The year 2009 sees two major anniversaries relating to Charles Darwin, one of the greatest scientists that ever lived – his work on evolution through natural selection provided the foundation of much of modern biology.
His 200th birthday falls on 12 February and on 24 November it will be 150 years since the publication of his book On the Origin of Species. The 12 February is celebrated throughout the world as Darwin Day
We encourage you to join us in celebrating Darwin's bicentenary and the 150th anniverary of the publication of one of the most influential books ever written.
|1809||12||Feb||Born at The Mount near Shrewsbury.|
|1828–31||Studied for Anglican Orders at Cambridge.|
|1831||27||Dec||Sailed from Devonport as naturalist on HMS Beagle under Captain Fitzroy.|
|1835||15||Sep||Beagle arrived for a 5 week stay in the Galapagos islands.|
|1836||2||Oct||Beagle returned to Falmouth after a 5 year circumnavigation.|
|1839||29||Jan||Married his cousin Emma Wedgwood.|
|1842||14||Sep||Moved into Down House, his home for the rest of his life.|
|1859||24||Nov||Publication of The Origin of Species.|
|1860||30||Jun||British Association meeting at Oxford at which T. H. Huxley confronted Bishop Wilberforce to defend Darwin's views.|
|1882||19||Apr||Charles Darwin died and was buried in Westminster Abbey.|
The legendary encounter between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce at the Oxford meeting of the British Association ("he [Wilberforce] begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey?") gave rise to a spate of ape cartoons.
The belief that belief in God is so important that it must not be subjected to the risks of discomfiture or serious criticism has led the devout to "save" their beliefs by making them incomprehensible even to themselves.