Darwin’s Golden Rule


• Darwin’s genius traits included hard work and discipline, intellectual honesty, and non-conventionality.

• Darwin was a prolific naturalist whose works on natural selection, the descent of species and evolution profoundly changed the scientific landscape, and set the stage for our current biological paradigm.

• Darwin was said to be a methodical, slow and exceedingly patient person who worked diligently on his efforts throughout his life. We can see the traits of hard work, self-discipline, consistency and resilience in his contributions to science. Though he was considered not to be a genius by many, he still managed to achieve enormous success that changed the world permanently.

• Darwin demonstrated a commitment to intellectual honesty, curiosity and humility by practicing what he called the golden rule. He would deliberately pay attention to material that countered his cherished beliefs, assumptions and expectations, knowing that his natural bias would be to ignore this information.

• Like Darwin, by courting alternative opinions and genuinely engaging with those that disagree with us, we weaken the hold of bias over our learning and gain deeper insight.

• Darwin’s incredible life achievements would not have been possible were it not for his willingness to think outside the box, and to entertain ideas that were unconventional at the time.

• Darwin teaches us to be intellectually honest, and to follow the evidence, logic and facts wherever they take us, even if we have to abandon previously held beliefs, admit that we were mistaken, or come to conclusions that make us unpopular.

• To follow Darwin, we can work hard to get out of our own “filter bubbles” and deliberately seek out information that contradicts with our pet beliefs. Switch your search engine or actively engage with people you ordinarily would avoid. Get into the habit of asking yourself, “What am I not seeing here?”

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