Letter: Darwin's survival

Sir: Steve Connor's article promoting Charles Darwin as man of the millennium (24 August) is dead on track and would be an intellectual triumph if we could pull it off, particularly in this country where Homo religiosus still largely rules the roost, and evolution by natural selection is considered the work of the devil.

Books: The dog days of Darwinism

Almost Like a Whale by Steve Jones Doubleday pounds 20

Books: Early man caught knapping

As We Know It: Coming To Terms With An Evolved Mind by Marek Kohn Granta pounds 17.99

Letter: Darwin's rival

Sir: It would be improper for Steve Connor or anyone else to name Charles Darwin "Man of the Millennium" for his authorship of The Origin of Species (Review, 24 August). Darwin is not the sole author of the currently accepted model for evolution.

He was the original Action Man. He packed a gun and explored the world. And he opened a can of worms when he suggested man was descended from the apes. 140 years on he's still a publishing super star. And now the greatest brains in science want (that's Charles Darwin, stupid) recognised as the Man of the Millennium

He rode with the toughest gauchos of the Argentine pampas, learnt to bring flightless birds down with swinging bolas, slept rough for weeks on end, and enthusiastically scaled the highest peaks of the Andes. But although Charles Darwin was an action man, a swashbuckling adventurer who packed a pistol in his waistcoat and a cosh up his sleeve, he was also a towering intellect whose theory of evolution is shaping up as the Idea of the Millennium.

Podium: The evolution of Darwinism

From a lecture by the assistant professor of biology at the University of California in Santa Cruz

Is this forbidden territory?

SHOULD SOME territory be forbidden to the social sciences? This week we have reports of a study by two American academics, which claims to link the legalisation of abortion in the US to the current drop in crime rates. It's territory that makes the hair rise on the back of your neck as you read it. But should it therefore be marked out of bounds, like the dangerous end of a French holiday beach?

You need never be guilty again

TOO LATE for me, of course; and before you start gloating and saying we don't like to say we told you so, but we told you so, it's bad living that's done it, you can't say you weren't warned, we bet you're sorry now ... well, it's too late for you, too.

Genetic Notes: Embarrassment of the neo-Darwinists

FIFTY YEARS before Charles Darwin's seminal Origin of Species the French biologist Jean Baptiste de Lamarck published his view on how animals evolved. A core idea, uniformly accepted by his peers, was that organisms adapting to a changing environment altered their bodily and behavioural characteristics and passed these acquired characteristics to their progeny. This is Lamarckian inheritance and is probably one of the most emotive issues in contemporary science (apart from the metaphysical issue of whether an all- powerful "God" exists).

Evolutionary Notes: A species produced in an instant

IN THE early 1970s, against the backdrop of Darwinian gradualism, Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould published a version of Otto Schindewolf's non-Darwinian theory: that gaps in the fossil record exist because species arise through a profound reorganisation, after which they change no more. In Eldredge and Gould's model, however, a small peripheral population becomes isolated from the parent species and rapidly changes. Being small, it leaves little evidence in the fossil record of intermediates, ergo the gaps.

Wednesday Book: A ride on Darwin's bandwagon

DARWIN'S SPECTRE: EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY IN THE MODERN WORLD

Letter: Millennium man

Sir: Humans are the only creatures on this planet who can ask how we came to be here . Only the scientific method offers a way to answer such questions. Of those who have had the greatest impact on the progress of science my own choice for person of the millennium is Charles Darwin. The understanding of evolution is the single most important event so far in our path to understanding of life. In the next millennium the scientific method should yield a full biological understanding of life starting with the description of the sequence of the human genome.

Books: The unnatural selector

Francis Spufford enjoys a glimpse of the world that evolution killed

Travel: How Darwin evolved

After his travels the famous explorer settled with his wife and children in Kent. The house reveals much about his family-orientated lifestyle.

Open Eye: Is there money for a mission to Mars?

When Charles Darwin asked his father's permission to go to South America on HMS Beagle, he was given eight reasons why it was not a good idea, including: "it's a wild scheme - no good would come of it!" As Darwin Snr controlled the purse strings of his 22-year-old son, he had to be persuaded to relent by Charles's Uncle Josiah Wedgwood. The outcome of his son's revolutionary trip, as we now know, was his epic work, the Origin of Species.
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