To start this article, I’m sorry that I haven’t written a blog article in almost a month — partly because my mother’s in a local nursing home recovering from knee replacement surgery a few weeks ago, and also because I’ve had to take on the task of watching over my family home until she does come home. With that said …!
Today marks the respective 200rd birthdays of two men who not only made history, but also altered that of the world we live in: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Lincoln, as U.S. President, led the country through one of its most difficult periods — the Civil War — and freed African-Americans from the kind of slavery that had already stained the country’s principles. Darwin is best remembered for his theory of evolution, one that would arouse mixed reactions from generations, whether they be scientists or priests.
Some might say that Lincoln and Darwin had little in common throughout their lifetimes, except for the fact that they were born on the same date — February 12, 1809. And while great men rarely think alike, both Lincoln and Darwin were both evolutionary and revolutionary, in terms of what they accomplished — and how their legacies continue to shape future generations. Lincoln was a master of the spoken word, a talent that served him well as he rose up the political ladder, right up to the Presidency — and though he lacked a proper education, he was a far smarter and wiser man when it came to putting the needs of all Americans first, especially their future. In spite of the obstacles and personal tragedies that he had to face during his lifetime, Lincoln showed a compassion that equalled those of other great historical figures, even towards the Southern states making up the Confederacy after they lost the Civil War to the Union armies — a compassion so legendary that not even John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s killer, could silence it.
In coming up with his theory of evolution, Darwin questioned many things, including the Holy Bible as the ultimate source of the Earth’s progress. Whether or not mankind evolved from apes is still open to debate — yet, in the almost-two centuries since Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, evidence has been uncovered that has given us further insight into our planet’s past, including the discovery of dinosaur bones in nearly every part of the world. More importantly, the world has learned to embrace the scientific knowledge that has since become fact, without forsaking our religious beliefs — in other words, we’ve come to accept the fact that there’s more to history and knowledge than just the Bible.
How Lincoln and Darwin would view today’s world is a subject better suited for historians and journalists — but there’s little doubt their achievements were both evolutionary and revolutionary. Without them, history would have been changed greatly — and today’s world would be far more troubling than everybody might think.
February 12, 2009