Since Darwin

There are more references to Darwin, his theory, and social extensions of his theory in everyday life (literature, tv, movies, plays, comics, etc…) than perhaps any other scientist or scientific theory in history. What is it about Darwin and his work that continues to shape 21st century thinking, from the sciences (biology, neuroscience, and psychology) to philosophy to the arts?  See if you can discover that for yourself with the help of some of these resources, that look at Darwin’s continuing influence…

 

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The Serious:

What about Darwin:  All Species of Opinion from Scientists, Sages, Friends and Enemies Who Met, Read, and Discussed the Naturalist Who Changed the World by Thomas Glick

This dictionary of quotations from famous–and infamous–thinkers will fascinate you.  The diverse collection draws from a wide range of personalities such as P.T.Barnum, Martin Luther King, Jr., Virginia Woolf, and Mahatma Gandhi to name a few! Drawing from essays, letters, novels, short stories, plays, poetry, speeches, and parodies, this deftly illustrates how Darwin’s ideas influenced all areas of thought for great thinkers of all professions, nationalities and walks of life.

The Pop:

The Rough Guide to Evolution by Mark Pallen

Not only is this a great primer on all things Darwin, it is irreverent, witty, and full of fascinating information and lore.  One fun section shows the influence of Charles Darwin and his work on contemporary popular culture, called “Evolution on Cult TV”.  It lists South Park episodes, Guinness beer commercials, and episodes from Friends, Sopranos, and many more.  Like this one:

The Simpsons, The Monkey Suit, Season 17, Episode 21

“With creationism on the march in Springfield, Lisa holds secret evolution classes, only to face trial in ‘Lisa Simpson versus God.’  Marge, rallying to her daughter’s side, becomes so engrossed in The Origin of the Species, that she is even caught reading it in the shower!”

The Graphic (Novel):

The Sandwalk Adventures:  An Adventure in Evolution told in Five Chapters by Jay Hosler

A terrific graphic novel featuring an elderly Charles Darwin and the family of mites that live in his eyebrow!  Unfortunately, the mites think he is their Creator, so it is up to Darwin to convince Willy and Mara ( the mites) that evolution is real.  This is an entertaining and informative introduction to evolution.

The Un-evolved:

The Darwin Awards:  Countdown to Extinction by Wendy Northcut

Scientist Wendy Northcut began the pop culture phenomenon of the Darwin Awards almost 20 years ago “to honor those who improve the species by accidentally removing themselves from it.” This most recent collection is the sixth in the series and is a very funny read.  Informative and interesting, these stories even include one selection about the author herself…  You might also want to check out the popular website she founded, DarwinAwards.com.

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