An Interview With Emma Darwin

Way back in Episode 30 I stepped into a time machine and traveled back to 1869 in order to interview Charles Darwin.  This time around I brought someone forward in time… his wife Emma Darwin.  In this ‘interview’ we talk about Charles, their differences when it came to thoughts on religion and God, as well how his theories troubled him.  Emma reads extracts from some of the letters she had sent to Charles (all of which he saved) to shed light on their relationship and time together, both before and after the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859.

The voice of Emma Darwin is played by the talented Mackenzie Bryant.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com, Steven O’Brien at https://soundcloud.com/stevenobrien, and Brett McCoy at https://soundcloud.com/brett-mccoy

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The Strange Case of Richard Owen

Every good story needs a villain. And there has been quite a few in the history of evolution theory. History has not been kind to Richard Owen. But just like the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Owen had his good side. Not that his good side cared about the proper treatment of his fellow-man, his good side cared more about the proper treatment, and appreciation of, science.

Almost from the beginning, Owen’s star quickly rose. And he wasn’t quiet about it. He wasn’t one of those unassuming, introverted scientific types that we often hear about. That role’s been reserved for the Charles Darwin’s of the world. Owen was bold, he published papers, and he enjoyed the credit. Perhaps too much.

UPDATE:  A perceptive listener who lives near Lancaster wrote in to correct the following.  I referred to Lancaster as a ‘country town, when it is, in fact, a ‘county town’.  Also, the dinner held in the iguanodon took place in the entire body and not just the leg.  Excelsior!

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Episode Sound Bibliography

  • “Librivox.” LibriVox. Accessed August 1, 2015. https://librivox.org/the-strange-case-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-by-robert-louis-stevenson/.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear @ soundofpicture.com

 

An Interview With Charles Darwin

InterviewSo this is it.  Episode 30 of the ‘Evolution Talk’ podcast.  To mark the occasion I’ve done something I’ve always wanted to do… interview Charles Darwin!  Paying homage to my favorite creative medium, I present to you a very different format for this episode – an audio drama.  So sit back, slip on your favorite headphones or ear-buds, and step back into time with me to a cold and windy day in October… of 1869.

Cast:

Music by:

Written and produced by Rick Coste

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Darwin and God

Darwin and God  - Evolution TalkCharles darwin questioned everything when it came to the origin of species and the evolution of life here on earth. That questioning led him into some pretty dark places. As he grew more and more certain that nature was fully capable of producing the abundance of life around us without the assistance of a deity, the more he became afraid to say anything on the subject. 

He was concerned with the price his family might have to pay for his boldness in the eyes of man and in the eyes of God.  If he had been somewhat of a recluse before it was much easier now.  He still dealt with anxiety and stomach pains.  He still preferred to answer inquiries by letter and to have his friends and colleagues visit him in Down rather to make the trip to London, which he still did occasionally.  He much preferred to spend his days at home, with Emma and the children, pursuing the next question, or adding more bricks to the citadel that was natural selection.

Mentioned In This Episode:

 

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Suggested Reading

Read Aspects of Scepticism online.

Music in the Episode

All music in this episode by Rick Coste 

Darwin or Design

darwin_or_designNature itself appears to be designed for our pleasure and our existence. There appears to be evidence of craftsmanship everywhere we look.  In 1802 William Paley outlined his evidence for the existence of God, and it all pointed to nature.  The world appears much too complicated a design for there not to be a designer. 

As a young man, the more Charles Darwin learned about nature the more he began to question things. If species were immutable, meaning they never changed, then how was it that breeders were able to change the forms of dogs or pigeons?  What if something similar occurred in nature? According to William Paley nature required a designer.  Charles began to think that Nature was the designer.   A blind designer with no goal in mind at all.  It was either Charles Darwin or Design.

Mentioned In This Episode:

 

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Subscribe to the show in iTunes or Stitcher (Please leave a comment and rating.  It will help the show immensely.  Thank you!)

Suggested Reading

Read Natural Theology by William Paley online.

Read Zoonomia by Erasmus Darwin online.

Buy A Devil’s Chaplain by Richard Dawkins at Amazon.

Music in the Episode

All music in this episode by Rick Coste 

Darwin’s Doubts

Darwins_DoubtsThroughout his life Charles Darwin suffered bouts of anxiety and often went off alone by himself to think. His work afforded him the perfect escape and he dove into it at every opportunity. Knowing where his work led couldn’t have helped his anxiety. During the time leading up to his book’s publication in 1859, and in the years after, Darwin rarely left the house. He often complained of stomach troubles and used these as an excuse to avoid travel.  He needed to be sure when he presented his views and he needed the evidence to be strong.

His evidence was strong  but it didn’t stop the attacks. Whether it came from the clergy, his fellow biologists, or his readers, every negative missive was like a poisoned dart blown his way. No amount of appreciation or accolades could protect him from this.

Mentioned In This Episode:

 

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Music in the Episode

All music in this episode by Rick Coste except: