Lecture set on "Charles Darwin, The Man & the Myth"


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mott T. Greene, John Magee Professor of Science and Values at the University of Puget Sound, will deliver a lecture titled “Charles Darwin, The Man & The Myth” on Thursday, Feb. 5, at Oregon State University.

The free public talk begins at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Room 109.

This is the first lecture in the Horning Endowment–sponsored “Darwin 1809–2009” series commemorating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.

There is an actual historical person named Charles Darwin, whose 200th birthday is celebrated on Feb. 12, 2009. There is also a mythological figure and a cult hero (and villain) named Charles Darwin, whose birthday will be observed on Nov. 24, 2009. Both of these Darwins are real, Greene says, and both play important roles in the technical literature of contemporary evolutionary biology.

In the broader cultural debate about the place of humankind in nature and the source of order in the universe, it is the mythical Darwin who plays the lead, while the real Darwin plays a supporting role, and sometimes just a cameo. Greene’s talk is about both Darwins, and their very different contributions to modern evolutionary, philosophical, and religious thought.

Greene is the John Magee Professor of Science and Values at the University of Puget Sound. He is the author of “Geology in the Nineteenth Century,” “Natural Knowledge in Preclassical Antiquity” and a forthcoming biography of Alfred Wegener, the theorist of continental drift. He has recently published an article analyzing the genre conventions of scientific biography, with principal attention to Darwin.

The Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities is housed in the Department of History and its activities are organized and coordinated through the department. Events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the History Department at 541-737-8560 or visit http://oregonstate.edu/cla/history/lectures/