20 November 2004 ... Darwin
All my free time is spent on art, these days, but I am feebly attempting to work through the class I'm taking at B&N, a book discussion group about Darwin's abstract, Origin of Species.
I'm at chapter four, but so far, wow. Very interesting reading. Surprisingly clear and relatively easy reading, too. Darwin's passion for the plants and animals he studied shines through in every sentence.
I took my Palm handheld to work a few days this week, to read the Darwin. During lunch, one of the front office guys chatted with me about the Palm and I told him what I was reading.
"Oh," he said with a disappointing tone. I thought he had a science-is-boring attitude, so I said, "It's really quite interesting!"
And he replied, "I just don't like a guy who considered Hitler a role model."
I didn't say anything further, because I was unprepared. There is a very familiar ring to the comment, (Vegetarian Myth: "Hitler was a vegetarian" so vegetarianism must be evil, or all vegetarians are evil.) and I was sure it was false.
A little bit of research proved it was false: Darwin lived from February 12, 1809 to April 19, 1882... Hitler was born 20 April 1889 and started coming to power in the 1920s. Darwin died before Hitler was born, therefore Darwin had no opinions at all about Hitler.
And further, I wanted to know if my coworker's association of Darwin with Hitler influenced his thoughts on creationism/evolutionism. (With his misguided vehemence, I'm thinking he does not "believe" evolution.) (People do not have to "believe" theories, since they are based on facts from observations and experiments... People do have to "believe" in creationism, since that is based on faith.)
But his craziness has piqued my curiosity and now I'm surfing the web. Maybe my coworker got it backwards: Hitler did study Darwin and apparently justified the killing of non-Aryans as his application of the Theory of Evolution on humans.
Hm. Interesting. But this does not un-validate the Theory. And it does not make the Theory of Evolution evil.
Which brings me to the next thing I want to type about. Recently there has been lawyer stuff concerning stickers placed on high school biology textbooks in Georgia.
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.
The ACLU is concerned about separation of church and state. Read the newspaper article, 12 Nov 2004: Lawyers: Evolution sticker decision month away
I think it's good that people are fighting the stickers. But I also don't have any problem at all with the text of the sticker. Evolution _is_ a theory, and everyone should have an open mind! Of course, it's the "spirit" of the message on the sticker that the ACLU disagrees with: the "not a fact" part.
And this does make me wonder about how educated the people who wrote the sticker were. Do they know what a theory is? (A good paper on the subject: Scientific Laws and Theories)
Darwin's book, Origin, was published in 1859 tho he worked on it for several decades before. So the Theory of Evolution has withstood almost 150 years of questioning scientists. No one has disproved it... So far, no one has presented any _facts_ that can disprove it. That's why it's still a theory.
So anyway. I've still got a lot of reading to do on Origin...
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