Thursday, 12 February 2009

Darwin, the Isle of Wight, Evolution & Buddhism

Today marks the 200th aniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and is internationally recognised as "Darwin Day". Moreover, 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species", on the 24th of November 1859.

In a recent letter to the Isle of Wight County Press A.J.M. Gale points out that

"Charles Darwin visited the Island in 1858, the year he started writing his famous work, The Origin of the Species. Normally his home was in Shropshire but at the beginning of June 1858 scarlet fever was sweeping through the village. Darwin decided to take his family away until the outbreak had run its course. Darwin chose to come to the Island and at first stayed in Sandown — it is thought at the King's Head Hotel adjoining the Ocean Hotel.

It is in a letter to Charles Lyell dated June 18, 1858, that he wrote 'We are established here for ten days and then go onto Shanklin'. He also said he had contemplated writing an abstract of his work but realised it would take a larger work. It is reasonable to assume that while on the Island he started on the abstract that would lead to his main work. On July 30, while resident at Norfolk House, Shanklin, Darwin wrote to J. D. Hooker: 'This is a very charming place and we have got a comfortable house'. Later he wrote: 'I pass my time by doing daily a couple of hours of my Abstract'. He also expresses the view this will lead onto his larger work."

As to Buddhism and evolution, Darwin's theory is readily acceptable to Buddhists. Everything is conditioned by what went before, everything is interconnected, nothing is permanent - all changes and, here's the cruncher, - there is no creator god.

Read more on the Buddhist perspective on Darwin HERE

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