Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin.

Why Darwin?

Pterocnemia pennata (Original description: Rhe...
Pterocnemia pennata (Original description: Rhea darwinii) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stephen Jay Gould

April 4, 1996 Issue

Charles Darwin: Voyaging

by Janet Browne

Knopf, 605 pp., $35.00

 

Most young men of the time could only fantasize, but Charles Darwin experienced the overt drama of his century’s archetypal episode in the personal story we now call “coming of age”: a five-year voyage of pure adventure (and much science) circumnavigating the globe on H.M.S. Beagle. Returning to England at age twenty-seven, Darwin became a homebody and never again left his native land, not even to cross the English Channel. Nonetheless, his subsequent life included two internal dramas for more intense, far more portentous, and (for anyone who can move beyond the equation of swashbuckling with excitement) far more interesting than anything he had experienced as a world traveler: first, the intellectual drama of discovering both the factuality and mechanism of evolution; and second, the emotional drama of recognizing (and relishing) the revolutionary implications of evolution, while fearing the pain that revelation would impose upon both his immediate family and the surrounding society.

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Charles Darwin (1809-1882) at age 7. The paint...
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) at age 7. The painting is the earliest picture known, of Charles Darwin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Happy Birthday, Darwin!

TVOL

As we celebrate Charles Darwin’s 207th, This View of Life publishes your thoughts on the single most important takeaway from the theory of evolution. You let us know that evolution is more than the biological mechanism by which species change over generations — it’s also responsible for changes in our culture, politics, economy, and religion. 

In this special issue, you’ll also find new essays: Educator of the Year Jason Niedermeyer shares with us how he teaches evolution to students who hate it before they know it. Cognitive scientist Andrew Shtulman explores the best way to draw the tree of life. David Sloan Wilson and Michael Price take on the “huh?” factor of Trump’s candidacy; and Dustin Eirdosh delves into Darwin’s mind to see how he saw.

We hope you enjoy this special issue and wish you an intellectually curious Darwin Day! 

— TVOL staff