To celebrate the 150th anniversary this month of the publication of On the Origin of Species, the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is publishing open access two peer-reviewed articles about Charles Darwin and his historic insights into evolution.
The two articles are by Kevin Padian of the University of California, Berkeley, and James T. Costa of Western Carolina University. Padian’s article, “Ten Myths About Charles Darwin,” appeared in the October issue of the AIBS journal BioScience and can be read at http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1525/bio.2009.59.9.10. Costa’s article, “The Darwinian Revelation: Tracing the Origin and Evolution of an Idea” is published in the November issue of BioScience and can be read at http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1525/bio.2009.59.10.10.
Padian explores some common inaccuracies and untruths about Darwin and his life’s work, painting in the process a clear portrait of the man and his struggles to develop a theory to explain the diversity of nature. Costa draws on Darwin’s letters and notebooks and other sources to trace the origins of Darwin’s key insights, which came to him over many years. Costa suggests that biology teachers can use Darwin’s reasoning as a superb example of creative scientific thinking.
AIBS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, with headquarters in Washington, DC, and a staff of approximately 50, AIBS is sustained by a robust membership of some 5,000 biologists and 200 professional societies and scientific organizations; the combined individual membership of the latter exceeds 250,000. AIBS advances its mission through coalition activities in research, education, and public policy; publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience and the education website ActionBioscience.org; providing scientific peer review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients; convening meetings; and managing scientific programs.