Montreal, February 10, 2009 The year 2009 marks the 150 anniversary of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of the Species" a seminal book that permeated countless disciplines and remains controversial. As February 12 also marks the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin's birth, the following Universit de Montral professors can comment on how the Father of Evolution influenced biology to anthropology and philosophy to psychology:
Darwin and biology
Franois-Joseph Lapointe, a biology professor at the Universit de Montral, has been teaching the theory of natural selection for two decades. The theory stipulates that all organisms best suited to their environment survive and pass on their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations. De facto, organisms that are less adapted tend to be eliminated.
"I have taught these principles to my girlfriend, my children and I have defended them to creationists. It is surely the one concept I have explained the most often in my life," says Lapointe.
According to Lapointe, On the Origin of the Species must be continually reinterpreted in light of new knowledge. This is contrary to the Bible, which creationists believe is a text set in stone.
One of Darwin's dreams was to elaborate a complete "tree of life" illustrating the interconnectivity between all species. For instance, whales are genetically closer to hippos than hippos are to cows. This means that we must look beyond morphological similarities between species.
Darwin's vision and observations has left all of us with a very rich heritage. "There is no doubt in my mind that Einstein and Darwin are the greatest scientists of all time," says Lapointe.
Darwin and Philosophy
Frdric Bouchard of the Universit de Montral's Department of Philosophy believes Darwinism has profoundly shaken the foundations of philosophy.
"In 300 years from now, there is a greater chance that Darwin will
|Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins|
University of Montreal