Sunday, January 23, 2005

A grandeur in this view of life...

In Suggested Readings for this week's Musing, I mention Charles Darwin's beloved daughter Annie who died at age 10, apparently of tuberculosis. The great scientist's attendance at Annie's bedside was unwavering.

Twenty-six years after Annie's death, Dr. Robert Koch took the first photograph of a bacterium, the tuberculosis pathogen, and so confirmed the germ theory of disease. As Darwin suspected, Annie had died so that another creature might live -- nature red in tooth and claw. But humans can escape from the relentless logic of natural selection, Darwin firmly believed. By caring lovingly for the sick and weak, we lift ourselves above our animal natures.