The world got lucky on February 12th, 1809 with the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. In the United States, Lincoln's 200th birthday will be celebrated in acknowledgement that he was possibly the greatest president in U.S. history. It's become cliché to compare our veneration of Lincoln with Darwin's notoriety during this bicentennial year, but the contrast is striking.

Darwin is often perceived by the public as obsolete at best (and inspired by Satan at worst). A large number of people, even many who aren't biblical literalists, are under the impression that evolutionary biology is a poorly supported science, because a slick PR movement has told them that evolution is "a theory in crisis," one propped up only by the desperate wishful thinking of atheistic ideologues posing as biologists.

The main figures in that PR movement are suffering from a massive case of projection. The members of the intelligent design movement do no science, while evolutionary biology thrives. So, to demonstrate how vibrant evolutionary biology is, and in honor of Darwin's birthday, next week I'll start 30 days of evolution blogging. Every day I will talk about a new paper, published in January or Februrary of 2009, that has something to do with evolution.

Follow along and you'll see how much evolution research scientists produce. New research on evolution gets published nearly every day, and if you've never followed this research in any detail, you'll be amazed at how much researchers learn every single day.

I predict that between now and the end of February, we will see stacks of new papers on evolution. I also predict that during the next 30 days, intelligent design "scientists" will not sequence a single gene, compare any genomes, report any field studies, dig up any fossils, carry out any lab experiments, or do anything at all to test any hypotheses about intelligent design. At the end of the month, the score will be 30 for evolution, 0 for intelligent design.

But don't just visit me here for knocks against intelligent design. Evolutionary biology is fun in its own right, even without the social controversy, and I promise that most of the time we'll just talk about great science, like the evolution of feathers, erosion in a bacterial genome, the evolution of pale skin in cave fish, and how a "hitch-hiking parasitic wasp learns to exploit butterfly antiaphrodisiac." You know you're dying to know about butterfly antiaphrodisiacs, so come back and visit next week.