“It is important to keep in mind,” writes Keith Lockitch:
that evolution by natural selection is a theory that pertains to all life on earth. To prove a fundamental truth concerning all life on earth requires a range of facts and evidence drawn from every part of the organic world. The scope of the evidence must be commensurate with the scope of the principle it supports - and evolution is the fundamental integrating principle of all biology. [Note 1.]
Which man is it that spent his life seeking and accumulating vast quantities of data, “getting his hands dirty,” as Dr. Lockitch puts it, in the collecting and cataloguing of innumerable facts of nature? Whose mind is it that organized, integrated, and finally grasped the implications of this material? Who is it that published one of the most remarkable examples of scientific - indeed, human - achievement of all time, The Origin of Species?
The man was Charles Darwin, born on this day, two hundred years ago.
Title page of a first edition of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, from Darwin200.
1. Keith Lockitch, “Darwin and the Discovery of Evolution,” The Objective Standard, Spring 2008, p. 48.
2. Reproduction of the title page of The Origin of Species is from Darwin200, http://www.darwin200.org/.