The Origin of Species

The Origin of Species

by Charles Darwin

Written for the general reader, in a style which combines the rigour of science with the subtlety of literature, The Origin of Species remains one of the founding documents of the modern age.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science
  • Rating: 3.99
  • Pages: 703
  • Publish Date: May 1st 2004 by Castle Books
  • Isbn10: 0785819118
  • Isbn13: 9780785819110

Read the Book "The Origin of Species" Online

if you've read a lot in Darwin (as I have) you come to understand that as a religious man, his studies seriously conflicted with his beliefs.

Even today we still refer to Darwins ideas as the theory of Evolution despite the fact that it is now empirically proven as to how we got where we are. For a time he believed religion and science could work together; he believed that science helped to explain some of the ideas in creation stories, but eventually he stopped believing. As a student of literature, as a lover of stories, history, nature and narrative, I find myself drawn to ideas of religion and science. But, I do most ardently think that we can only begin to understand what it is to be human by reading and exploring the ideas of both religion and science. I have many reading lists-both shortlists and longlists- but four works I simply need to read in my lifetime are The Qur'an (I have a beautiful edition I picked up from a used book store- a late 19th Century edition), The King James Bible (Ive recently finished genesis), Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Einstein and A Brief History of Time by Hawkins. The point is, I think in todays world we need to understand both religion and science.

The semester has now started here at Creationist U and I am working hard, but I found time to read the book you recommended. I guess I was expecting Darwin to be like Richard Dawkins, but he was respectful of religious ideas. He really got me - I was wondering if he was going to mention any of that stuff, and a page later he came out and said just what I was thinking! He said he could explain things like the eye and how bees could evolve to make honeycombs, but even if he was real good at making his case, I wasn't buying any. Like he says, it is weird how you have a mountain range, and there's one kind of animals and plants on one side, and a different kind on the other side. God's ways are inscrutable to us, but why does He care about those mountains? He says if you look at the species on a lot of islands, you don't have any mammals there, except you do have bats.

But in the case of an island, or of a country partly surrounded by barriers, into which new and better adapted forms could not freely enter, we should then have places in the economy of nature which would assuredly be better filled up, if some of the original inhabitants were in some manner modified; for, had the area been open immigration, these same places would have been seized on by intruders. In such case, ever slight modification, which in the course of ages chanced to arise, and which in any way favoured the individuals of any of the species, by better adapting them to their altered conditions, would tend to be preserved and natural selection would thus have free scope for the work of improvement.

Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species It is amazing to think that this mild, scientific book published a little less than 155 years ago caused (and is still causing) such a complete storm. Darwin and his little book walked by a labour of scientific mouldywarps who happened to find themselves on the chalk cliffs of science, pushed those sterile hybrids off, and never looked back.

You can't review a historic artefact.

There is only one thing you need to know before you read this, and that is that Charles Darwin was a very religious man. It can be heavy going, however, as the paragraphs are long and often repetitive, but his thoughts on pigeons are the most endearing things I've come across: this is Victorian science and it's all about pigeons. Of course, it makes the entire thing that much more impressive, though the horrific experience Darwin must have gone through as he tried to make a religious-belief co-live with a scientific frame of mind would have been supremely agonising.

There are obvious things poor old Darwin didn't know about, one of them being the laws of genealogy discovered by Gregor Johann Mendel. Meanwhile Darwin is writing this book giving many observations regarding the variability of crossings of various plants and animals, but doesn't understand why. Also, Darwin was plagued with physicists of the time who calculated that earth couldn't be as old as needed for Darwin's theory of natural selection to accomplish all the required changes. This is an example of a book that is much easier to listen to than to read because of all the big Latin words used in describing species. It is from a section of the book on instincts and follows a couple paragraphs discussing the habit of some birds to lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species. "Mr. Hudson is a strong disbeliever in evolution, but he appears to have been much struck by the imperfect instincts of the Molothrus Bonariensis that he quotes my words and asks, 'must we consider these habits not as an especially endowed or created instincts but as small consequences of one general law, namely transitions?' "I take from the above that Darwin was enjoying the irony of a naturalist from the creationist camp finding it difficult to attribute to God the endowment of the slothful nest making habits to the cowbird.

Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, eminent as a collector and geologist, who proposed and provided scientific evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. His 1859 book On the Origin of Species established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.