Glendon named this Darwin Took Steps. Size: 8″x11″, Oil on canvas paper. Assigning a number to any amount of steps would be arbitrary, but I chose 5 for a reason. Four for the support of evolution by natural selection (Darwin drew upon examples of 1. biogeography, 2. morphology, 3. embryology, and 4. palaeontology), and the fifth step for natural selection itself, or the elevation of reason over dogma, as the viewer likes. The steps of learning never end.
Darwin At 199, courtesy of Dick Renfro
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) – What is it about this man that generates apoplexy among so many “religious” people? In 1859 Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. He was not the first scientist to suggest that the world, as we know it, developed via gradual change over a very long time. Darwin had been working on his theory for more than twenty years; he knew perfectly well that it would stir up controversy. (Today most main-line Jewish and Christian sects accept the theory of evolution as being compatible with their understanding of the Book of Genesis.) Darwin had begun his university studies as a medical student in Edinburgh, but he blew off medicine to study DIVINITY at Cambridge. As a boy, Darwin was interested in natural history and while at Cambridge found the study of natural science more to his liking than theology.
In 1831 Darwin set out on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle, circumnavigating the globe and spending over three years exploring the coastline, flora, and fauna of southern South America. The rest, as we say, is history. Upon his return to England he arranged his notes, read voraciously in all fields of science, developed his ideas, and began writing. On the Origin of Species was not the first writing of his to be published, but it was the first widely accepted by the public and drew the ire of the churchmen of the day. He fueled the fire by publishing The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex in 1871 and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals in 1872. As often happens, Darwin’s ideas so vehemently attacked as heresy are now accepted as orthodoxy in scientific circles.
About Dick Renfro: Dick is a retired U.S.Army Lt Colonel; a member of the American Humanist Association and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He was a co-founder in 1998 of the Humanist Forum of the UU Church of Lexington, KY which has morphed into the Humanist Forum of Central Kentucky, a chapter of the AHA. This year’s Darwin Day commemoration is sponsored by the Kentucky Association of Science Educators and Skeptics; it will be held at the UUCL featuring a presentation by Daniel Phelps of his visit to the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.