Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today In History: Monkey's nephew.

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin.

9 comments:

OA said...

Ahhhh yes, the man whose work no one has ever read, otherwise they'd know he was a believer in "intelligent design"...hence 'Origin of Species', rather than 'Origin of Life'. Publik skewel gud.

Tam said...

Life sciences have advanced a little since Chuck's day, but he was a quantum improvement over the "flat 6,000 year old world on the back of a turtle" that came before.

OA said...

Hey, you leave my 'Turtle Island' relative out of it. And to be fair, it was a metaphor.

staghounds said...

In the casual understated way so typical of Tasmanians, Bill Howroyd tells me how he was digging in his Hobart garden when, beneath an orange tree, he unearthed the skull of a monkey that had belonged to Charles Darwin.

Tasmania's capital has long been admired by visitors as varied as Agatha Christie and Darwin, both of whom toyed with the idea of retiring there. In February 1836, Darwin's ship the Beagle anchored in Hobart and the 26-year-old naturalist came ashore with his pet monkey.

He spent his 27th birthday party at Bill's house in Secheron Road, then owned by the town's chief surveyor, George Frankland. Here, Darwin passed "the most agreeable evenings since leaving England". The only hiccup was the death of his pet.

Bill took the skull to Max Banks, an expert at Tasmania's university. "What animal is it?" he asked.

Banks replied: "It's a monkey. Where did you find it?"

Bill explained.

"Then it's Darwin's pet monkey," Banks said. "It died while he was in Hobart."

LabRat said...

Evolutionary theory is completely bloody different from abiogenesis theory (theories of the origin of life), not to mention astrophysics and any theories on the origin of the universe itself.

I really wish wild-eyed secularists and creationists alike would realize science does not wrap everything up into one competitive creation-story package, nor should it.

OA said...

LabRat said...
Evolutionary theory is completely bloody different from abiogenesis theory (theories of the origin of life), not to mention astrophysics and any theories on the origin of the universe itself.


Yup. Yet ask the average guy/gal running around the States, or especially Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, hell, lots of places, about the origin of life. Care to guess who they'll bring up?


"I really wish wild-eyed secularists and creationists alike would realize science does not wrap everything up into one competitive creation-story package..."


There are plenty in science that wrap creation up into a nice little package (primordial sea/ocean/ooze). Unless it's actually The Church that's been synthesizing pantetheine...

"...nor should it."

Agreed. But humans tend to be an arrogant lot, scientists, too often, especially.

LabRat said...

Care to guess who they'll bring up?

Don't need to. Darwin's work was revolutionary, but it does not consist of the end-all and be-all of evolutionary theory any more than Henry Ford was the first and last word on combustion-engine-powered vehicles. I did say it was a universal problem of perception.

There are plenty in science that wrap creation up into a nice little package (primordial sea/ocean/ooze).

Since when is that "creation"? I was under the impression there was a rather largish universe out there besides "primordial ooze", and then subsequently a great deal and variety of life. The subject of the origins of biochemicals and their organization into functioning life forms is, scientifically speaking, a pretty narrow one. I was grousing initially because I am very tired of people saying "Darwin" to me and then proceeding to go onto a rant that encompasses basically all of science in order to prove that "evolution" is wrong.

Although, as I'm completely puzzled as to why you brought up the synthesis of vitamin B5, we are now apparently talking about different things.

OA said...

"I did say it was a universal problem of perception."

Yeah, tends to happen when many secondary schools teach it because it's easier that way.

"Since when is that "creation"?"

How are you defining "creation"? Big Bang Theory type creation? If so, it's clearly not creation, though the latter suffers the whole 'chicken or the egg' thing (along with God, for that matter). Entirely different road from this, that.

"I was grousing initially because I am very tired of people saying "Darwin" to me and then proceeding to go onto a rant that encompasses basically all of science in order to prove that "evolution" is wrong."

If you're up for some amusement (in a sad sort of way), take it up with your local PTA. You'll have both the average Darwinian creationists and religious after you. See if you get out of bed the next morning.


"Although, as I'm completely puzzled as to why you brought up the synthesis of vitamin B5, we are now apparently talking about different things."

UC San Diego had been dicking around with synthesizing it as part of the afore mentioned ooze. As in they believe it to be a vital part of life's emergence from the goop and had been working on having it form in conditions that they think would have been present on Earth at the time. At least I hope that was it. Otherwise, they wasted a lot of funding on what General Nutrition Center has a pretty good grip on.

LabRat said...

"How are you defining "creation"?"

Well, in this case, I was defining it as I thought was most literal: everything, unless there was some aspect of the universe, time, and space that God was not supposed to have created. So, not what I would view as "let there be basic biochemistry", but rather "life, the universe, and everything".

"If you're up for some amusement (in a sad sort of way), take it up with your local PTA. You'll have both the average Darwinian creationists and religious after you."

My local PTA? Not likely. I live in Los Alamos; the local public school's science department is better than some universities. Half the lab would picket on their lunch hour if they thought standards had slipped that badly.

UC San Diego had been dicking around with synthesizing it as part of the afore mentioned ooze.

Aaaah. I actually don't keep too current on the current state of abiogenesis theory- I'm vastly more interested in everything that happened after.