin was an incredible man of incredible mind, and he should be honored as any scientist would be honored. But he shouldn't be honored as some sort of symbol of atheism or rationality. For that I'd pick someone from farther back in history, during the height of inquisitorial tyranny. Someone who boldly published views contrary to established religious doctrine, not because they were anti-Christian, but because they were pro-truth. Someone like Copernicus or Galileo, or even Martin Luther, whose 95 theses were built upon rigorous study of holy scriptures in an attempt to understand truth, not simply repeat dogma.

Because ultimately every time someone has stood up and said, "I don't care what I was told about this, I want to learn the truth," or refused to believe things based on myth and heresay and insisted on rigorous scientific observation and calculation, or come up with a crackpot theory because accepted theory did not fulfill all the observable facts, that person has struck a blow for rationality and truth, and against myth and superstition.

Darwin certainly has his place within that august assembly, but he is far from the bravest or most important. We are the ones who have assigned him his role as chief atheist. We should stop holding up evolution as some kind of proof that God does not exist (because, quite honestly, it isn't,) and instead start holding up logic, experimentation, and observation as the keys to truth, rather than myth and blind faith. Darwin is not a negative, some sort of spoiler to shoot down the beliefs of others. He is a positive, yet another building block in the slow process of understanding existence.

Still, 200 years. Pretty neat. Yay for Darwin.
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