Yikes. As everyone seems to have noticed, their cover story this week is Lincoln vs. Darwin, an absurd premise driven by the coincidence of their common birthday, which stoops to quoting their horoscope at us.
As soon as you do start comparing this odd couple, you discover there is more to this birthday coincidence than the same astrological chart (as Aquarians, they should both be stubborn, visionary, tolerant, free-spirited, rebellious, genial but remote and detached–hmmm, so far so good).
And of course, this being our brain-dead media, it can’t actually discuss them as independent people who made their own unique contributions to the world, it has to turn it into a horse race and ask, “Who was more important?” (I won’t give the answer away, but here’s a hint: which one was American?) It’s a glib and superficial bit of tripe.
The only good part is that it does define what a scientist is. This will be handy when people ask what I do for a living.
And Darwin, at least at the outset, was hardly even a scientist in the sense that we understand the term–a highly trained specialist whose professional vocabulary is so arcane that he or she can talk only to other scientists.
You can read more about this major media event at the Sandwalk and RichardDawkins.net. Sad to say, I don’t seem to share a birthday with any major historical figures, precluding any hypothetical rivalries. Although I was born on the same day as a major earthquake in the Aleutian Islands, if that means anything.