On February 12th, many will be celebrating the birthday of the father of modern evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin. Darwin Day, as the celebration is aptly called, was initiated by Dr. Robert Stephens at Stanford University and the Stanford Humanist Student Group in 1995. According to the official website – www.DarwinDay.org – “the objective of the Darwin Day Celebration is to encourage existing institutions worldwide, such as municipalities, public and private schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, etc., – and individuals – to celebrate Science and Humanity every year, on, or near, February 12th.”
When Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species in 1859, articulating his theory of natural selection as the mechanism which explained the variety of life on earth, he not only upset Biblical Literalists (which hasn’t changed up through today), he also opened the door for a paradigm shift in the fields of Naturalism and Biology. Since Darwin there have been many who have fine tuned ‘Evolutionary Theory’ as new evidence from genetics and other fields of study came in. Some of this fine tuning caused major rifts in scientific circles such as Niles Edlredge and Steven J. Gould’s Punctuated Equilibrium, while others just tweaked ideas here and there. There was perhaps a paradigm shift in the 1970s triggered by the work of George Williams, W.D. Hamilton, Richard Dawkins, and EO Wilson. They founded what is called “Neo-Darwinism,” and while scientists like Eledredge and Gould rejected much of Neo-Darwinism, it has nevertheless become all the rage right up to today.
Our guest today, Dr. Peter Corning, will speak about yet a new paradigm shift … a new way of looking at evolutionary theory … “Holistic Darwinism.”