Happy Darwin Day

Charles Darwin was born on Febrary 12th, 1809, and lived until 1882. He was a geologist who significantly advanced our understanding of how coral reefs form. He contributed to the study of archaeology through his study of soil formation processes. Darwin made many contributions to the collections of natural materials including insects and birds to major British museums and institutions of study. He was an experienced traveller, and reported on the ethnography of peoples around the world, especially in South America. He played an important role as keeper of the clocks on a major British mapping project, also in South America.

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By Steven Earl Salmony (not verified) on 12 Feb 2014 #permalink

Darwin was in my humble opinion the scientist who most affected the future. He called into question the accepted truth of the Bible (as well as then-current science) and contributed to the development of free-thinking every where.

Happy birthday, old sock!


By Sylvester B (not verified) on 12 Feb 2014 #permalink

Sylvester, that is true. But it is also true that modern science generally can trace its roots to Darwin. Of course, it can trace its roots to a lot of individuals, some events, some organizations, in the past. But Darwin developed the highest form of what I would call the "true" scientific method. Not this circle of hypothesis testing and formulation thing (that's nice too). Rather, he developed the method of drawing information from multiple sources (observation, experience, literature, ideas held forth in conversations, creative thought), evaluating everything in context of everything else, giving all ideas an equal measure of consideration for as long as they stood the various tests, and finally, synthesis into a provisional model. He did that first with his work on coral reef formation, then later with his work on evolution, for example.

In a sense, Darwin made other scientists suck it up and do the work and not just be armchair victorian meddlers in natural history as much as many had been.

He certainly wasn't alone in that approach but he did in part invent it for himself while on the Voyage and in those early ears after, in my opinion.