The Genius of Charles Darwin
By Rosie Millard
The Sunday Times, August 3, 2008
Edited by Andy Ross
Professor Richard Dawkins:
"It's fine to teach children about
scientific controversies. What is
not fine is to say there are these two theories; one is called evolution,
the other is called Genesis. If you are going to say that, then you should
talk about the Nigerian tribe who believe the world was created from the
excrement of ants.
"Most devout Muslims are creationists — so when
you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents
who trot out what they have been taught.
"I was shocked by how some put up barriers to
understanding. I showed them the evidence, and they just said, 'This is what
it says in my holy book.' And so I asked, 'If your holy book says one thing,
but the evidence says something else, you then go with your holy book?' And
they said, 'Yes.' And I said, 'Why?' And they said, 'It's the way we've been
"Teachers are bending over backwards to 'respect'
home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The
government could do more, but it doesn't want to because it is fanatical
about multi-culturalism and the need to 'respect' the different 'traditions'
from which these children come."
Genius of Charles Darwin
By Robin McKie
The Observer, June 22, 2008
In 1858, Alfred Russel Wallace pondered how
disease and famine kept human populations in check. Fittest
variations will survive longest and will eventually evolve into new species,
he realised. He wrote up his ideas and sent them to Charles
Steve Jones: "Wallace's
letter gave Darwin a good kick up the backside. He had prevaricated for 20
years and would have done so for another 20 if he hadn't realised someone
else was on the trail."
The end result was On the
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Remarkably, it is the only major scientific treatise to have been
written as a piece of popular writing.
Richard Dawkins: "When you
read The Origin of Species, you get a real feeling that Darwin was very keen
to be understood. He did not want merely to persuade fellow scientists, he
wanted to show to the public the truth of his ideas. He took great pains
with it, which is why it is such a convincing book."
venerated to this day. By contrast Wallace has been forgotten. He was happy
to let Darwin and his friends promote natural selection
David Attenborough: "Wallace was an admirable man and was almost saintly in
his treatment of others. However, as a scientist, he was no match for
Darwin. Wallace came up with the idea of natural selection in a couple of
weeks in a malarial fever. Darwin not only worked out the theory, he amassed
swathes of information to support it."
Jim Endersby: "Wallace came to
believe evolution was sometimes guided by a higher power. He thought natural
selection could not account for the nature of the human mind and claimed
humanity was affected by forces that took it outside the animal kingdom."
According to Darwin, there are no get-out clauses for humans. This version of natural selection
is now accepted by virtually every scientist on Earth.