Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, dear Charlie Darwin!


Aren't you glad that our campus is finally joining in the global celebrations of Darwin Day?

I recommend starting your morning off with some excellent reading material, and audio-visuals as well, courtesy the Guardian's special pullout section celebrating Darwin. Of course, those of us on the wrong side of the pond can't really pull-out that special section, but we can partake in much multi-media goodness on their excellent website. Any chance our local rag might at least mention Darwin today, you think? (unlikely - I couldn't find anything on their website) And who better to get you going than Darwin's rottweiler, Richard Dawkins, who writes:

Charles Darwin had a big idea, arguably the most powerful idea ever. And like all the best ideas it is beguilingly simple. In fact, it is so staggeringly elementary, so blindingly obvious that although others before him tinkered nearby, nobody thought to look for it in the right place.

Darwin had plenty of other good ideas - for example his ingenious and largely correct theory of how coral reefs form - but it is his big idea of natural selection, published in On the Origin of Species, that gave biology its guiding principle, a governing law that helps the rest make sense. Understanding its cold, beautiful logic is a must.
Go read the rest of it at the Guardian or on Dawkins' own site.

I trust you will later be taking a stroll on campus to check out our interactive christo-esque project to spark a conversation about Darwin and Evolution:
There will be a Christo-esque display of major ideas about evolution, both pro and con, hanging from a line that will run from the Satellite College Union to Joyal Administration. Paper will be provided so you can add your comments to the display. Come see the display and participate by adding your ideas.

And to round off the day, come learn about how parts of our own bodies are evolving:

Professor Fred Schreiber of the Department of Biology will present a public lecture and discussion titled


5:00 – 7:00 P.M., TUESDAY 12TH FEBRUARY, ROOM 109, SCIENCE 2.

Dr. Schreiber will cover topics as diverse as skin color, the epiglottis, varicose veins, malaria and lactose intolerance. All are welcome.

“Darwin’s theory provides the theoretical and conceptual foundation for all of the biological sciences, and remains one of the most momentous intellectual developments in human history. The Department of Biology is committed to accurately representing Darwin’s ideas, and takes great pleasure in this opportunity to emphasize his seminal contribution to science and society.”

So let's remember Charlie, in his own words:
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

- Charles R. Darwin

Happy Darwin Day everyone!



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