200th birthday of Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin 200th Birthday Exhibitions

Conrad Martens, Sydney (detail), 1836, watercolour with scraping- out

Charles Darwin 200th Birthday Exhibitions

Conrad Martens, Sydney (detail), 1836, watercolour with scraping- out

This year marks ’s two hundredth birthday, and exactly 150 years since he published his world-changing book, The Origin of Species. Predictably, the entire planet has been overwhelmed with Darwin exhibitions and publications. I once read that Jesus Christ was the most biographed individual of all time, with Leonardo da Vinci in second place. By now, Captain Cook and Charles Darwin must be giving them some stiff competition.

When the great scientist died in 1882, the Germans were the first to call the nineteenth century, “Darwin’s century”. The British, less inclined to hyperbole, were more ambiguous in their feelings for the man who had given us the controversial theory of evolution. Nevertheless, they were not to be outdone, and buried him with tremendous pomp in Westminster Abbey. Darwin, for his part, had only wanted a modest ceremony in the small hamlet of Down in Kent, where he had lived quietly with his family. he end if his life he had become a universal icon.

For his acolytes, Darwin’s doctrines represented the ultimate triumph of science over superstition, the path of progress Britain had to pursue if its glory were to be sustained. To his detractors, he remained the heretic who claimed we were descended from monkeys rather than Adam and Eve. If religion were to be undermined in this way, went the argument, then morality would surely be the next casualty.

If we haven’t descended completely into anarchy over the past hundred years, neither has Darwin’s triumph impeded the growth of religious sentiment. His ideas about the mutability of species and the survival of the fittest have left the realm of biology and been adapted for social and cultural purposes. Not all of these uses have been congenial, as in the theories of ‘degeneration’ that the Jewish philosopher, Max Nordau unwittingly served up to the Nazis. So too the poisonous doctrine of economic rationalism engineered by F.A.Hayek, but used to devastating effect by Margaret Thatcher.

Conrad Martens, Govetts Leap, Watercolour on grey tinted paper, 1835 Augustus Earl, Bathurst Plains and Settlement, 1825–28, Watercolour

On the other hand, evolution has been the ultimate counter to revolution – the utopian idea that the world must be changed for the better by violent upheaval. Despite all the carnage of the past century, there is no denying that a large part of the world has made steady – evolutionary – progress towards health and happiness

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Lulu.com The Life Of Charles Darwin, Including His Letters & An Autobiographical Chapter, 200th Birthday Commemorative Edition
Book (Lulu.com)

— ABC Local
She's spent the last 20 years working as a lecturer in horticulture at Charles Darwin University. "You've to like your work," says Mrs Hagan when asked why she kept working long after she could have put her feet up. "I like the students, the students ..

— The Australian Financial Review
.. the University of Wollongong, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, the University of South Australia, Deakin University, Murdoch University, Charles Darwin University, Curtin University of Technology, Flinders University, Griffith ..

Science: January 9, 2009; (Origins) Charles Darwin Science's Celebration of his 200th Birthday
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— ABC Online
Thought for more than 150 years to be a subspecies of sugar glider, researchers based at Charles Darwin University in Darwin have recently found it more closely resembles two other species of glider, and they speculate that it may even represent an ..

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