“Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”
—The Descent of Man, 1871
I was doing so well, you think it would be simple just daily posts for 12 days. Then I drop the ball on the last day and the only one that really mattered. Oh well, it’s still the twelfth somewhere. For this last post in the series I just wanted to briefly look at the writings of Darwin and say you should read them. So far I have not read anything of Darwin’s but I plan to remedy that just as soon as I finish the current book on my list, Daniel Dennett‘s “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a natural phenomenon” which is not a bad read itself. But anyway, in addition to his most famous works “On the Origin of Species” and “The Descent of Man” Darwin also wrote a number of books on a range of topics. Coral reefs, geology, carnivorous plants, worms, volcanic islands as well as a narrative of his time on the “Beagle” and an autobiography are all products of of his pen. Numerous letters have also been collected and published that detail his social contacts and the development of his thinking over time. The website The complete work of Charles Darwin online has a dizzying number of documents boasting 20000 of Darwin’s private papers.
“[When the theory of creation by evolution] wasfirst advanced it was met by a storm of dogmatic abuse.It was ridiculed, pooh-poohed, abused, called the‘dirt theory,’ and scarcely given a hearing.
Now the tables are completely turned, so that the man who
today opposes it is treated very much the same way as if he
denied the revolution of the earth around the sun.”
On a geekier note, the Perth Mint has a Darwin Commemorative coin to celebrate the 200 years since Darwin’s birth. Made of 1 ounce of 99.9% pure silver it’s the must have item this year. Be the first Geek on your block to get one. Mine of course arrived several days ago.
So, follow my example and read “The Origin of Species” and get a coin to remember your experience by.