Already inJean-Baptiste Lamarck had argued that modern animals, including humans, had descended from other species. For example, Lamarck argued that the neck of a giraffe stretching for food would eventually lengthen slightly, a physical characteristic that would be passed to its offspring.
The book also gives unique insight into the intellectual milieu in which he developed his theory and his struggles to convince his peers of its veracity. Indeed in this age of the counter-factual and pseudo-factual, acquaintance with the foundations of our scientific tradition — and insights into the struggles of their creation — seems a matter of some urgency.
Charles Darwin aged The core of the theory, as laid out in the first few chapters of the book, is quickly explained. Plants and animals produce more individuals than nature can sustain in each generation.
These individuals vary in looks and in physical and behavioural characteristics, and they are able to pass on this variation to the next generation. Those individuals better suited to their environment have an advantage and are in turn more likely to survive to give their features to future generations.
Yet the bare bones of his theory of evolution are only part of what shapes this book. Darwin also communicates the obstacles he had to overcome to ensure its success and to turn it into what it became: Creationism and evolution At the time Darwin wrote, the prevailing form of explanation of the origins of life was creationism, which held that a divine Creator had generated life in all its variety.
To creationists, the theory of evolution offered a rival way of explaining the origin of species — through descent from common ancestors, not a divine agent. Wikimedia Commons Darwin was well aware that his theory might prove difficult to accept for those believing in a Creator.
His obsession with the factual was one way of addressing this problem, direct rebuttals of creationism were another. Throughout the book, he repeatedly addresses creationist views and shows that they are incompatible with the evidence. Darwin himself was not against the idea of a divine creator.
Rather, he sought to situate the scientific reading of the world within a religious worldview. This really was a congenial move, offering a compromise between religious and scientific explanations of life.
As long as divine creation occurred prior to and outside of nature and its laws of cause and effect, both explanations could, at least in principle, stand side by side. And to some extent it worked.
Others, however, did not buy it. An ominous absence In this context, it is noticeable that in On the Origin of Species Darwin stays well clear of the problematic issue of human descent. If there is a striking omission in the book, it is man.
Darwin originally intended to include a chapter on human evolution but later decided against it. As a result, the descent of Homo sapiens does not really feature in this elaborate discussion of the forces that drive the evolution of species.
Editorial cartoon depicting Charles Darwin as an ape, Wikimedia Commons Darwin obviously considered the book controversial enough without agitating his readers unnecessarily by touching on human evolution. And his instincts did not betray him: Right from the day of its publication, the book became something of a bestseller.
Also right from the start, it elicited mixed responses.
Some saw it for the foundational work of the biological sciences it eventually became. Others decried it as a serious threat to the core of humanity. Darwin eventually came to address human evolution in a separate volume, entitled The Descent of Man.
Invariably, perhaps, its publication caused a fresh wave of outrage, criticism, and debate.On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. On November 24th, , On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin (renamed On the Origin of Species 13 years later) was published in London, England.
Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species, presents us with a theory of natural selection. This theory is his attempt at an explanation on how the world and its species came to be the way that we know them now.
The Origin of Species study guide contains a biography of Charles Darwin, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species, presents us with a theory of natural selection. This theory is his attempt at an explanation on how the world and its . A summary of The Origin of Species in 's Charles Darwin. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Charles Darwin and what it means.
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