Letters | Darwin, Israel & ‘Mary Poppins’

Readers Write

In plain sight

Elizabeth A. Johnson’s article “Darwin’s Tree of Life” (January 24, 2014) is excellent. It’s amazing how something as revolutionary as the theory of evolution can seem almost obvious once it is presented. Thomas Huxley said, “How stupid of me not to have thought of that.” It was lying there in broad daylight for centuries, and no one could see it, though human breeders had been modifying animal and plant species for a long time. (I suppose they didn’t publish their results in journals or at meetings of learned societies.) And even when the insight came, it took half a lifetime of exploration and study for Darwin (and Wallace) to build a case for it, and another half a century or more for it to gain wide acceptance.

Conventional models of thought don’t easily release their hold on us. We still say “sunrise” and “sunset.” And we keep on calling it a fallen world, though all around us it is burgeoning and teeming with “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.”

John Prior

Sunnyvale, Calif.

 

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