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Happy Birthday Chuck!

There will be many eloquent and insightful posts written today but I think the below quote shows the beauty and elegance of Darwin’s theory better than I ever could. Best wishes to all marking this day.

darwin-colourIt 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.

Darwin Day Events in Ireland

This Thursday is Darwin Day and there are numerous events planned world wide.

There are several events in Ireland that you may be interested in.

Wednesday the 11th sees the Irish Skeptics Society hosting a lecture by Professor Tom Hayden, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin entitled “Charles Darwin and the Origin of Humans”. The lecture takes place at 8.00pm in the Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Thursday the 12th will be the HAI’s Annual Darwin Day lecture. The lecture takes place at 7.30pm in the Davis theatre, Arts building,Trinity College, Dublin. This year’s speaker is Professor David McConnell, Professor of Genetics, TCD and the topic is “Darwin, genetics, and the nature of humankind”.

Last but not least our own Mid-west Humanists event will be a trip to the Burren to explore the flora and geology of this unique area. This will replace our normal monthly meeting and takes place on Sunday the 15th at 11.00am. Meet up is in the underground car park across from the Castletroy Park Hotel and we’ll be car pooling.

There are also a number of other Irish events planned this year details of which can be found here.

Hope you’re able to attend one or more of these events and to all an early Happy Darwin Day!

Update – Those of you who, like me, cannot attend any of these events may be interested in this virtual meeting/conference call at 18.00 GMT on the 12th. There is also a Facebook group and of course the man himself twitters.