Google honors Darwin


People are telling me that the French and UK versions of Google are highlighted today with the image above, a picture of Charles Darwin’s tangled bank, but that the US has snubbed the man. I think they’re wrong; I just looked, and does have the above image. I can think of a few explanations: google just updated the logo a little later for our time zone, users may have been seeing a cached version of a frequently used page, or the explanation I prefer, I’m special and google takes care to present me with a special personal version of the page so that I don’t get mad at them. Admittedly, the last possibility is a tiny bit unlikely, but hey, if I’m not going to believe in a deity, maybe I can believe in a loving, omnipotent search engine. Just as long as it doesn’t start dictating what I’m allowed to do with my genitals…


  1. says

    No, I think you’re right with the 3rd possibility: Programmers don’t produce rational, perfect, finely-tuned search engines. Just ones that will keep PZ from getting upset.

  2. CJO says

    I saw it just after midnight last night, California time. We’re still sort of part of the US, right?

  3. says

    If I use Generalissimo Google™’s French site en Français, I get the cool logo; but in English, I get the normal boring logo. I get the cool logo using the Irish site (in English, didn’t try Irish).

  4. Mena says

    It’s been like that for me all day and I’m right outside of Chicago. California and Illinois are indeed still part of the US, CJO.
    Just as long as it doesn’t start dictating what I’m allowed to do with my genitals…
    It probably won’t, although entering certain search terms will show you a variety of options…

  5. marcia says

    Nice afternoon at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History:

    DARWIN AT 200

    Lectures and Q and A by:
    -Alan Guttmacher, M.D.
    Acting Director Nat. Human Genome Research Institute
    -Sandra Herbert, Ph.D.
    Prof. Emerita Dept of History U of MD
    -Donald Johanson, Ph.D. Discovered Lucy
    Lucy and Paleoanthropology
    (He showed the chimp/Bush slide. Nice touch. Lots of applause.
    -Matthew Carrano, Ph.D.
    Museum Of Nat History on feathered Dinosaurs and Bird Origin
    -Eric Green M.D., Ph.D. National Human Genome Research Inst.
    Comparative Genomics
    -Scott Edwards Ph.D. Harvard U.
    House Finch and mycoplasma co-evolution
    -Ted Schultz Ph.D. Museum Of Natural History
    Attine Ants and Fungal Cultivar co-evolution
    -Francis Collins, M.D. Ph.D.
    Evolution and Medicine

    Lots of Highschoolers in the audience
    Darwin would have loved it.

  6. rev jim says

    I’ve gotten the Darwin logo on their main page,, since late last night. I really doubt there is anything more sinister than time zones and caching to explain the spotty coverage.

  7. says

    Funny, I’ve been on and off Google all day, and I’ve been seeing the “Darwinized” logo (dope that I am, I thought they were just getting antsy for Spring). I live in the greater Philadelphia area.

  8. Jonathan says

    Or, there’s a fourth possibility:

    Google used your search history, and scanned your blog, to determine whether or not you might be offended or impressed by their Darwin image.

  9. Jadehawk says

    that’s a neat one. and i’ve only noticed it now, even though i’ve been using google all day. maybe that’s because i never go to but use my google search tool….

  10. says

    I’d like to see a search engine named Lanuga. It’s one where you type in David Berlinski and you get a picture of a “quantitatively”, tightly puckered, unctuous ass-munch.

  11. says

    Shows in Finland too (no big surprise there).

    Incidentally, even after Darwin Day it won’t be getting better for creationists and other superstitious folks — it’s Friday the 13th tomorrow. (Or in the case of Finland, er, today.)

  12. daveau says

    I would have to agree that URL caching is the most likely explanation. Especially at work where you might have a proxy server. Just click the refresh button. I’m apparently right down the street from Mena, and I’ve seen the logo all day, too.

  13. LtStorm says

    The Darwin Day logo shows up on Google for me here in Mississippi. I’m fairly sure we haven’t seceded from the US again. Yet.

  14. Natalie says

    #17, I thought the same thing. Me, sometime around 1:30 this afternoon: “Ooooh, they’re Darwin’s finches. I get it.”

    The picture is beautiful.

  15. Kate says

    I’ve seen it since I first looked this morning, on both the US and Canadian Google main pages. (This was at about 5 am eastern)

  16. ptduff says

    I saw the logo was different this morning but it went right by me. Duh! In my defense I was studying for a test so my brain was addled. To make up for it, I’m having a Tusker beer. It’s from Kenya. Perfect!

