November 24, 2014, marks the 155th anniversary of a day that quietly changed all of science, should have changed much of theology, and brought much of the world into the future, though many people don’t know it yet.
On November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin’s book was published, On the Origin of Species.
How to celebrate? You could read a summary of Ernst Mayr’s shorthand version of Darwin’s theory, and understand it really for the first time (I hope not the first time, but there are a lot of people who really don’t understand what Darwin said — especially among critics of evolution):
[The Five (5) Facts or Observations, and Two Inferences of Evolution Theory]
Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on key facts and the inferences drawn from them, which biologist Ernst Mayr summarised as follows:
- Every species is fertile enough that if all offspring survived to reproduce the population would grow (fact).
- Despite periodic fluctuations, populations remain roughly the same size (fact).
- Resources such as food are limited and are relatively stable over time (fact).
- A struggle for survival ensues (inference).
- Individuals in a population vary significantly from one another (fact).
- Much of this variation is inheritable (fact).
- Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce; individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce and leave their inheritable traits to future generations, which produces the process of natural selection (inference).
- This slowly effected process results in populations changing to adapt to their environments, and ultimately, these variations accumulate over time to form new species (inference).
This is mostly an encore post — hey, it’s a history blog — with tips of the old scrub brush justified to Larry Moran and P. Z. Myers, and especially the recently retired Eugenie Scott, and the National Center for Science Education.
- The Origin of Darwinism: Charles Darwin and The Origin of Species ebook (guardian.co.uk)
- World’s youngest species (bbc.co.uk)
- Charles Darwin’s insurance documents found by RSA (telegraph.co.uk)
- Was Charles Darwin the world’s most emo scientist? (mnn.com)
- Visualizing Origin of the Species (ritholtz.com)
- Now that’s a tee-shirt! (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- A history of the theory of evolution through natural selection (guardian.co.uk)
- Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia election (mnn.com)
- Creationism and Vitalism (sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com)
- Carl Zimmer wins Kavli Science Journalism Award
- NCSE offers a free preview in .pdf of Rudolf A. Raff’s Once We All Had Gills (Indiana University Press, 2012)
- NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau’s invited essay “Science Denial: A Guide for Scientists” was published in Trends in Microbiology 2012;20(12):567-569.
The writer’s den — no typewriter.