Linguistics: Darwin and Lesbos

A couple of short notes on linguistics today:

The New York Times has an interesting column suggesting we drop the use of the words “Darwin,” “Darwinism” and “Darwinian.” The columnist believes using such words is “grossly misleading.”

It suggests that Darwin was the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, of evolutionary biology, and that the subject hasn’t changed much in the 149 years since the publication of the “Origin.”

He wasn’t, and it has. Although several of his ideas — natural and sexual selection among them — remain cornerstones of modern evolutionary biology, the field as a whole has been transformed. If we were to go back in a time machine and fetch him to the present day, he’d find much of evolutionary biology unintelligible — at least until he’d had time to study genetics, statistics and computer science.

In a bit stranger news, a Greek court has ruled that gay rights organizations can still use the word “lesbian” in a case brought by residents of the island of Lesbos that sought to bar such.

[H/T FP Passport]