The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Preservation Of Favoured Races In The Struggle For Life
Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (Eng by Charles Darwin. Penguin Books Ltd (1982), Paperback, 480
Rear Cover Summary
Written for the general public of the 1850s, The Origin of Species is a rigorously documented but highly readable account of the scientific theory which lies at the root of our present attitude to the universe.
Charles Darwin established an evolutionary view of the world which challenged contemporary beliefs about Divine Providence and the fixity of the species. He also set forth the results of his pioneering work on the related subject of the interdependence of species - the ecology of animals and plants.
Chapter of contents
1. Variation under domestication
2. Variation under nature
3. Struggle for existence
4. Natural Selection
5. Laws of variation
6. Difficulties on theory
9. On the imperfection of the geological record
10. On the geological succession of organic beings
11. Geographical distribution
12. Geographical distribution continued
13. Mutual affinities of organic beings : Morphology : Embryology : Rudimentary organs
14. Recapitulation and conclusion
Review by Mark Edon;
Not what I was expecting at all.
Here we have a very readable if thorough going explanation of his theory of descent with modification through variation and natural selection. I have seen comments such as dry and stodgy but did not find this to be the case to any great extent.
I must confess to skimming a total of about three pages out of nearly five hundred. I did this because I had already got the point and he was listing in minute detail the implications of this or that on his famous "tree of life diagram" a to a' etc. etc.
Apart from the exposition of such a simple theory the two main things I enjoyed most about the book were as follows;
Firstly, just how much evidence in favour of evolution he did not have an inkling about. He bases his theory on how it explains the geographical distribution of life on the earth, variation, fertility, vestigial organs, eyes on cave dwellers, webbed feet on mountain ducks etc. It is therefore surprising just how much he got right and how little has since been shown to be wrong. Remember he had no idea of DNA or the molecular side of reproduction at all and yet he predicts a good deal of it.
Secondly, his forays into experiment. Ranging from the counting of plant species in cleared ground, measuring and comparison of greyhound and bulldog puppies and adult dogs, to the immersal of seeds in sea-water and so on.
The book is written for the lay audience and should be accessible, with a little patience, to most.
Despite what many Creationists have told me there is nothing I could find about the origin of life, support for the Nazi's, reasons in favour of the Holocaust or the futility of existence at all.