John makes a confession and reads a book
John hasn’t read Origin. Not *this* John. And certainly not this one. It’s this one – and what he proposes to do is blog while he reads the first edition of that work. I have to say I approve of the use of the first edition – subsequent editions are a little murkier and lack the freshness of expression that makes the first such a wonderful read.
John expresses some slight shame at having not read Origin before. I don’t think that’s really a problem (or surprising). Biology students rarely read Origin and similarly physics students rarely crack open Principia; scientific education rarely encompasses exposure to the classic scientific texts (although I have argued in the past that they should). The important point is that we have moved beyond Darwin and, though appreciative of what he started, we need to realize that evolutionary theory has become much richer and much better established than in Darwin’s day. It is only the cdesign proponentists who seem not to realize this.
Lastly, John worries about being a “Darwinian.” I will just once again state that I am not a Darwinist, or for that matter, a Darwinian. The theory I use may be, but I am not. (Parenthetically, a session that I’m involved with for an upcoming conference seems to be gelling around discussing who the “Darwinians” actually were in the aftermath of the publication of Origin. The answer, it appears, is far from simple.)