The Origin of Species and My Amazon Wish List

What do these two things have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing at all as far as I can tell, except for that fact that I’ve chosen to speak about both of them in this post! November 24, 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of perhaps the most important book ever written—Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species Or the Preservation of Favoured Races In the Struggle For Life (usually—for obvious reasons—just referred to as The Origin of Species). I think it is fair to say that no other single book has done more to advance our knowledge of our true place in nature and time.

Also, with just a month to go until Christmas, I thought I should update my Amazon wish list, seeing as everything I put up initially has already been purchased—thank you again to everyone who sent me gifts (especially John, who was very generous indeed!). Even though I am a Godless heathen (and I suspect the vast majority of my readers are too), it seems that most secular people still like to celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way, and still enjoy purchasing gifts for their friends and loved ones. As I’ve stated previously, I think this is okay, as long as it is what people actually want to do, rather than what they feel obliged to do. So if you want to buy something for me for Christmas, please feel free to do so. But if you don’t want to, please do not feel any obligation to do so either.

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you want a bunch of startrek movies, no lingerie, no chocolate bath gel, no fuzzy slippers?

Maybe I click the wrong button, huh

or maybe your other fans already got there before I did?

Hugs and all that!

Michael

  
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As I mentioned in my original Amazon Wish List post, I have no interest in the usual “girlie” stuff – science fiction is a lot more interesting for me! I’ve watched a little bit of the first series of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and while I liked Deep Space Nine right away, I’m not sure about The Next Generation at this stage – almost all the characters seem like robots! Still, everybody seems to say it got better as it went along, so I thought I’d give the second series a try before I give up on it.

  
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sigh… not even some bath lotion? Or a strawberry colored thong for photoshoots?

ok, something is in the mail from your list

Look forward to seeing what you get up to next year!!

  
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Well, I have a feeling that I know what John and Michael have on their wish lists!

Sachiko–would you be interested in science documentaries? You strike me as the kind of person who would like to watch the complete DVD set of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, or Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man?

  
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@wheeler92196 – Thankyou very much Michael!

@Mark Crawford – Yes I am. I had a couple of David Attenborough documentaries on my original list, and I bought Cosmos myself previously. But I haven’t gotten around to watching them yet! :-)

  
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By the way–Charles Darwin is on record as believing in God!

  
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Originally Posted By Mark Crawford
By the way–Charles Darwin is on record as believing in God!

For my thoughts on this, see here.

  
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Sachiko, maybe I’ve just lost track of what’s going on, but it seems that your updated wish list is for some reason transformed, in character, from the original. Has some life-changing event befallen here, or has some influencial “special interest” stepped in? It’s just fine, though — and one need not reply if such seemed to be disharmony. As for the original wish list, I was quite edified to find that most of it was also of burning interest to me, and it prompted me to plan an Amazon shopping cart for myself. In retrospect, Darwin has indeed been a sometimes nebulous, but commanding influence over this blog and its various issues for some time now. I can’t logically scope out exact causes, but I cannot help but feel that some aspect of recent Darwin controversies has somehow contributed to this change in priorites for your wish list. Star Trek is an attempt to refine and expand our view of humanity’s place and purpose in the universe; it may have significantly influenced the masses in recent years. Perhaps Darwin, in his own way, was actually reaching for the stars as he codified his humble, yet remarkably thorough, imaginative, and awesomely vast collections of observations of terrestrial nature in relatively few now-mouldering pages. And now, at this special moment in time, humanity sits at a cognitive position-of-opportunity in which its aggregate bulk equals (or somewhat exceeds) the entire mass of all other animal species and groups lving upon Earth, and in which the number of living individuals equals (more or less) the entire sum of human individuals that have lived before upon earth during all of humans’ presently perceived (“official”) historical record. Darwin worked from a Malthusian and relatively elitist-influenced literary environment, and in most ways might have felt that the present experience of humanity would have to be a very unstable and fleeting moment in the course of Nature’s manifested deliberations. Yet, could there now be some lasting advantages accruing to humanity in such a time, that might even long benefit other life forms under its stewardship, if only a fleeting moment befell, that crucial words and ideas could get around a little bit faster? With that considered, I might suggest that indeed there is a very special connection between Darwin’s works and the new wish list.

  
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@alcove6409 – That’s a very interesting idea, but I think the real reason is actually very mundane – everything on my original wish list has already been purchased, except for a few Star Trek DVDs. :-)

  
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@Sachiko
The Next Generation is, in my opinion, the best of all the TREK series. It just took some time for people to accept it over TOS.

Deep Space Nine was okay, I guess, but not something I cared about after a couple years.

  
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on celebrating Christmas, either religiouslt or secularly I’ll paraphrase Douglas Adams about the teachings of Jesus in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy… Wouldn’t it be great if we just nice to each other? No matter what your beliefs, think of how much better things would be if we were just “nice to each other”. Anyhow, Merry Whatever You Celebrate.

  
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@Woody – That’s what most people seem to think, but from what I’ve seen so far, I just don’t find the characters very believable – they just seem so emotionless and well-behaved. I was introduced to Trek by Voyager, and I find the characters there a lot more believable and interesting. And from what I’ve seen so far, the characters in Deep Space Nine seem to be very believable and interesting too.

Still, I’ve only watched a little bit of each, so I’m open to the possibility that my initial impression is incorrect, so I’ll give the second TNG series a go. It’ll be a while before I can watch them all though!

@Curt Russell – Yes, it would be nice. :-)

  
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If you really like DS9, you might like to take a look at the BABYLON 5 TV series.

  
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@Woody – Actually, JohnFourtyTwo suggested exactly that too, and bought me the entire Babylon 5 series! Thanks to my wonderful fans, I think I’ll have enough DVDs to last me until next Christmas. :-)

  
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