It's said, there are only five degrees of separation between everybody on the planet. Well, my humble connection with Darwin is quite straightforward. I once spent a couple of weeks in southern Italy at a friends house party with his great great grand daughter. She's a tall, slim amazon of a lady and handsome to boot! (I know that's an unfortunate choice of words) I vaguely knew her as a fellow artist through friends in North London. I have a strange picture of the party, all sitting gannet like, on the black volcanic rocks, below the villa, Miss Darwin at the top and the rest, ranged in their various social positions below her, all facing the same way, reading... Naturally I didn't even make the base of the rock, but was happy to record the moment from a lesser mound, across the way.. O happy days!
Strangely, in those days, Darwinism was never contradicted. Just as nobody would contradict his great great grand daughter. Everybody just accepted the fact that man came about through natural selection, survival of the fittest and all that..
Then we heard, just yesterday, on Sky News that natural selection had stopped, man is now to stand still or even, horror of horrors, go backwards.. Really, quite stupid. Didn't we hear a similar thing a few years back saying history had also stopped? (The following 9/11 outrage put the lid well and truly on that theory) If history had stopped, the banking system wouldn't now be in free fall. Iceland would still be a cool place to invest in and sea levels would be stable..
Which brings us back to Darwin and his beloved Galapagos islands, which are also under threat from mass tourism, as everybody wants to visit and 'crap' on the little volcanic rock landmass. If only everybody followed the backpackers maxim... "Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time". Darwin would be a very happy, great great grandfather!