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From The Vault Of Art Shay: Darwin

By Art Shay in News on Feb 20, 2014 8:50PM

(Legendary Chicago-based photographer Art Shay has taken photos of kings, queens, celebrities and the common man in a 60-year career. This week Art honors Charles Darwin in his own inimitable way.)

Deep in the jungles of the Bronx a member of the great Christian majority, the Evangelicals, heads front and center to be saved in time for the Rapture.

It is 205 years this very week since Charles Darwin was born and gave his name and his life to the serious fun and games of Evolution and Natural Selection. He was a playful man who liked a good joke and willingly accepted the invitation to serve as Patron of the Cat Show in 1872. He allowed that "people might refuse to go and see a bunch of atheistical cats."

He became one, sort of.

These and other cats from the religious opposition to evolutionary science being even a day older than the biblical limit of 6,000 years, er, dogged him all his life after returning from a five-year trip on the sailboat-archeological goldmine, The Beagle. Notably, the controversial 1925 John Scopes trial in Dayton, Tenn., in which the brave high school teacher was convicted of the heresy of teaching Evolution vs. biblical determinis in the classroom. Famous orator and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan prevailed as prosecutor over rational defense lawyer Clarence Darrow. Scopes lost thanks to a Bible Belt jury and was fined $100 in one of the most Pyrrhic of victories in our history.

As atheism has grown to some 18 percent of our population, the controversy rages on the best-seller lists which consistently have a book touting some afterworld "religious" experience. This kid has visited Heaven. This murdered girl has an epiphany about her murderer. This town gets phone calls from the Hereafter.

Happy 205th Charles Darwin, cats, Evolution, 10 kids with his cousin Emma, troubled sleep in Westminster Abbey, and all.

If you can't get enough of Art Shay's words and photos, please check out the photographer's blog, which is updated regularly. Art Shay's book, Chicago's Nelson Algren, is also available at Amazon.