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A Matter Of Opinion

Thu., Feb. 12, 2009, 12:24 p.m.

What would Darwin do?

It's Charles Darwin's birthday. He's a tad older than Cindy. If he were alive today, what would he think (beyond "how do I get out of this coffin?"):

Some scientists weigh in on that. Excerpt:

Even though the laws governing inheritance were being worked out by Austrian priest and scientist Gregor Mendel during Darwin's lifetime, the significance of this work for evolution and all of biology went undiscovered until the early 20th century.

"The breakthroughs of Mendelian inheritance, from genetics down to the human genome, are an exuberant celebration of evolutionary theory," Novacek said in a telephone interview this week.

Meanwhile, creationists and claims about intelligent design would sound something like a broken record to Darwin, who was familiar, as were his contemporaries, with William Paley's "Natural Theology," published 50 years before "Origin," Novacek explained.

Paley asserted that living organisms are so complex and refined that there must be some divine creator behind their design and creation.

"Darwin would probably say, this looks like history repeating itself. This is a little déjà vu," Novacek said. "He would say, 'Here we go again.'"

Thoughts?

 




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Gary Crooks
Gary Crooks joined The Spokesman-Review in 1997. He is editor of the Opinion section and a member of the Editorial Board.

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