In Praise Of Darwin

Steven Shapin has an article on the surprising amount of ink, pixels, and events used to mark Darwin's 200th birthday last year.  Douthat summarizes:

Shapin’s own explanations for all this Darwiniana include the new atheism’s recent “crusade against rampant religiosity,” the desire to recruit the great naturalist as a patron saint for the anti-global warming cause, intra-academic battles over evolutionary theory, and (most importantly, perhaps) Darwin’s status as the rare great scientist who was also personally admirable, even by the exacting standards of modern political correctness.

The sneering tone from Ross seems disappointing to me. Notice how the smears accumulate for one of the most revolutionary and influential thinkers of the past two hundred years:

It’s a clear-eyed and wide-ranging tour of what “Darwinism” means today at once an unchallenged scientific paradigm and a wildly contentious theory of everything; a Church militant warring against creationists and fundamentalists and a debating society of squabbling professors; a touchstone for the literary intelligentsia and a source of secularist kitsch.