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It's Darwin Day, today!

One of the most amazing quirks in history, is that the two greatest people of the 19th century, were born on the same exact day. Today is their birthday. They are Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. They both were born on February 12, 1809.

Lincoln was of course the president of the United States as it defeated the Confederate rebellion, a rebellion created with the intent to preserve slavery at all costs.

Charles Darwin was the man who made evolution well known. Before his books, few people, even among the educated, was aware of evolution. Charles Darwin also described and detailed maybe the chief mechanism behind evolution, natural selection.

To give a simple example, a fast cheetah or a fast antelope are more likely to survive then slower ones. For the former, to catch a meal, for the later, to survive. Indeed, for the antelope there is no other day, unlike for the cheetah, if he fails to get away on a particular day.

Natural selection also describes the origins of morality. Members of a tribe or group that cooperate (be they wolves or chimps or humans) are more likely to survive and pass on genes/DNA if they cooperate, then if they don't. These are the basic roots of morality, as well described in the excellent book, the Moral Animal, by Robert Wright.

So while you celebrate Lincoln's birthday, also remember that it is Charles Darwin's birthday. Indeed, scientists and lovers of science celebrate it every February 12th, as Darwin Day. If you haven't already, google it and check out what is going around where you live.

By the way, TalkOrigins is an excellent website to learn more about evolution.