Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Darwin Day 2008

It is Darwin Day, once again, and I have nothing entirely new to add to the festivities.

Other than to point once again to this amazing handwritten graphic, in which Darwin helped himself to work out the beautiful, elegant and highly explanatory theory of descent with modification. As Richard Dawkins has observed, there are few theories that have given more bang for so little buck.

(Our Richard didn't put it quite so vulgarly, of course.)

It's difficult to know what to do on Darwin Day (Does one dance? Eat something special? Get drunk?), other than to mention that it is Darwin Day.

I can't think of a better thing to do than to support those humble institutions that promote real knowledge about science and evolution in particular.

One of my personal choices is the Grant Museum of Zoology in London. There is a personal connection there, as I often stay in Bloomsbury when I'm in that city and the museum is then right around the corner. It's a tiny place, crammed with skulls, bones and preserved critters of all varieties. But it's quite a lovely little oasis for quiet contemplation in a city that is increasingly hectic, superficial and loud.

They also allow you to 'adopt' a specimen. I've done this for one of their axolotls, about which I've come to feel quite attached. So please go and see him if you have a chance.

And, if you feel so inclined, become a member yourself.

Happy Darwin Day!

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