Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882).
Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the naturalist who demonstrated "natural selection," the basis of our modern evolutionary theory. Accepted by the scientific community, and rejected by televangelists, uneducated yokels, and the willfully ignorant, Darwin still stirs strong emotions two centuries after his birth. Creationism, under the guise of "intelligent design," still bamboozles the gullible, but Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, refutes it's claims quite easily. We'd love to see him debate the proponents of creationism directly, because he'd make mincemeat out of them, but that would be like debating people who believe the world is flat. It would only give them a platform, and it would be beneath Dr. Dawkins. Still, we love a good row.
Richard Dawkins presents Darwin and his masterpiece, "The Origin of Species," in the opening episode of the three part documentary "The Genius of Charles Darwin."
Read "Why Darwin Matters" by Richard Dawkins in the Guardian here.
Read Nicholas Wade's piece in the Science section of the New York Times (2/9/09) here.