“…light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history”
That was a quote from Charles Darwin as it appeared in On The Origin of Species. Published in 1859 that book placed Darwin on the front lines of a battle that continues to this very day. That battle being the one over our origin story. The origin of the human race. Did we appear on the earth fully formed as we are now or did we evolve gradually over time from some long gone ancestor? One that wasn’t human?
Controversial arguments aside, that wasn’t the goal of Darwin’s book. What he set out to do was to explain the world and the abundance of species around him. It can be said that his theory of evolution by natural selection is the single greatest idea that anyone has ever had. Ever. If you are truly ambitious you can apply selection theory to everything. It explains how ideas, or memes, propagate throughout our society and culture, and even how technology has advanced from a slow, steady rate, to the leaps and bounds we’ve seen over the last 100 years. A beautiful example of this is the first successful flight of a powered glider by the Wright Brothers in 1911. Less than 60 years later we were walking on the moon. In the span of one human lifetime we’ve achieved more than can be imagined. If you trace the evolution of flying machines from the Wright Brothers to the Space Shuttle you will see a history of small adaptations in design that allowed our journey to progress from the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to the stars.
What does all of this have to do with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection?
Without the ability to adapt, retain those adaptations, and survive, we as a species wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day.
Which brings us to the Evolution Talk podcast. If you’ve ever wondered what all of the fuss was about, or how evolution works, then you’ve come to the right place. Together we will look at theory itself, what it means, and take a deeper dive into the mechanics that drive it. Our DNA and our genes. From chromosomes, to replication, and to the emergence of new species, we will explore Darwin’s idea from its humble beginnings, and they were humble beginnings, to the driving
force it is today.
Darwin’s ideas were considered dangerous when he first published On the Origin of Species a little over 150 years ago, 2009 marked it’s 150th anniversary. Darwin of course knew what he was suggesting when it came to explaining our presence on this earth and, as much as it troubled him, he also knew that we needed to understand it if we were to move forward.
No matter what beliefs you bring to the table, or your current level of understanding, there is something here for everyone. The theory of evolution by natural selection is not threatening, or difficult to understand. In fact, it’s so simple that you’ll wonder, as Thomas Huxley once did, why it was that you had never thought of it before.
It’s going to be fun.