200 years of Darwin

200 years of Darwin

Charles Darwin

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Thursday 12th February is the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth. It is also 150 years since the publication of his most famous work "On The Origin of Species".

The book contained Darwin's radical theory of evolution by means of natural selection and caused a furore when it was published.

The first ever published copy of Charles Darwin"s "On The Origin Of The Species" is displayed as part of a new exhibition at Down House on February 9, 2009 in Orpington, England.

The first edition of On The Origin of Species sold out quickly

Much of the evidence for his ground-breaking book was gathered on a five year journey on the British survey ship, HMS Beagle, most notably on his stop the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

In his journal at the time, Darwin described being astonished at the "creative force" producing such an extraordinary variety of unique species.

150 years later there are questions about the islands' future.

Their popularity has seen a surge in development and, because the ecosystems there are so fragile, conservationists fear that irreversible damage could result.

The BBC's environment correspondent David Shukman reports from the Galapagos.

Listen Listen to David Shuckman (5 mins 49 secs)

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I would rather be related to an ape than be a clergyman who introduces ridicule into serious debate.

Thomas Huxley

In one memorable encounter, two gentlemen of the day, Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley, debated the text at the Oxford University Musem in June 1860.

Ray Comfort is the author of You Can Lead An Atheist To Evidence But You Can't Make Him Think and Henry Brinton is pastor at Fairfax Presbyterian church in Virginia.

Dan Damon asked Ray first, can Darwinism be compatible with Christianity?

Listen Listen to Ray Comfort and Henry Brinton (11 mins 13 secs)

Is it on your grandfather's or your grandmother's side that you claim descent from a monkey?

Samuel Wilberforce

The name Darwin is recognisable around the world, as the man is held up as one of the greatest thinkers and writers of all time.

Here is what some people in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, had to say about him.

Listen Listen to some views from the streets of Cairo (1 min 15 secs)

One of the chief supporters of evolution here in the UK is the Oxford academic Richard Dawkins.

He is the Professor for the Public Understanding of Science.

He is also the author of The Selfish Gene and a well known atheist tract The God Delusion. So how does he rate Charles Darwin?

Listen Listen to Richard Dawkins (3 mins 31 secs)

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