The DEEP Club that I sponsor at my school site will show a short video from HHMI featuring Sean Carroll discussing the historical background of Darwin's discovery of the principle of natural selection, etc. My colleagues at CSU Fresno are doing their part, and of course worldwide all sorts of folk are commemorating Darwin Day.

Here's what I posted about Darwin, over at John Wilkins' place:

"Darwin is a hero of mine, and not just because he was a damned good scientist, and certainly not because he got everything right. I find Darwin heroic not because he held priority on the notion of common descent (which he didn't), but because of a preeminent conscience and powers of concentration which he brought to that topic.

Few prior to Darwin brought comparable energy to any attempt at synthesis within biology (Linnaeus comes to mind), and of those, none focused on the multiple lines of evidence for common descent with the scholarship revealed in Darwin's papers.

Perhaps even more importantly, Darwin privately agonized over the meaning of evolution. He took first his faith, and then his growing doubt rather seriously. He fretted over what effect his ideas might have on his marriage, his friendships, his social standing, his reputation within the scientific community. He was cautious to a fault, but I think this was in part because what he came to call 'one long argument' was a narrative of his own struggle, and I think it is presumptuous of those of us who live in a secular society to imagine that we could understand the full dimension of that struggle. As a Christian who has wrestled with Darwin's thought, I think I have an inkling of what that struggle entails, and that is why, first and foremost, that Darwin is one of my heroes. "

By the way, a person interested in learning more about evolution should check out the Carroll video, which is available on-line here. If you're an educator, you should know that HHMI has given this and other programs away as DVD's, which is a very generous offer. I highly recommend them.

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