Geology is the Key
Since the first time I saw the mountains of the Livingston Range in Glacier National Park, I fell in love. They are the product of a tremendous overthrust that brought that huge block of Precambrian rock to the surface. Then massive glaciers rode over it and carved those mountains into their current form. It was easy for the imagination of a nine year old to envision such things and accept them as real. That those actions had taken millions of years to happen was inconsequential. When you are nine anything past twenty is ancient. So the difference between fifty years and ten thousand (the age of glaciers) or ten million or billion is only abstract.
It was the wonder of geology and its processes that amazed Charles Darwin. It was the acknowledgement of geology that made possible his work on natural selection. Through the study of geology he was able to expand the clock of creation and make his science valid. While most people know him as a natural scientist, He had a love of geology. His five year trip around the world is remembered for his observance of animals. Yet, he wrote four times as many notes regarding geology of those distant lands as he did of the animals that inhabited them.
I am not a Darwin nut and came across that tidbit in a round about way. While reading of the geology (again geology) of Yellowstone Park I was directed to the Geotimes website, on their pages was a description of the Darwin Bicentennial Exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History. The single thing that goaded me was the mention, that because of the current-ongoing-resistance to Evolution. The museum had had to rely upon private donors to finance the exhibit. It seems that corporate sponsors were leery of offending religionists who still believe that the earth is flat; so to speak.
Well, that just irritated me. Don't tell me what to believe. Don't hide the truth from me. Don't stand on my shoulders and relate to me the beauty of your ideas. All the while insisting mine have no value or truth. In any case, I tiptoed on to the Darwin Website and came across the previous bit of info and other stories of his travels and life's work.
The exhibition website is fairly complete, covering his discoveries and showing a few personal artifacts. There is even a web cam featuring two giant tortoises. The picture is refreshed every thirty seconds, which puzzled me, but they do move around. If you live in the New York City area I would suggest going to see the exhibit, it will be in place until May 29th. If you cannot get there click through and visit it on the Web.
over thru August 20th 2006