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Broadcasting this week’s show on Charles Darwin reminded me of this history flow diagram of the changing face of the Wikipedia explanation of evolution over time. Nearly four years have passed since I read about it in Discover magazine.

What would the graph look like nowadays? I’ll hazard a wild guess that it’s as colorful as ever, with myriad black columns (indicating the entry being deleted by vandals). Boy I’d love to see a follow-up chart for this trajectory.

(History Flow diagram courtesy of Frank Van Ham, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg of the Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research)


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4 Comments

What I find fascinating about this graphic is that it looks vaguely like the southern (southwestern) border of the US...

I had the same thought.

Not completely on topic ,perhaps, but I am reminded of an insight I read (in Playboy magazine!) to the effect that the amount of freedom on the planet varied directionally, with California (the most Western) the most free, and China (the most Eastern) the least free. Europe, of course, was in the middle, not as free (or capitalistic) as the US but not as controlled (or socialistic) as Russia or China. Not sure exactly how evolution figures in all of this ... except to say that a friend in college was convinced that we would all meet in the middle one day.

I wanted to add a quotaton from Charles Darwin himself. (I have heard numerous reports in recent days all inquiring as to his religious beliefs, but not many (if any) quoted Darwin himself.) According to my Encyclopedia Britannica (remember those?), Darwin wrote the following in 1870: <<my a="" any="" as="" at="" beneficent="" blind="" can="" cannot="" chance,="" design="" design,="" details.="" evidence="" i="" in="" indeed="" is="" kind,="" look="" muddle.="" no="" of="" or="" result="" see="" simple="" the="" theology="" universe="" yet="">> The article tells us the following: "It was therefore not surprising that as he grew older Darwin abandoned the views of an orthodox member of the Church of England and became an agnostic."

From the same article: "In 1856 he had written <<what a="" and="" blundering,="" book="" chaplain="" clumsy,="" cruel="" devil's="" horribly="" low,="" might="" nature.="" of="" on="" the="" wasteful,="" works="" write="">>"

(But is this not the best of all possible worlds?)
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