“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species
Today marks the 205th birthday of Charles Darwin, one of the most recognisable, widely-celebrated, and hugely influencial scientist of the modern era.
Darwin was born on the 12th February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire to Robert and Susannah Darwin. His father was a wealthy society doctor, and he was also related to prominent abolitionists Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood. He began to develop his theories of evolution during his famous five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle around the coast of South America, which departed on the 27th December 1831 and returned to Cornwall in October, 1836. He went on to publish his eponymous classic, On the Origin of Species, in 1859. The work was vastly controversial in it's time, and set out the theory that all lifeforms - including humans - are descended from common ancestors. This theory has widely become accepted as fact by the respected international science community, and is one of the cornerstones of modern biological research.
To celebrate Darwin's 205th, the following chapters on his life, work, and legacy, are free and available for one month:
- 'Before the Origin' in Deep Things out of Darkness by John G. T. Anderson
- 'Reading Genesis 1-3 in the Light of Modern Science' in Reading Gensesis after Darwin by Stephen C. Barton and David Wilkinson
- 'Poetry in the Age of Darwin' in Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution by John Holmes
- 'Hard Work, Occasional Unwellness, Discovering the Theory of Natural Selection, and Marriage' in Darwin's Illness by Ralph Cop Jr.
- 'Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life' in Geography and Revolution ed. by David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers
- 'Darwin, Natural Theology, and the Principle of Natural Selection' in Not by Design: Retiring Darwin's Watchmaker by John Reiss
- 'Introduction' in Darwin’s Legacy: What Evolution Means Today by John Dupré
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