Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. To me, Charles Darwin embodies the ideals of a scientist and a humanist. I grew up in a household which did not believe in the evolution of life forms over time through natural selection. The world was close to 6000 years old and we were approaching the end of the world. The eminent destruction of the world as I knew it had a troubling effect on my being.
I was 13 years old when I first heard of the Theory of Natural Selection and was amazed and excited by this new finding. When I asked about it, the answers I received were unsatisfactory. As I learned about chemistry, radiation energy, and the structure of atoms I began to realize that the stories I grew up with had some serious holes. After a while, I stopped asking those around me and took to reading textbooks I checked out of the public library near my house. In those teenage years, I learned not to believe in an idea just because someone said it was true, but to investigate, analyze, hypothesize, and interrogate life until I was satisfied that the data explained my observations through an order set of laws. These principles were what drove me to return to school to pursue science as a life long passion.
To negate the existence of evolutionary forces which drive the selection of traits which allow a species to survive environmental stresses is a self defeating position to hold. To deny the environmental forces which drive the theory of evolution is akin to denying the forces driving the theory of gravity. We see the results of evolution every time we ride a horse, take our dogs for walks in the part, and read about how a pathogenic organism has developed resistance to the most current drug regimens.
I hope that you celebrate Darwin Day with me and stop for a moment sometime during the day to appreciate the life and contributions of this great renaissance man.