I'm sure the name Mark Perakh will be familiar to anyone interested in the evolution/ID issue. He is a contributor to The Panda's Thumb and author of Unintelligent Design, which is required reading for anyone interested in this issue. He is a retired physics professor living in California.
Mark turns 81 today, and I'd like to wish him a very happy birthday. Ed Brayton provides some further details of his remarkable life:
He was born in the Soviet Union shortly after the revolution that swept the communists into power. He fought in World War 2, finished his PhD, refused to work on the Soviet nuclear weapons project and was put in prison, and later managed to escape his homeland and come to the US. Is it any wonder that he gets a little miffed when he sees the likes of Dembski casually throwing around comparisons of pro-evolution scientists as "Stalinists", having lived through the Stalinist purges and languished in a gulag?
In an email to the PT contributors (a couple of them just finishing their PhD programs) yesterday, he recounted how he wrote the dissertation for his first PhD while sitting on a bench in a public garden on Odessa, still wearing his WWII army uniform. I think it reminds us all of how good we have it. Most of the greatest traumas of our lives are the result of our own bad decisions. Yet here is a man who endured unimaginable tyranny, spent time in a gulag, fought in a war that killed 20 million of his countrymen, and somehow managed to remain hopeful and sane. This is a life to be celebrated and admired. Happy Birthday, Mark. May there be many more to come.
Ed points out in an update that, actually, Mark was imprisoned in Khrushchev's gulag, not Stalin's. Hardly changes the principle, though.