Friday, 4 July 2008

Celebrating Darwin and Lincoln...

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I learnt something I feel like I should already have known today, namely that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day –12 February 1809.

To celebrate, US magazine Newsweek has got in there six months early with a Charles and Abe cover story - "Who was more important: Lincoln or Darwin?". OK, so it's a spurious premise and one that irritates atheist blogger PZ Myers ("Of course, this being our brain-dead media, it can't actually discuss them as independent people who made their own unique contributions to the world, it has to turn it into a horse race ... It's a glib and superficial bit of tripe"), but does this really matter? I've been reading it during my breaks today, and it's actually quite an enjoyable article. If you want to take in their individual "unique contributions", pick up a book on one or the other (there's thousands to choose from).

Have a read yourself and see who they decide was better. Yes it's a bit ridiculous, but no harm done.


Charlotte said...

I found it a little moronic and insipid myself, and lacking in historical context if not accuracy.

One small example: "each of them [Darwin and Lincoln] lost children to early death"

What 19th century family didn't?

To be fair, it does improve once you get into it.

George Jelliss said...

Dear Editor. It was 1809, not 1819. 200th anniversary, geddit? Thomas Paine died earlier in the same year (end of January). A more interesting question might be, which one was he reincarnated as? That is if we went in for such games. But 1809 was something of an annus mirabilis for births of the famous-to-be, so there are many other choices.

tom sheepandgoats said...

It is strange that Lincoln's death was reported in some small town newspapers the day before he died. Also a well-known dream of his demise. Supernatural? Evidence of a plot? Some unexplained pschological trick? I'm not sure its ever been accounted for. Also a huge number of coincidences between his assassination and that of John Kennedy. (I can't verify every one of them, and some aren't that remarkable, but there sure are a lot)

ThomasJPitts said...

It's pretty rude to hotlink to images... at least save it and host it yourself or use google images to find your own like I did in the first place.

ThomasJPitts said...

Please don't hotlink.