Read Darwin aloud – or listen to Dawkins read the Origin

From my email this morning, here’s another fun way to participate in celebrating Charles Darwin’s bicentennial – by videotaping yourself reading some of the most poetic passages of his most famous work:

Charles Darwin image for cut out

Darwin Day is a world-wide tribute to a great scientist who changed forever our perception of the human species and the nature of life. This year, the Center for Inquiry is honoring Darwin with a special video project:

Darwin Aloud

This Darwin Day, we’re aski

ng people all over the world to shoot video of themselves reading from the poetic last chapter of The Origin of Species while standing in front of famous landmarks in their countries. Then, as a tribute to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the grand unifying concept of biology that unifies all of us and all life on Earth, we’ll collect all this video and assemble the footage into a film dedicated to Darwin and honoring his accomplishments.

“Despite overwhelming evidence in support of evolution, Darwin’s theory has seen a lot of resistance and even hostility, especially in the past few decades,” said James Underdown, Executive Director of CFI Los Angeles and creator of the project. “We in the pro-science community want to make it clear that the whole world supports Darwin’s idea, regardless of background or location.”

To learn more about Darwin Aloud, including tips on how best to read, film, and submit your segment, please visit You can even download a Letter to your Friends, telling them about Darwin Aloud and inviting them to participate.

We don’t lack for significant landmarks around Fresno, so how many of you are interested in participating in this?

On the other hand (this from my non-email files) if you prefer to listen to someone else read Darwin’s incredible tome rather than read it yourself, you’d be hard put to find someone better than Darwin’s rottwieler to do it! And here we have it: an audiobook version abridged and read wonderfully Richard Dawkins! Here’s the review from Times Online:

[Dawkins] excised the out-of-date, disproved and irrelevant bits (while being amazed at ‘how much Darwin got right’) to produce a lively version of the great work that gave us the term ‘evolution’. You have to concentrate pretty hard sometimes, but close attention reveals a dazzling talent for the observation and analysis that formed the theories. Darwin’s marvellous descriptions cover the gamut of living species that, be they pigeons, spiders or flowers, are engaged in ‘the universal struggle for life’. ‘Natural selection is a power incessantly ready for action’ in this continuing process. Dawkins reads engagingly, and the whole effect is like David Attenborough without the pictures.

[via On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, read by Richard Dawkins]

Just might make your own reading of the book more enjoyable. You can listen to a 5-min excerpt for free on the Times page, and download the whole thing via iTunes for less than the price of a movie ticket! What a bargain! Of course, an unabridged audiobook version is also available – read by David Case.


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