In an age when fully 44% of American adults still believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at some time in the last 10,000 years, we find ourselves honoring Charles Darwin. He was born 200 years ago on February 12, and published his most famous thesis 150 years ago.
It’s really amazing to me that Darwin remains such a controversial figure. His ideas – principally that of natural selection, but also including common descent, multiplication of species, and gradualism – never struck me as complicated or challenging. It has very clearly been established as a fact of natural history. Yet there remains this “44%” of dedicated opponents to this uncontroversial idea.
Currently, ScienceBlogs is hosting Blogging the Origin, where science writer John Whitfield blogs about each chapter of On the Origin of Species as he reads it for the first time. This seems like a great exercise – everyone should read the subject matter on something that they wish to understand, and a group discussion of that reading is even better.