"This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection," wrote Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (full text available online here).
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on Feburary 12, 1809, a brief excerpt from our August 6, 2005 post, "There is grandeur in this view of life":
"The Preservation of Favored Races." That phrase — the subtitle of Darwin's Origin of Species — is shocking to a 21st-century ear until you realize it doesn't mean what you may have thought it did. As the great naturalist explains in the text, he's referring not to any notions of racial superiority, but, rather, to the "preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations" among all the species of animals and plants that have been fruitful and multiplied upon the earth. Darwin called this process of nonrandom elimination "natural selection," memorably dubbed by his contemporary, philosopher Herbert Spencer, "survival of the fittest."
Now back to the present. Do you ever wonder as we do why so many of our fellow Charles Darwin admirers on the left side of the aisle bought the farm on Al Gore's anthropogenic-climate-change myth?
1. Scientific enquiry wherever it may lead when it comes to natural selection vs
2. "the debate is over" when it comes to the fate of "the planet" and our species' responsibility?
We think it's a case of the perennial "Pauline Kael Bubble" phenomenon — as in "To trash Bush was to belong" — revealed in the parallel story of "a white, Catholic, leftist college student" who "dresses as a Muslim woman in small-town Alabama to examine prejudices against Muslims," only to discover "not the prejudices of the small-town, southern, white American but instead the prejudices and stereotypes of contemporary leftist academia," as Shannon Love of Chicago Boyz explains, quoting a CNN report:
We've come to expect that sort of reflexive attribution of mindless cluelessness on our part from our friends on the left side of the aisle. How refreshing to see one of them finally "gets it." When will our Darwinian friends on the left side of the aisle see through their own blind spot when it comes to anthropogenic "climate change"?
If you want to put your Charles Darwin dollars where your mouth is, as we do, two things:
The new gear features a very special inscription, "Charles Darwin, H.M.S. Beagle", found (and scanned) by Randal Keynes on the inside front cover of a German translation of the New Testament that Darwin had with him during his voyage around the world on HMS Beagle, 1831-1836.
2. Add your voice to the tens of thousands wishing the great naturalist a happy 200th.
There is grandeur …
More cogitations on the "grandeur in this view of life" and cosmic-convergential shared birthday thoughts "From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful."