Christopher Booker is troubled by the fervour surrounding the 200-year anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth.
As councils ran out of the grit they had failed to stockpile because they fell for the Government line that climate change made it unnecessary, Britain was last week doubly-carpeted, partly by snow, partly by a blizzard of tributes to Charles Darwin. What did these have in common? In contrast to the centenary of Darwin’s death 26 years ago, what has been noticeable about this homage, not least on the BBC, is how relentlessly reverential it has been.
One would never have guessed from the adulation heaped on the great man by the likes of Sir David Attenborough that there is something very odd about Darwin’s theory. He did not, of course, originate the idea that life on earth had evolved. This notion went back to the ancient Greeks, and was accepted by many of Darwin’s predecessors, including his own grandfather Erasmus. The novelty of Darwin’s thesis was his claim that evolution could be explained solely by the process of natural selection, whereby an infinite series of minute variations gradually turned one form of life into another.