Two outstanding people were born on February 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln in the USA, and Charles Darwin in England. While most of us are familiar with the former and his accomplishments, few are with the latter. Charles Darwin made a vary significant contribution to science and humanity with his discovery of Evolution through Natural Selection – it has survived and even thrived over the past 150 years, passing the Test of Time with flying colors.
Mr. Darwin, after studying medicine and theology, obtained a position as a naturalist on the HMS Beagle for its 1831-36 circumnavigation of our globe. While on this voyage, he observed the facts and collected the data which enabled him to reach a bold hypothesis: because all species produce random mutations, and since all populations grow more rapidly than their food supply, those individuals with mutations which prove advantageous give them and their offspring a better opportunity to survive. He published this conclusion in “The Origin of Species” in 1859: this bold hypothesis replaced the idea that all species had been created spontaneously and then remained unchanged.
Evolution is important to us today because, not only is it the basis of biology, and consequently much of medicine and medications, but because it also correct places our species – homo sapiens – not as an independent player on the stage of life, but as one that is interconnected with and interdependent on all of the others. In Darwin’s words: “Yet these relations are of the highest importance, for they determine the present welfare, and, as I believe, the future success and modification of every inhabitant of this world.” (The Origin of Species).
With those words, he gives us, ‘from the grave’, what his position on reducing our carbon footprint would have been. For those interested in Darwin Day, see: www.darwinday.org