The Island of Doubt

Darwin’s big advantage

Not to diminish Charles Darwin’s brillance in the slightest, but there’s a nice little essay in the New York Times by Nicholas Wade that helps explain why the guy managed to get so much so right so long ago. The money quote:

One of Darwin’s advantages was that he did not have to write grant proposals or publish 15 articles a year. He thought deeply about every detail of his theory for more than 20 years before publishing “The Origin of Species” in 1859, and for 12 years more before its sequel, “The Descent of Man,” which explored how his theory applied to people.

So what need are more and bigger MacArthur genius awards, right?


  1. #1 Pam
    February 22, 2009

    No kidding. I can’t imagine having that luxury, after having just submitted an NIH proposal, with a nine day turn around to get the next proposal (to NSF) submitted. At my University (and at most of them) today, I wander if Darwin would have written alot of small papers – but never the one that consolidated it all? (Also – I agree with the post above about the Darwin film – linking it to the existence or nonexistence of God is ludicrous…and I’m assuming they know, that – and just want to add to the buzz. If not, or either way, the film might be doomed. I hope not though.

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