“Anyway, This Cake is Great” | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

“Anyway, This Cake is Great”

Everyone recalls Charles Darwin as the founder of evolutionary biology; that’s the common perception, anyway. But it’s the job of rationalists, skeptics, and humanists – like the folks at the Center for Inquiry – to totally screw with common perception. So even as the CFI Fort Lauderdale prepares to celebrate Darwin Day – a bitchin’ celebration of Darwin’s birth and a zany, day-long science celebration with film, lectures from local scientists, and a “science and religion” roundtable – any skeptic worth his or her atomic weight should be willing to tell you that Charles Darwin did not come up with the theory of natural selection. At least not on his own.

Around the time that Darwin was studying evolution, there was another English naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace, who was busy unlocking the secrets of natural selection in the Malay Archipelago. Wallace often corresponded with Darwin and sent him a paper on his theories. It stated that organisms best adapted to their surroundings will survive and procreate, passing along their traits to the next generation – in other words, natural selection. Darwin had also been thinking along these lines, but he was nowhere near completing his work on the subject. So, prompted by the threat of Wallace’s discovery, Darwin quickly condensed and rearranged his works into On the Origin of Species, the book that would secure his place as evolutionary biology’s forerunner.

All this isn’t to say Darwin doesn’t deserve his due; even the most diehard skeptic knows this. It just means that, when you’re cutting the cake for Darwin this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Fern Forest (201 S. Lyons Rd., Coconut Creek), you should also remember Wallace. If not for the reasons above, then solely because it’s a well-known fact (ahem, common perception) that all scientists are instinctively drawn to cake. Visit www.darwindaybroward.com for more information.
Sat., Feb. 9, 10 a.m., 2008