Charles Darwin and birds Species

Reflections on Charles Darwin and his enduring legacy

Passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) adult. Extinction is a natural part of evolution, but humans directly caused the extinction of this species. Historically, the species once numbered in uncounted millions and ranged west to the northern Great Plains. (Print from ink drawing by Paul A. Johnsgard; colored by Allison Johnson; Great Plains Art Collection, 0002.2004.0017)Feb. 12, 1809, was a day when fortune shone upon this earth, for on that day two babies were born who were destined to become world famous, and whose lives would have lasting repercussions on subsequent world history. One was born to a poor family of frontier farmers in Kentucky and the other to a prosperous upper-class English family. Both would eventually be forced into taking actions and expressing ideas that at the time were both highly controversial, if not dangerous.

Abraham Lincoln, with the stroke of a pen, would free America forever from slavery, and, furthermore, set the stage for shaping a country in which any citizen, regardless of skin color, might aspire to the highest offices of our land. He thereby challenged its people into eventually accepting the concept that indeed all men and women are created equal, as our Constitution had originally promised.

Charles Darwin, over a lifetime of thoughtful research and writing, freed the world from a blind belief in an omnipotent and often tyrannical god, and provided a theoretic mechanism for answering basic questions about the biological position of humans in the world, and how both plants and animals can adapt and evolve over time to changing physical and biological environments.

Just as Lincoln’s life is inexorably associated with our Civil War, Darwin’s is similarly entwined with natural selection and evolutionary theory. Mention the word “Galápagos” and most biologists would immediately think of Charles Darwin’s 1835 visit as a naturalist during the British oceanic expedition of the HMS Beagle, and his subsequent discovery of the significance of local geographic variations among related but isolated animal populations. Twenty-four years later these seminal observations would become crystallized in his theory of evolution through natural selection, as outlined in his epochal 1859 book, “The Origin of Species.”

Map of the 1835 route of the H.M.S. Beagle in the Galapagos Archipelago (Paul A. Johnsgard)Charles Darwin was 22 years old and a recent Cambridge graduate when he boarded the HMS Beagle, a 90-foot British brigantine with a crew of 70, to do hydrographic work around the world. He paid 50 English pounds annually for the opportunity to join Capt. Robert Fitzroy’s crew as a naturalist on an exploratory and hydrographic circumnavigation of the world. The Beagle left England on Nov. 23, 1831, and returned Oct. 2, 1836. Over the five weeks spent in the Galápagos archipelago, during September and October of 1835, Darwin was able to visit only four islands, including Chatham (now officially known as San Cristobal), Charles (now Floreana), Albemarle (now Isabela) and James (now Santiago).

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Cosmos Global Documentaries GALAPAGOS
Movie ()

Hotbed of biodiversity: Fascinating images of wildlife from the Galapagos Islands

— Mother Nature Network
Located 575 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this remote volcanic archipelago is famous as the birthplace of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Origin of Species Means Natural & Descent of Man & Selection From Great Books of the Western World Series). Vol Volume 49
Book (Encyclopaedia Britannica Pub)
Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection....&...Descent of Man, & Selection in Relation to Sex. Volume Vol 49
Book (Encyclopaedia Britannica Pub)
The Origin of Species and the Descent of Man
Book (Random House, Incorporated)


Ray Eston Smith Jr
What are the fundamental laws of social morality?

Here's what I think:

First Law. Don't initiate force or fraud. This is absolutely true because people will not voluntarily associate with anyone who coerces or defrauds them. If a group of people don't obey this law, then they aren't voluntarily associated, therefore they are not a society, therefore social morality does not apply to them, anymore than it applies to rocks and trees.

Second Law. There are no other laws, because any other law would violate the first law.

Note: I am distinguishing between social morality, which people enforce on each other…

I don't think there are really any laws of social morality it is just social order.

Few scientists and religious scholars have seriously pondered how science and religion can be reconciled. But times are changing. Not long ago I attended two meetings that brought together scientists, theologians, and religious scholars to discuss just that issue. The first gathering was part of the Science and the Spiritual Quest II program ( sponsored by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California. The other was organized by the American Association for the…

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