Lessons from the Darwins

Geoffrey and Language Log gets one from each — from Charles what not to do and from Emma what to do:

Darwin started as an undergraduate here. (Hated it — said his geology lectures were deeply boring. Whenever I go off to teach a class here, I keep that in mind. Don’t be boring. You don’t know who’s out there among the undergraduates.)

when he eventually became a full-time (though unpaid and non-professorial) biologist in later life, and developed the radical idea of the gradual evolution of species through natural selection, his devout wife was a bit shocked, but told him he should not suppress his scientific ideas because of her faith. Now that is my ideal of the right attitude toward free speech. Respect me, and whatever religious faith I may have; but know that my beliefs don’t override your right to hold and express your opinions, no matter what they are.

A nice one!


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