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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Lights In The Sky
On the other side of the Atlantic, my other great hero was born on the same day in 1809. He too was constitutionally opposed to slavery, but his upbringing taught him the folly of enslaving people. He was a quiet, pathologically shy person, who wrote extensively about nature. He eschewed his training as an country parson to go on to become the first naturalist to actually put together a theory based on hundreds of thousands of observations that would explain not only how all life forms were related, but also to develop a mechanism that would explain this. Contrary to popular belief, he never used the term "evolution" to explain his mechanism. This was not because he didn't believe in evolution, but because evolution didn't mean what it means today. He used the phrase "descent with modification". Charles Darwin, born February 12, 1809.
When I think about people who had profound influences on the way I think, the political stances I find myself taking, and my grab-bag collection of knowledge, I can identify no two more influential people in my life.
Happy birthday Chuck. Happy birthday Abe. You changed my life for the better.