Charles Darwin in the year 1859 or 1860.

In his book “Darwin’s Backyard,” James Costa gives readers a new view of Charles Darwin’s experimentation in evolutionary biology. Costa’s book presents a different scientist than the one who famously sailed aboard the Beagle to study wildlife in the Galapagos. Costa instead reveals a Darwin who enlisted his family to help run experiments on everything from potatoes to earthworms. We’ll talk to Costa about his book, about what life looked like in the Darwin country home and how to recreate his backyard experiments.

Exploring Charles Darwin’s Backyard with Biologist James Costa 7 February,2018Michael Krasny

Guests:
James Costa, director of Highlands Biological Station, Western Carolina University; author, "Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory"

  • Curious

    Guess this filler piece was hauled out because the stock market is once again roaring upwards.

    • Ehkzu

      Once again the unintentional irony of your online name is revealed.

      • Noelle

        It’s nice to get away from the frenzy of online political debate and ponder important ideas that transcend our everyday squabbles.

        • William – SF

          …or not

          • Noelle

            our friend can’t help it. No wonder the right wing has been so successful in getting people so agitated and active.

          • Curious

            You know, I never get personal with you. I guess lefties can’t help it. No real arguments, just invective.

          • Noelle

            No, I’m not attacking you personally(at least that’s not my intention). Just admiring the resilience of your compatriots.

        • Curious

          No doubt forum tomorrow will be about the new revelation that Obama lied when he said that he was not involved in the Clinton investigation. We now know that he was very involved.

      • Curious

        Once again your inability to rebut my arguments is revealed.

  • Noelle

    I never tire of learning about Darwin. The dramatic film about him called Creation from 2009 showed how he got his kids to help him. Plus his personal conflicts he agonized about regarding the implications of evolution.

  • Ehkzu

    Darwin’s life and intellectual progress are fascinating. Pity that to the students in a majority of American high schools his life and contributions are denied them by the political Christianity that dominates America outside the major urban areas. A survey of high school biology teachers a few years ago found that evolution is not taught in over 70% of high schools. Urban, cosmopolitan Americans have no idea this is going on because instead of passing laws against teaching evolution–which failed in the courts–the American Right has turned to grassroots knowledge suppression. If a biology teacher tries to bring up evolution their treated to such hostility and aggressive pressure from students and parents (and with no support from school administrators) that they give up and just gloss over it.

    And then these indoctrinated, brainwashed kids grow up perceiving the name “Darwin” as a shibboleth symbolizing what they see as the beliefs of the enemy tribe trying to take over ‘merica–and “President” Trump as the Man on a Horse sent by God to defend them from the Infidel.

    • Noelle

      Blog from Roger Ebert in 2009
      https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/tiff-4-darwin-walks-out-on-genesis-2
      inspired by the movie Creation

    • Curious

      The ignorant left needs to get out of its bubble.

      A finding in a study on the relationship between science literacy and political ideology surprised the Yale professor behind it: Tea party members know more science than non-tea partiers.

      Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative.

      However, those who identified as part of the tea party movement were actually better versed in science than those who didn’t, Kahan found. The findings met the conventional threshold of statistical significance, the professor said.

      Kahan wrote that not only did the findings surprise him, they embarrassed him.

      “I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension,” Kahan wrote.

      • Noelle

        Yes, there are leftist anti-vaccine believers.

    • Curious

      A third of democrats do not believe in evolution.

    • Curious

      59% of the Norwegian population fully accept evolution, 24% somewhat agree with the theory, 4% somewhat disagree with the theory while 8% do not accept evolution. 4% did not know.

      69% of Britons believe that humans evolved from less advanced life forms, while 17% believe that God created human beings in their present forms within the last 10,000 years.

    • Curious

      Meanwhile, Muslims in many nations are divided on the topic, although majorities of Muslims in countries such as Afghanistan, Indonesia and Iraq reject evolution.
      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/10/darwin-day/

    • Curious

      30% of the Swiss reject evolution, one of the highest national percentages in Europe.

    • Curious

      A poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in twenty-four countries found that 41% of respondents identified themselves as “evolutionists” and 28% as “creationists,” with 31% indicating that they “simply don’t know what to believe.”

      • Peter G Werner

        Let’s hear it for science by public opinion poll!

        • Curious

          My point is, contrary to the insular leftie, belief or non-belief in Darwinism is not confined to “knuckle dragging conservatives.”

  • Ehkzu

    The Wallace and Darwin story broached by the caller misses the point that Darwin wasn’t just sitting on his discovery of evolution for decades. During that time Darwin made it his business to acquire powerful allies in England’s scientific elites, becoming a respected part of that establishment. If he’d tried to publish his theory of evolution when he came back from the Beagle voyage both he and his theory would have been rejected out of hand. By taking the time line up his ducks, when he did publish he had far more impact. So while Wallace did precipitate Darwin’s publishing his own work, he have very good reasons to wait as long as he did.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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