Leaving aside painful distractions, I see (via Jason Soon) that yesterday was Darwin Day. No, not a day honouring the heavily taxpayer-subsidised (and currently very wet) city where I live, but instead commemorating the father of evolutionary theory.
As an employee of newly rebadged regional tertiary education intellectual powerhouse Charles Darwin University, I couldn’t let the occasion pass without mention. Accordingly my own contribution to the festivities (such as they are) is to highlight a couple of Darwin-related web resources. The first is an interview with Australian animal liberationist philosopher/ethicist Peter Singer, discussing his views on the useful role he reckons Darwinian theory (and evolutionary biology in particular) might play in illuminating the way in which ethical norms are formed in human societies. I often find Singer’s thinking a tad confused and sometimes downright silly, and this interview is no exception. Nevertheless, there are enough interesting ideas and observations to make the interview worth reading.
The second resource was pointed out to me gleefully this morning by a Kiwi colleague involved in aspects of CDU’s external law degree program. It’s called the Darwin Awards website, and is devoted to (supposedly verified) stories of people who have contributed to “the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally kill themselves in really stupid ways.” I especially liked the story of the couple killed by a bus while bonking in the middle of a busy road at night (despite repeated warnings of just this likely consequence). It’s titled “Love Struck” and can be found in the 2003 Darwin Awards section. I also got a chuckle from the story “Lawnchair Larry” in the Honourable Mentions section. Larry wasn’t actually killed by his own idiocy, which made him technically ineligible for an Award, however he apparently did shoot himself dead some years later. Unfortunately it’s a frames site, so I can’t provide direct links to particular stories.