The man who figured out evolution by natural selection, Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), was born on this day in Shrewsbury, England.
"I am turned into a sort of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions," he said.
In 1835, as part of a five-year expedition around the world aboard the survey ship H.M.S. Beagle, Darwin stopped at the isolated Galapagos Islands, an ideal environment to gather data in his journal. The information would later inspire his theories of evolution.
"A man who dares to waste an hour of life has not discovered the value of life," he once observed.
It took him over 20 years to formulate his observations in The Origin of Species (1859). With keen observation, supported by fact upon fact, Darwin deduced that animals and plants adapt over long periods of time because they compete for food and mates.
Humans, like every other organism on earth, were the result of millions of years of evolution; the "best" or "fittest," survived. He called this natural selection. This radical revelation did not agree with the Bible's account of creation and caused a furor. Have we yet recovered?
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change," he said.
Friends who change with you are priceless.