Parallel Behaviors: Evolution and Emancipation
Dave Wood and I have breakfast every several months at Baker's Square. We discuss all sorts of topics. If I have a clone out there in the world, Dave is my clone. I have never found a person that thinks and reasons like the two of us.
This is a picture of one of our conversations, which usually lasts a couple of hours. However, at our recent breakfast, I mentioned about being born on January 20, which was the same month and day as George Burns. I told Dave about wanting to outlive Burns, which meant living until March 10, 2043. By that date, I would have reached not only my 100th birthday, but I would have lived a day longer than Burns.
Then Dave, my clone, mentioned something about which I did not know. Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day in the same year. Both were born on February 12, 1809. What intrigued me was that initially these two men seemed to have nothing in common other than their birthdays. Besides, one was born in America and the other was born in England.
A great deal more separated Lincoln and Darwin other than an ocean. They had totally different educational backgrounds. Darwin was educated at the best schools, while Lincoln was not as fortunate. Darwin came from a well-to-do family, which was not true for Lincoln. Darwin and Lincoln did not even share similar professional backgrounds. Darwin made a name for himself dealing with evolution. Lincoln, on the other hand, made a name for himself dealing with emancipation.
Nonetheless, as I thought about their professions, Darwin and Lincoln had much in common professionally. Darwin began explaining the evolutionary process of all living things including human beings. Lincoln began the emancipating process of one group of human beings from another. Evolution does not always evolve correctly, which Lincoln addressed.
Both evolution and emancipation were radically new ideas at that time. The vast majority of people dissed both notions. Because of this, Darwin was hesitant to publish On the Origin of Species preferring to wait until after his death to have it published. Nevertheless, Darwin published his research due to outside forces.
Lincoln began the process of emancipating humans from slavery by other humans. For many, this was also a new and radical idea. Lincoln said that slavery was wrong. He was not going to allow slavery to continue while he was president. The mistaken concept of slavery was as wrong for Lincoln as the idea of the biblical creation was for Darwin.
The creationists dissed Darwin as the racists dissed Lincoln. The uproar that both of them caused them to hesitate to proclaim what was obvious to each. Darwin saw clearly the issue of physical evolution, and Lincoln saw the psychological evolution of humans. Ending slavery continued the evolution of human being to higher level in human evolution.
While creationists and racists are still among us, most people see the truth that both views are wrong and need to change. Additionally, we need to evolve further as we address sexism and homophobia, which are forms of racism. We need to evolve mentally as we have physically over the past 200,000 years. Darwin wrote this about evolution, but it applies to evolution of human rights. Therein lies both a truth and a warning.