  17. Faintpraise says

    That’s odd.
    I’m in the UK. If I try to go to it redirects me to the (presumably because I’m signed in to my Google account). There’s a link underneath that says “go to”. I click it, and it takes me there but no Darwin picture! I wonder if this issue is caused by people trying to get there from outside the US? As all the US commenters appear to be able to see it and only the Europeans as far as I can tell, cannot.

  18. Jeffrey Shallit says

    It’s not the cache – believe me, I’ve tried it on multiple different computers here and cleared the cache – it’s that if you are located in Canada, then you see the logo at, but just gives you the vanilla logo without Darwin. It must be some weird thing at google itself, that checks where you’re coming in from.

  19. Ryan Egesdahl says

    Some places (not necessarily places of work) have caching servers for frequently-accessed pages. You just might not know it – and that’s kinds wrong. If you’re not seeing the Darwin logo, that’s probably why. One symptom: you’re in another country and you’re looking at the American site, but you see the regular logo.

  20. Faintpraise says

    Amend “Europeans” in my previous comment to “Anyone outside of the US” I think! I’m guessing it is related to where you are, as Jeffrey @32 suggests.

  21. says

    Nope, I’m in the UK and mine’s been like that all day. I also purchased some snazzy Darwin anniversary stamps from good old Royal Mail :-)

  22. Pete says

    Interesting that the US version didn’t honour Abe Lincoln – it’s his 200th today, too, and from a US history point of view, arguably at least as important.

    (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re right or wrong about Darwin; I’m saying the US site would have been perfectly justified showing Lincoln, had they so wished.)

  23. eddie says

    I got into work and immediately had to deal with some proxy and dns cache issues that meant some of our customer-facing sites hadn’t updated. Once they were resolved, I was able to see the “tangled bank, with finches” logo fine.
    I’m suspecting some denial of service from the denialists.

  24. Rockhead says

    I had a meeting today and was sitting next to a YEC guy. I had to Google something and saw the cool graphic. I pointed it out to the guy and explained that it was for Darwin’s 200th birthday. He just frowned, and a few minutes later sent me the text from this ling:

    Later on I thanked him for the chuckle.

  25. mothra says

    At 9:00 a.m. CST the finch display showed up on my computer in Fargo, however, a visiting student who accesses a Portuguese version has the default google logo.

  26. Kirk says

    Re: Genitals

    It won’t dictate what you should do with them, but it can give you some ideas, if used properly.

  27. David Waldock says

    It only dictates what you can do with your genitals if you have SafeSearch turned on :-D

  28. Former World Traveler says

    The picture itself features Pinnacle Rock, on Bartolome Island in the Galapagos. That island is almost all lava flows with tangled banks few and far between. I suspect the artist did a mash-up of Pinnacle Rock and Lake Darwin, on the more verdant Isabela Island.

  29. Terry Shull says

    It showed up first thing this morning here in New Mexico USA – You know – that state everyone THINKS is another country?

  30. Alex says

    By Google participating in honoring that man is just another clear example of right-wing liberal business attacking Christianity. I’ll be deleting Google from my computer right away in protest.

  31. Onkel Bob says

    It’s been there since 00:01 PST last night – I’m down the road from the Big G and was on line when they did the switch-over. (it’s automated and I use iGoogle for a home page.)

    And for reasons I can’t understand, Google won’t hire me for their graphic design, because that is one deity awful logo. Poor color selection, crappy contrast, and just downright BAD graphics. If you use iGoogle, it looks worse.

  32. says

    It’s been up since 5:30 MST this morning here in Utah (even on the work computers), so the L.D.S. blocking software must have missed it . . .

  33. says

    OK, makes sense and maybe should have Lincoln and Darwin but that could be clunky. For comparison, NBC news tonight: This and that, and plenty about Abe Lincoln’s 200th, but they didn’t even mention Darwin. That’s pitiful, and I don’t get it. I could imagine for World Net Daily, but not easily for NBC.

  34. gwendolyn says

    I’m in Japan but I have the US Google page presenting, and I was delighted to find the Darwinesque display on Darwin Day our time, but as it turned to Darwin Day your time it disappeared. I guess they know where I really am!

    It was lovely, just like an illuminated manuscript.

  35. Onkle Bob says

    @Katkinkate #49 You don’t get it because it’s the next day there! The process is automated and so it went up at 00:01, and goes down at 24:00. It was likely up all day yesterday on the servers in the local time zone.

