The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or, The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or, The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

Book - 1993
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Introduction by Edward J. Larson

Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific inquiry, The Origin of Species sold out its first printing on the very day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly "passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street." Based largely on Darwin's experience as a naturalist while on a five-year voyage aboard H. M. S. Beagle, The Origin of Species set forth a theory of evolution and natural selection that challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the immutability of species. This Modern Library edition includes a Foreword by the Pulitzer Prize-winning science historian Edward J. Larson, an introductory historical sketch, and a glossary Darwin later added to the original text.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 1993
ISBN: 9780679600701
Characteristics: xvi, 689 pages ;,19 cm


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Jan 25, 2020

I originally decided to read this book simply for the sake of its importance, expecting it to be a dry read. Instead, Origin of Species turned out to be a marvel. Contrary to the popular misconception, the idea that living things evolved was not a new idea in 1859, but the problem was, no one knew how the process worked. Then Darwin came along and deduced what must be happening behind the scenes to produce the results that he and others were observing, providing the means that had been missing from the controversy. And so dazzlingly astute were his deductions that a modern reader can see that he is talking about DNA’s role in heredity 90 years before Watson and Crick puzzled out the nature of this molecule and confirmed what Darwin already had already concluded through the power of his intellect. But more than that, Darwin’s ability to argue his case is just as dazzling. So lucid and powerful are his arguments that it seems to me that opponents of the idea of evolution would have to explain what *prevents* Darwinian evolution from occurring. I was also surprised to discover that many of the most commonly voiced objections to the concept of evolution were anticipated and disproven by Darwin himself in this original work on the subject. Although the first word on the subject, Origin of Species is so definitive that it is nearly the last word on the subject as well. One can read this book for a better understanding of its importance, to learn about evolution, or to be treated to a marvel of lucid reasoning.


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Jul 16, 2008

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