Darwin. My friend, Your acquaintance

darwin

This year sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his ‘On the Origin of Species’. I am sure like many sitting reading this, the importance of this man’s work; to not only myself and the scientific community, but to less ‘evolved’ people everywhere is beyond estimation.

Quite simply, and I don’t exaggerate, before this man’s findings – there simply was NO science. Indeed it was only just over two-hundred years ago, whilst under the reign of King Henry the 8th, that man was still making blood sacrifices to the  Sun (this of course being our orbiting star and not to be confused with the newspaper. I don’t mean the Daily Star either) in effort to ward off evil spirits and encourage fertility.

 But when Darwin first boarded the HMS Beagle, on his legendary journey to the Galápagos, not even he could have imagined what he was to discover – or that he would be gone for five years – otherwise he would have packed more clothes.

 What few people realise today however was Darwin was not alone in his thinking and theory – indeed after returning to England and having spent some 20 more years at work on his paper, he learnt of another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who had developed similar ideas.  Fearing 20 years of work might have proved to be an unimaginable waste of to quote Darwin ‘‘my cocking time!!’’ – Darwin sought out Wallace and together they agreed to make a joint announcement of their discovery in the summer of 1858, at the Linnean Society of London. In the spirit of fair play – Darwin suggested the drawing of straws, as to who should speak first. Fortunately Darwin was no fool, extrapolating the likely impact of their findings he rigged the straws for Wallace to be first drawn. On winning the hand Wallace presented their research only to be received as a heretic by their peers and taken away to be yet another sacrificial offering to the Sun. Now with no one to stand in his way – and prepared after such a long wait to sit on his research for another year (when tempers may calm) – it was in 1859 Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin and no one else’.

The book remained still hugely controversial, being the logical extension of Darwin’s theory that Homo sapiens were simply another form of animal. It made it seem possible that even people might have just evolved – quite possibly from apes – and thus destroyed the prevailingly idiotic orthodoxy on how the world was created. Darwin was vehemently attacked, particularly by the church, so he took to growing a great beard and hiring doubles to go out in his place. Easily identifiable it is believed up to 17 ‘Charles Darwin’s were ‘lost’ before people started to come to their senses and Darwin’s work was rightly hailed as the accepted orthodoxy upon the origin and evolution of man.

This great intellect also collected bugs and married his cousin. Still Darwin died on 19 April 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey (although conspiracy theorists have run wild with claims for years that this body is merely another ‘double’). So perhaps Darwin is still out there somewhere now, perhaps reading this, and perhaps raising a glass to his 200th… birthday. Certainly I shall be partaking in a small Sherry. Won’t you join me?

No not you…

 

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