  36. JCE says

    Oddly, while the English-language home page, like the UK one, is giving creationists the bird, the French-language one is not. ??? This is probably someone being slack, not politics, as I can’t think why it would be a particularly touchy subject in Quebec and New Brunswick (or Sudbury or…). The version for France was finchy when i looked. The US site that I get to via the link on the .ca page is still finchless from western Canada (and I don’t have an old one cached so that’s not it).

    The firefox version is also finchless and is no longer my home page for this reason :P

  37. Alex says

    Paper @ 62

    You’re right. I left out God hating, devil-worshipping, baby eating, immoral, amoral, monkey-loving, Nazis.

  38. Ryan says


    Since Google gives me searches tailored specifically to me it isn’t beyond reason that they would do that. In fact some of my own websites offer different people completely different pages based on their IP addresses. I figure it is far better to appear broken and harmless or redirect to a competitor than appear that I’m blocking them.

  39. Mark A. Siefert says

    Even my favorite miniature wargaming site is celebrating Darwin Day (I think…) along with Old Abe’s Birthday.

    Although I don’t remember Darwin sending hordes of AK-47 armed ape-men to attack the Union army.

  40. JohnnieCanuck says

    My URL for Google is, which shows the finches. When I select the français option, it goes back to the usual one. Interestingly the URL does not change when I do this, so I expect Google is setting and resetting a cookie as I switch back and forth.

    Maybe Google is a fallible god, after all. That is a fun site, btw (@#10). Thanks, JackC

  41. JojoX says

    I don’t get it: Why is there no Google graphic for Newton or Einstein? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that in the physical sciences, scientists are full-time scientists rather than full-time activists.

  42. Katkinkate says

    Thanks Onkle Bob, I forgot it’s still yesterday in most of the rest of the world. I missed it yesterday.

  43. natural cynic says

    Obama commented on Darwin’s 200th at The Lincoln celebratory dinner in Springfield. Positive comments on the common striving for scientific knowledge in CD’s and AL’s lives.

  44. Nemo says

    Semi-OT… I’m watching Obama give a Lincoln speech on MSNBC, and he just gave a shoutout to Darwin, mentioning his birthday and using it to repeat the kind of comments he’s made before about restoring science to its rightful place.

  45. A Nony Mouse says

    Obama’s mention of Darwin was in passing, but it’s good to know he’s thinking about him.

  46. says

    Maybe google finally figured out that all the IDiots who would want to boycott their site for doing such a thing probably aren’t smart enough to use google anyway. Let them type their stupid questions into for the time being.

  47. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Ah Stevie H. trying for a plonking I see. Stevie is an anti AGW liar and bullshitter extraordinaire, and I don’t mean that in complementarily fashion.

  48. Nemo says

    Here’s a well done piece

    Content aside, that is in fact a poorly written and apparently unproofread piece.

  49. says

    OT, but not too much. Egnor has been made incoherent, over at “Evolution News and Views”:

    Happy Atheist Day
    Michael Egnor

    In my essay, I reviewed some of the scientific problems with Darwin’s theory, and I pointed out that Darwinism is itself a religious ideology. Darwin’s theory is the creation myth of atheism.

    Darwinism (you already fucked up there, Egnorant) is a religious ideology, because, you know, it is the “creation myth” of the non-religious, atheism.

    IDiots plumb the depths of stupid, going lower than one would think is possible. It’s their only contribution to advancing knowledge, expanding the frontiers of stupidity, self-contradiction, and incoherent drooling, all fueled by their envy of competence.

    Glen D

  50. says

    Do click on the pretty logo: it goes to a search page for Charles Darwin, which links to lots of interesting things, including his long and chatty obituary in the Times.

  51. Dave K says

    I’m in Chicago, and I’ve been seeing the Darwin logo all day. I never go to other countries’ versions of Google, or at least I haven’t done so in a very, very long time, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a cacheing issue.

  52. BMcP says

    Weird because the logo was up at 5a.m. CST here in Wisconsin so don’t think there was any snub at all. If it was, it would have only been because it is Abe Lincoln’s birthday too.

  53. black wolf says

    Comfort is lying through his teeth (what a surprise, I know). He says that there are “good atheists” and that he’s against the activist atheists of the so-called new movement.
    Great how the host doesn’t hesitate to challenge Comfort’s views on separation of church and state quite strongly. You can really see Comfort’s face (he stutters slightly) when he realizes he’s not going to get through his shtick unchallenged this time. The host (Hartman) easily spots the holes in Ray’s opinion and goes for them – well a few of them, there are too many. Ray is one of those creationists who manage to state so much bullshit in such a compressed form that it takes longer just to point it all out. Just Ray’s usual ‘it doesn’t do the magic I imagine it should do, so evolution is false and magic-man’s magic is better’. I think Comfort doesn’t convert anyone actually. He just reinforces aversions and distrust of the ignorant against science and tries to make them feel content with it. They’re his market, and what he does is foster customer-connectivity by churning out comforting emotional bs and ‘new’ material to keep up the illusion that he’s working for them (or for Jesus).

