Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still Disturbing, Affter All These Years

Happy Darwin Day, y'all ! Yes! it's the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, author of On The Origin of Species, a day on which Susan Jacoby says:

... it seems only fitting to reflect on the reasons why Darwin's conclusions about the origins and evolution of human--and all--life continue to trouble and challenge members of the human species in the 21st century. This lasting "disturber effect" is, I would argue, one of the most convincing proofs of Darwin's genius. People don't get all riled up, 150 years after the fact, by bland, small, discredited ideas.
Jacoby is one of the writers on the Washington Post religion feature "On Faith," and her piece today, Darwin the Disturber, is a thoughtful look at the bizarre ongoing controversy that Darwin's ideas have engendered over the years since his seminal work was published. In this blog we have occasionally written about the current schism between those who choose to see evolution as a reasonable explanation for the manner in which homo sapiens rose to the top of the food chain, and those who follow Intelligent Design, Creationism, or something even less evolved, in terms of scientific reality.

A lot of media attention being paid to Darwin on this anniversary, but the one that really stopped me in my tracks was something I heard last night on NPR as I was driving home from class. Darwin Finds Some Followers In The Pulpits was a piece about The Clergy Letter Project, and the event they hold yearly right around this time: Evolution Weekend. The Clergy Letter Project has brought together over1011(Christian) congregations from every state and many other countries, aided and advised by a body of 624 scientists, for the purpose of showing that religion and science are not adversaries. This year, Jewish congregations are joining Evolution Weekend, with 439 rabbis signing on to the mission. The Weekend starts tomorrow, and you can check here where a state-by-state listing will show you whether or not your own congregation of choice will be participating. This project began five years ago, appears to be growing apace, and, to my mind, represents a very hopeful sign of significant evolutionary progress. Perhaps Darwin is finding it easier to rest in peace these days.

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posted at 1:52:00 PM by marigolds2

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