Darwin, Lincoln, LBJ and Dr. King
Since Darwin published his, “Origin of Species,” we have undergone some astounding socio-cultural evolution. We have grown because of Abraham Lincoln’s bold “Emancipation Proclamation.” We have grown because of LBJ’s “Civil Rights Act” of 1964. And on April 4, 1968 we witnessed the horror of Dr. Martin Luther King laying down his life attempting to promote our mental and spiritual evolution. If we accept his message, he is indeed “free at last” and his legacy and spirit live on. It seems that, for better and worse, science and religion have both improved and retarded our collective evolution; better guns and better roses; ministering to the less fortunate and pedophilic priests. I am neither a scientific nor religious zealot and wonder who could disagree with the line from Ray Steven’s “Everything Is Beautiful;” “red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight…Had Dr. King lived it may well have been his theme song.”
An animal behavioral study showed that tying a red ribbon around a seagull’s leg was tantamount to sentencing the bird to death. The other birds in the flock viciously attacked the “abnormal” bird. Remnants of that behavior can still be seen in humans. What Biodesign evolved into could (for me) be exhilarating or terrifying. The primary cause of this extreme ambivalence was the fact that the class was “different.” In the beginning I was naively unaware that I would be treated like the beribboned seagull. There was a small, perennial, group of critics, some of whom regarded the class (and me) as evil and wanted it canceled and me fired. Many times I had to pray for strength to get through the day and could not imagine how Dr. King could speak at rallies, or lead parades, knowing that his head may well have been centered in the crosshairs of the scope of a moronic assassin’s rifle.
Geoff Martin ’92 applied his editorial skills and corrected the typos made by Outskirts Press. He was also concerned about the hypersensitivity of the race issue and suggested revising the bit about MLK. The typo corrections and revised tribute to King were the basis for the second edition. Thanks Geoff.
Excerpt: BOFAW, “The Land of Pygmies and Giants.”
As a biology teacher, I welcomed the chance to acknowledge Dr.Martin Luther King’s birthday. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the courage, wisdom, and color that he added to our society. The word “color” was used purposefully in a biological, literal, figurative and respectful context. Is it not our highest calling to go beyond Dr. King’s, “I Have a Dream,” speech, and see children and adults, walking hand-in-hand, not color blind, but rejoicing in their race, color, creed, ethnic and religious diversity? It would be biologically, if not, politically correct. When I shared this with students, they agreed.
Happy birthday Dr. King.