Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday Charles and Abe!

Not sure I can add anything insightful to what’s already out there about these two individuals. Except my opinion that it’s pointless to try to compare them, and only a little more enlightening to ask “What would they think if they came back today?”

After all, they’re still here, their names are attached to their original accomplishments as well as to ideas, causes and controversies in the forefront today, but ones that they could have known nothing about. Darwin’s head often appears on a monkey’s body, although he didn’t discuss the evolution of man in the 1859 On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s finches put the Galapagos Islands on today’s map as the premiere eco-travel destination.

We put Lincoln’s head on the penny, a coin that scarcely anyone will bother to pick up off the ground. In a far more appropriate setting, you can read some of the grandest of his writings etched in the wall of the Lincoln Monument. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln spoke of unfinished work.

It’s fortunate they are still around as we’re not done with them yet, and we have work to do. Natural selection drives evolution, fossils are the evidence and molecular biology explains how it works, but only about half of Americans believe in evolution. And recent political events aside, racism is still here. It manifests itself in social and economic inequality in this country and around the globe.

So it’s a good thing to recognize Charles and Abe, I think.

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