Darwin at 200

Darwin at 200 May 21, 2009

As the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin is noted across the world, it is fitting that researchers continue to make landmark discoveries that may well dramatically inform the understandings of our ancestry (learn more about “Ida” here). This is an exciting time for those interested in evolutionary change and biological difference. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, praising the great scientist’s “spirit of inquiry,” reminds us that science and religion are partners in a mysterious truth always present in the creativity and variety of life. Darwin – a genius, gentleman, fearless seeker of truth, and devoted father of ten – has been much abused from many angles by many agendas. As the Vatican “buries its hatchet” with Darwin, (Cardinal Schonborn tells us that design is written into nature) below the fold I present some popular articles and lectures I’ve enjoyed recently that consider his life and how his discoveries still impact us today. Research consistently indicates that our genes shape much of human behavior, and so I expect that evolution will never cease to be a fascinating subject.

-Jonathan Haidt writes about the soon to be slaying of some very sensitive dragons as we investigate further the genome.
-A very informative article on recent and ‘big’ evolutionary changes.
-Why Darwin still matters.
-Book reviews: Why Darwin?
-A very good documentary on the Dover case.
-From National Geographic, an outstanding program: ’Morphed.’
-Steven Pinker on the ’cognitive niche.’
-Darwin the abolitionist.
-Greg Cochran, one of the great contemporary American scientists, is interviewed in five parts from here. Also, here is a podcast. An informative review of The 10,000 Year Explosion may be read here. A bloggingheads discussion with Cochran may be viewed here.

-A biologist reviews an ’intelligent design’ textbook.
-Derbyshire on the jargon of ‘culturalism.’ He considers science and policy here. For more, see here. Derbyshire considers the politics and unintended consequences of African aid here. (More on that subject from Dambisa Moyo may be read here.)
-Jim Manzi on science and religion.
-The evolution of dogs and wolves.
-Heather MacDonald on the persistently uneven distribution high level math skills.
-From Sailer: the continuing and accelerating rate of human evolution and Darwin’s enemies from the Left and from the Right. Sailer also has a useful Race and IQ “FAQ” here and here. Finally, an older piece on the realities of human difference. Sailer takes on Slate here.Derbyshire writes a piece about him here.

-The evolution of the idea of natural selection.
-How fossils reveal the truth about Darwin’s theory.
-How the political right misunderstands Darwin.
-Dawkins (no fan of the religious, but always worth a read) on Darwin.
-An article on the political influence of those who think like Dawkins (materialist, to generalize) can be read here.
-Jerry Coyne (also no fan of the religious, but always worth a read) on why evolution is true.
-Using “academic freedom” to crowd science out of science classrooms.
-An account of a debate between Professors Plantinga and Dennett.

-Ten propositions on Darwin and deity.
-Ross Douthat on Christ and Darwin. -Ross and Heather MacDonald dialogue here.
-John Lukacs on human knowledge.
-Hitchens on Texas and the evolution debate.
-A profile of Freeman Dyson, like Darwin and James Watson a man unwilling to bow down to strongly enforced pieties.
-A roundtable on evolution and cooperation.
-The evolution of a human flu virus.
-Our developing understanding of babies.
-Blogger extraordinaire agnostic thinks through teenage behavior and group identity.

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