  54. black wolf says

    Sorry, I forgot to follow up my opening sentence of #90. What I wanted to say is that Ray has stated in very clear terms that humans are not good. His definition of good is absolute, strictly hinging on sin. When he switches to that transparent soft-talk at the beginning, he’s simply not in accord with what he says otherwise.

  55. Ichthyic says

    Ray is one of those creationists who manage to state so much bullshit in such a compressed form that it takes longer just to point it all out.

    It’s like a cat barfing up a hairball with a bunch of yarn tangled up in it.

    you have to actually unwind it all to see just how disgusting it really is.

    Of course, most of us would just prefer to toss the whole thing in the rubbish bin without even touching it.

    Now that I’m living in the country where Ray came from, I’m finding that nobody here EVER liked or respected the man, and they are all grateful for the US for taking him off their hands.

  56. Rey Fox says

    “Celebrate Darwin Day by pissing on the folks over at Stand to Reason who are promoting “Academic Freedom Day”.”

    I googled for Darwin Day in Boise earlier today, and towards the bottom of the first page, got that same headline from the Idaho Values Coalition. World Net Daily also had something about Darwin Day being a “poke in the eye to creationists”. All reasons to celebrate, methinks. Happy monkey!

  57. says

    black wolf.

    While I thought that Hartman did a good job keeping Ray’s horse at a speed less than the Gish Gallop, I thought he utterly failed at displaying his understanding of the topic. Sure he made a few good points but it was obvious that he didn’t / doesn’t have a great grasp of the subject matter. Nothing wrong with that, just didn’t think he was a great choice to represent the “good guys”.

    I wish that they had had his next guest Dr. Loye face off against Ray.

  58. Wowbagger says

    Now that I’m living in the country where Ray came from, I’m finding that nobody here EVER liked or respected the man, and they are all grateful for the US for taking him off their hands.

    Yeah, in Australia we feel much the same way about Ken Ham – those who’ve even heard of him that is. We’re pretty good at treating idiot religionists the way they deserve, as is illustrated by the backlash against that idiot who said the bushfires were caused by abortions.

  59. piraterobot says

    Last night this is what I saw at Google in the US. So it was probably people were seeing a cached page.

    Science is awesome, its cool to see it celebrated all over the place.

  60. says

    Unfortunately the logo looks kind of poorly designed to me… I am red/green color-blind and the oo in google kind of gets lost in the background. I’m going to call a lawyer and sue their asses for this.

  61. - says

    I am red/green color-blind and the oo in google kind of gets lost in the background.

    I am not color-blind, but the red o seems to have been partly eaten by the finch.

  62. JojoX says

    Yay, Darwin Day! Whoohoo! Really though, don’t biologists have anything better to do but hype up birthdays? Isn’t radical Marxism still chic, biologists?

  63. wjv says

    The UK and South African Google sites definitely had the logo before the US-centric I even cleared my cache to check. I suppose it was just a time zone issue, though.

  64. Simon T says

    I can’t believe someone wrote this:

    “They just converted to our religion late this morning.
    All hail Darwin. Down with academic freedom… ”

    I detest fundamentalists of all persuasions, religious and atheist.

  65. Geek says

    Simon T @ #104

    I think the post you’re objecting to was not meant seriously. It was poking fun at the claim sometimes made by Intelligent Design advocates that their beliefs have been unreasonably excluded by scientists who protect their “religion” of evolution by limiting academic freedom.

  66. ProfMike says

    I live in St. Paul, MN and my GOOGLE has had this logo for a couple of days-they like me the best!

  67. marilove says

    Uuuh, when I went to Google yesterday (I live in the US), they had that Darwin picture up, and when I clicked, it went to the Google search page for Darwin. I’m thinking cache problems for those who couldn’t see it?

  68. tatiana says

    Hey, if you become a solipsist there’s the double advantage that a) you KNOW that you exist and b)that God’s intelligent. Perhaps all the other stuff that surrounds you was stuff you foisted off on ignorant flunkies to keep them busy, so that it reflects all sorts of design from breathtaking to boneheaded.

  69. peter says

    I hate how Google (and other web sites) have started using these pointless, ever-changing images on their main pages. Since the images change every day, my browser has to download them anew every day, which wastes bandwidth and slows down my browsing experience.