- Prof. Kavita Joshi
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change..."
February 12 is celebrated as Darwin Day. Every year on the anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, which took place in 1809, it is observed and celebrated all over the world. It is a day to celebrate "science and humanity" and to honour Darwin's contributions to science.
We reached a turning point in history when we began to look at ourselves and life in a new light. This affected not only how we saw ourselves, but how we saw our relationship with all other life forms and species on the planet. It was the moment when Charles Darwin brought the concept of Natural Selection into the scientific spotlight and we began to realize that everything, almost everything, was connected. Darwin's theories have proven absolutely vital to our understanding of life and species in the modern world.
Charles Robert Darwin was born in 1809 in Shrewsbury, England, and attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he went to school. He became a naturalist and geologist, and his work influenced people all over the world. Darwin was amazed by the sheer quantity and variety of fossils found all over the world, as well as the enormous diversity of organisms. Darwin then set out on a five-year expedition on the Beagle to sail around the world and study life in all its many forms. In the process, he made significant discoveries in the Galapagos Islands, such as how fourteen species of Galapagos finches have evolved from a common ancestor due to the adaptive radiation.
During his voyage, he collected fossils and specimens while studying botany, geology, and biodiversity in various locations. In short, Darwin concluded that species that successfully adapted to the changing demands of their natural habitat survived, while those that failed to do so died out through a process he called "natural selection."
He had made a name for himself as a world-renowned scientist. He published numerous volumes, but his most important work, "On the Origin of Species," remained unpublished. Although he completed the book in 1839, it was not published until 1859. Darwin feared the wrath of God if he opposed the teachings of the Church. According to the Church, man was the pinnacle of God's creation. Darwin did not view evolution as a staircase where each new species surpassed the previous one. He observed that species evolved outward rather than upward.
When Darwin revealed his views, which contradicted the traditional Christian worldview, he demonstrated enormous courage. Darwin was roundly chastised and ridiculed, but he continued his investigations and collected even more data to support his claims.
On this day, we should understand the main intention of the celebration, which is to inspire people around the world to reflect on and act upon the principles of intellectual courage, constant curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied by Charles Darwin.