Chuck's 200th birthday is coming around, and so is the 150th birthday of his "abstract" on evolution. I think both the man and the tome deserve an intellectual birthday cake or two, and anyone should be able to make one. Here's my recipe:
1. To celebrate the man: Pick a fact of Darwin's life that—to you—encapsulates/captures his humanity. Quote it, or link to it, and share your thoughts.
One really shiny option would be finding a nice letter in the massive Darwin Correspondence, or some personal materials, say, photos or a recollection. That stuff doesn't get our attention usually, and it shows Darwin as working, living, and loving (and lovable) man.
2. To celebrate the book: Pick a sentence or two from the Origin of Species and write about what inspiration/wonder and/or satisfaction/contentment you derive from it. (As a challenge, leave the last sentence of the book alone.)
Don't think about the Origin so much as a biology textbook (in this, it's a bit outdated) but as a contribution to how we think about ourselves as humans. It's a smart book, but not just because it set biology on its tracks!
3. Publish your answer somewhere and/or, if you want, send me a copy or link here: email@example.com
I'll try and collect all your contributions here, on this blog.
Feel free to comment on your co-contributors posts, but do it civilly, like Chuck would.
4. Naturally: SPREAD THE MEME.
Origin (link to the first edition is on the page):
Archive (start from here, and browse):
Correspondence (browse, baby, browse!):