How is it going?
Last Sunday I tried to write up a piece for you guys, but didn't finish.
This Sunday I thought I'd put myself up to finishing it and sending it.
Instead let me tell you a little about what I am writing.
It's an ambitious letter on evolution. I want to give you guys a short history of the theory, explain how it is we know what we know here and clarify some misconceptions.
I have three sections I will write about:
1. The Monk and the Pea Plant
I have already finished this section. I tell you the story of Gregor Mendel, the Augustinian friar and how he solved a mystery that had been with us from the beginning: how we inherit our characteristics from our parents.
2. The Secret of the Galapagos Islands
At age 22, the opportunity of a lifetime fell into a young Charles Darwin's lap; a trip around the world in the British Navel Vessel the HMS Beagle. A budding naturalist, Charles would draw, collect and study specimens to content. Towards the end of his journey he would uncover a hidden secret on the archipelago of the Galapagos islands that would shake the world of science forever.
A random fun fact; one of the later stops of the HMS Beagle was the east coast of Australia where Darwin led a single in-land expedition. Earlier this week, I attempted to follow his footsteps walking on what's known as the "Charles Darwin Walk" in the blue mountains, while reading his legendary On the Origin of Species . This was to help me understand the background info relevant to write this piece.
3. The Selfish Gene
More recently there was a raging debate in the field of biology. Did natural selection optimise for traits that benefitted the individual or that were for the good of the species? On first glance it seemed it had to be the individual, but in the worlds of both animals and humans we could see examples of apparent altruism that couldn't be explained by this.
The answer will surprise you... unless you are familiar with the work of a certain Richard Dawkins...
This week I ran two events for conversation culture. A Zoom discussion In Defence of Philosophy, and an in-person picnic where we talked about politics, religion and identity.
Our next major event will be on the 2nd of March 6pm AEST.
The topic will be Capitalism: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
I've also been getting into the note-taking software Obsidian. It's incredible. I've been using it for a while as my main text-editor (I am typing in it right now) but have only touched on the tip of its iceberg of features.
I highly recommend you check it out.
This video series Obsidian for beginners will also help you take better notes.
I'm not sure why I haven't been able to be as productive as usual with my writing. I may be because I am juggling a few things at once now with it.
With luck, I'll be able to send you all a completed letter next Sunday.