Today is International Darwin Day, celebrated on the birthday of Charles Darwin in 1809.
The mission of International Darwin Day is to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.
The Palace will be celebrating Darwin Day by, among other things, studiously working on its tactical plans for mooning the pope when he comes to NYC in September.
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
There is indeed grandeur in this view of life, much greater than can be found in ancient myths, greater even than Darwin could have dreamed of in his time. He had no knowledge of DNA, for example, or the myriad ways the concept of selection would be expounded upon in the years to come. You can read On the Origin of Species online for free here.
So celebrate International Darwin Day today—and annoy a creationist near you!