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A Biography: Charles Darwin

My success as a man of science, whatever this may have amounted to, has been determined, as far as I can judge, by complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of these, the most important have been – the love of science – unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject – industry in observing and collecting facts – and a fair share of invention as well as common sense. With such moderate abilities as I possess, it is truly surprising that I should have influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some important points.

– Charles Darwin in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume 1

Charles Darwin

His is a name taught in every elementary textbook on biology and for good reason. Creationists have ever been eager to pounce on the fact that Darwin was never the first to come up with the theory of evolution, and indeed it is well-known that his first public presentation of his ideas was shared with Alfred Russel Wallace who developed the same theory of natural selection independently of Darwin. Yet it was Wallace who wrote:

“We claim for Darwin that he is the Newton of natural history, and that, just so surely as that the discovery and demonstration by Newton of the law of gravitation established order in place of chaos and laid a sure foundation for all future study of the starry heavens, so surely has Darwin, by his discovery of the law of natural selection and his demonstration of the great principle of the preservation of useful variations in the struggle for life, not only thrown a flood of light on the process of development of the whole organic world, but also established a firm foundation for all future study of nature.”

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New beginnings

myphoto.jpg I first registered calltoreason.org in 2001. I was 25 years old then and quite a different person. Like many vanity websites, my interest in maintaining and updating didn’t last long, and what work I did put into it was as much to play with HTML, CSS and JavaScript as to actually write any content. Nevertheless, while the drive lasted, I did manage to write a few short essays.

The website languished for a long while then, though I continued to use the domain name as my personal e-mail address and used the hosting space for a private forum for some of my old school friends. A long while ago, one of these friends suggested that I change the website to a blog, so as to make it easier to update it. In retrospect, he was right. The days when I was convinced that raw HTML on a plain text editor was the only way to work on my website are long gone. If I had switched to a blog format earlier, I might actually have gotten more done.

I’ll be adding those old essays that I’m not too embarrassed about as posts over the few days. After that, who knows.