New Scientist celebrates the Origin sesquicentennial


Adding to the celebrations of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, New Scientist enlisted Steve Jones to summarize Darwin's masterpiece. Jones previously updated the Origin, with modern language and modern examples, in his Darwin's Ghost (Random House, 2000). Introducing his New Scientist summary, Jones writes, "If The Origin was a hasty letter to its readers, this account is no more than a postcard. But I hope that in just a fraction the length of its archetype it sketches out how Darwin might make his case today, a century-and-a-half on." Jones is Professor of Genetics and head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment at University College London; he is also Steve #8 of NCSE's Project Steve (now with 1118 Steves).

Appearing in the same issue of New Scientist is the editorial "Darwin's long argument is won," arguing, "the argument put forward in The Origin is no longer just a theory (in the colloquial sense). The veracity of Darwin's thinking shines out with clarity. The long argument is over and, as Darwin himself aptly put it: 'There is grandeur in this view of life.'" The editorial also notes that "copies of Darwin's great work, adulterated with a creationist introduction, are about to be distributed on college campuses," referring to Ray Comfort's imminent campaign; NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott recently described Comfort's introduction as "a hopeless mess of long-ago-refuted creationist arguments, teeming with misinformation about the science of evolution, populated by legions of strawmen, and exhibiting what can be charitably described as muddled thinking."