Friday, February 21, 2014

Humanist Invocation at Tulsa City Council meeting Feb. 20

This evening I would like to recognize two men who are regarded as heroes of humankind. Just last week we celebrated the 205th anniversary of their birth. They were both born on the same day: February 12. One was an American; the other was British.

The American to whom I refer is Abraham Lincoln. From humble beginnings, he rose to become the 16th president of the United States. He was also our commander in chief during that great trauma: the American Civil War. Because of his diligence in securing passage of the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, he is also known as the Great Emancipator.

Also born on February 12, in England, was Charles Darwin. It was Darwin who first gave us an understanding of our biological origins. For years people had speculated about the concept of evolution for it was not a new idea. But it was Darwin who amassed the data during his five-year long voyage on the Beagle to South America which provided the evidence for his thesis of biological evolution.

First published in 1859, The Origin of Species sold out on its first day. Regarded as a threat by the clergy of his day, the idea of evolution through natural selection has prevailed unto this day. It was an idea whose time had come, as the idea had been independently derived by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russell Wallace. By giving us an understanding of how we came to be, Darwin can also be thought of as a Great Emancipator.

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