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Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

Posted February 09, 2009 5:00 PM by april05

Two-thousand nine celebrates both the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth - February twelfth - as well as the one-hundred-fiftieth publication anniversary of his masterpiece, whose full title is "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life" - November twenty-fourth.

The perceptual shock-waves Darwin's master-work produced, with his new way of explaining how all life on planet earth came to be, are still being felt, especially here in the United States. To this day, his theories remain more controversial here than they do in Japan, Europe, and even China.

DARWIN'S EARLY LIFE

Charles Robert Darwin was born February 12th, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England, the fifth child of six, into a wealthy family. His father, a medical doctor whose practice focused on the well-to-do, subscribed to the 17th century English "freethinker" philosophy, while his mother was influenced by the Anglican religion.

<-- Charles Robert Darwin, age 51, the year he published "On the Origin of Species". All photos courtesy Wikipedia.

At the age of eight, already interested in nature and collecting natural specimens, he attended a school ran by an Anglican preacher. A year later, following the death of his mother, he moved to the Anglican Shrewsbury religious boarding school.

Later, in his nineteenth year, Darwin befriended and began to follow the thinking of botany professor John Stevens Henslow. Henslow and his peers saw their work as "natural theology", or as a way of connecting everyday physical experience with their religious understanding of the world.

When he turned twenty-two, Darwin joined a 5-year scientific expedition aboard the survey ship HMS Beagle. Upon his return to England in 1836, he set about solving the mysteries of the observations he had made aboard the Beagle.

TRAGEDY DRIVES DARWIN TO WRITE "ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES"?

In 1851, Anne Elizabeth Darwin, beloved second-born child of Charles and Emma Darwin, died as a result of a wasting disease, possibly tuberculosis. Wasting diseases were a common cause of premature death in 1800's England.

Annie's death, and Darwin's earlier experience with his own illness, made him think about the possibility that her illness was hereditary, and had come from the fact that he and his wife shared close family connections. This feeling, that inbreeding was a possibility for Annie's death, may have been a driving force for Darwin as he conducted his research and writing.

<-- "Annie" Darwin.

RESPONSE TO PUBLICATION

On the Origin of Species provoked international interest upon publication, but with less controversy than its predecessor, "Vestiges of Creation" by Darwin's Scottish contemporary, Robert Chambers.

A year prior to publication, and after learning that another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, had developed similar ideas, Darwin collaborated with Wallace to make a joint announcement of their discovery in 1858.

Although he was unable to personally take part in public debates on the theories contained in On the Origin of Species, Darwin closely followed written criticism, and wrote to colleagues world-wide in response.

Harvard botanist Asa Gray, a trained medical doctor and from Sauquoit, New York, assisted Darwin in development of his theories through a trans-atlantic letter-writing relationship.

When Darwin was ready, Gray then went on to help with U.S. publication of On the Origin of Species. Asa Gray coordinated with his English counterpart, and was a champion of Darwin's ideas against fierce opposition from prominent American scientists of the day, including anatomist and geologist Louis Agassiz.

Part 2 will focus on the impact of Darwin's work on education in the New York State education system.

- Larry Kelley

Resources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/darwin/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/darwin_charles.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_origin_of_species

http://www.cbc.ca/radioshows/THE_SUNDAY_EDITION/20090208.shtml

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

02/11/2009 9:44 AM

There is love, and there are lunitics, on both sides of the street ... those "celebrating Darwin's masterpiece", and those who will continue to celebrate our Creator's masterpiece.

Scientists can dig, and find, and put-together ALL the bones and 'data' this earth has to offer... and they can spin it however they wish, to make it state whatever they had set-out in the first place to "prove".

If you love, adore, and applaud Science because it has "freed you" from the bondage of trying to live a certain way, under the watchful/caring/loving/forgiving eyes of your Creator ... then it is you - and - only - you who have lost.

Whatever you wish to call Him, our Creator IS ... and will always be here for us.

And just as He created Adam from dust; NOT as an egg, an embryo, or a baby, but as a fully grown man, He certainly could have (and did) create every living species, in whatever number(s) He chose, and placed them on this earth for us to dominate ("over which to exert our dominion")... and ultimately, to express wonder and awe about such things, and to raise questions....

Personally, I love and respect guys like John Pendleton (chemist; Google U-Tube for his take on such issues. There are subjects that evolutionists won't dare enter into conversation about ... more of those "gaps" in Darwin's theory).

Information is great. Knowledge IS a wonderful thing. But, when blended with just the right dash of evil (however it comes dressed), it can only bring grief and doom.

Those who cannot see the light, will lead their followers into darkness.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

02/11/2009 10:40 PM

"If you love, adore, and applaud Science because it has "freed you" from the bondage of trying to live a certain way, under the watchful/caring/loving/forgiving eyes of your Creator ... then it is you - and - only - you who have lost."

Perhaps for many people, it was not the creator that they sought to leave behind. Perhaps it was just the constraint of their thinking; a straightjacket imposed by the requirment that they accept as an absolute certainty, the 'truth' of certain stories that people had from time to time recited to each other about the nature and doings of said creator. Maybe for them ir was the awe and reverence for the creator that mattered.Perhaps for many others, the awe and reverence for the creation itself was more than enough. There is no need to assume that they are lost or evil.

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Anonymous Poster
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

02/12/2009 9:51 AM

"There is love, and there are lunitics, on both sides of the street..."

Not a single solitary statement applies to "all"... except:

Blessings to all!

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#4

Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

02/18/2009 11:09 AM

Author's note: Part 2 is now available - click here.

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Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 1)

02/25/2009 5:55 PM

Wonder what Darwin evolved into?

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