When Darwin was born 200 years ago (12 Feb, same as Honest Abe), there were no phones; steamboats and steam locomotives were still in R & D; the cell had been discovered but cell theory--the idea that all organisms are composed of cells--had not. Beethoven had just premiered the Pastoral symphony (number 6 of 9). Napoleon ran Europe.
When On the origin of species was published 50 years later, Flaubert's Madame Bovary had just scandalized French literary society, the telegraph had replaced semaphore (Napoleon's preferred means of military communication), and John Wilkes Booth had begun appearing on stage at Ford's Theatre in Washington. The U.S. was preparing to battle itself over the rights of some people to own others as property.
We were making progress.
What then, in 2009, do you call a country in which roughly 39 percent of the population still maintains that the Darwinian theory of evolution is "absolutely false," and that, when confronted with a major crisis of finance and capacity, trumpets cutting $60 billion of emergency funding for schools?
Willful idiots, I suppose. Makes me weep.
Learning, technology & development