The Origin of Species: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (6th edition) ... Darwin. Published by MobileReference (mo

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The Origin of Species, 6th edition, published in 1872 is the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book is readable by a non-specialist and attracts widespread interest today as it did 150 years ago. The 6th Edition is often considered the definititive edition.

This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography and book analysis. This book features the table of contents linked to every chapter and subchapter. The book was designed for optimal navigation on PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.

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It's hard to talk about The Origin of Species without making statements that seem overwrought and fulsome. But it's true: this is indeed one of the most important and influential books ever written, and it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.

To a certain extent it suffers from the Hamlet problem--it's full of clich¨¦s! Or what are now clich¨¦s, but which Darwin was the first to pen. Natural selection, variation, the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest: it's all in here.

Darwin's friend and "bulldog" T.H. Huxley said upon reading the Origin, "How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that." Alfred Russel Wallace had thought of the same theory of evolution Darwin did, but it was Darwin who gathered the mass of supporting evidence--on domestic animals and plants, on variability, on sexual selection, on dispersal--that swept most scientists before it. It's hardly necessary to mention that the book is still controversial: Darwin's remark in his conclusion that "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history" is surely the pinnacle of British understatement. --Mary Ellen Curtin

Customer Reviews:

  • "the struggle for life"
    Some time ago I found Darwin's "Origin" in a second hand store. More than a hundred years old, except for the [presumably] original owner's name, written elegantly inside the cover with a quill, it showed no sign it had ever been opened. Possessing a pleasant 'old book' smell but having no marks, stains, or dog-eared pages, it had rested unexamined, apparently for several generations. Then I came along and -- viola! -- punctuated equilibrium.

    Darwin's writing style is engaging, his lines of thought easy to follow. He did not 'discover,' or 'invent,' "evolution." Classical philosophers long ago discussed evolutionary ideas, St. Augustine among them. Aristotle taught that the extent to which biological forms could change was tightly restricted. Many held this view in Darwin's day, but many did not. Many believed that species had evolved from earlier forms but no one had proposed a coherent mechanism for such a theory. Lamarck's theory of evolution failed to impress most thinkers because it smacked of vitalism and couldn't describe how changes might be heritable. Where Lamarck's theory failed, Darwin's was seen as succeeding. It is apparent to this reader, however, that in critical areas, Darwin's arguments often 'beg the question' -- in their underlying metaphysical assumptions and logic and also in terms of the difficulty resolving mathematical incongruities in 'the struggle for survival by means of natural selection.'

    Problems of mathematics:
    Several times, in the opening paragraphs of chapter 10, Darwin underscores the quantitative nature of his "small steps" gradualistic theory. Life forms are said to be "blended together by innumerable transitional links," and, "so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous" and again, that the number of transitional links "must have been inconceivably great." Darwin takes pains in dealing with paleontological difficulties in this regard. Concessions, arguments, and paleontological problems aside, the more interesting difficulty is one of straight-forward mathematics -- these "innumerable . . . truly enormous . . . inconceivably great" number of slow and small modifications that "must have incessantly occurred." If 50-100 billion (the most conservative of generally cited estimates, but more realistically several hundred, if not thousand billion) species of life (mostly prokaryotes, but Darwin argues that modification proceeds most rapidly in `higher', more complex forms) are to have been brought about by "small steps" in 2.5 to 4 billion years¡À (3.5 billion is typically cited), with most of the action happening in the last 0.54 billion (since the Cambrian/Tommotian period), the necessary modifications and even outright 'speciations' would have to occur as a continued whirlwind of evolution. We would observe modification and speciation constantly, in significant quantity, even daily. We certainly do not observe this. Here is perhaps the most easily stated and understood of Darwinian gradualism's mathematical difficulties, but it is not the only one, nor is it seen as being the most intractable.

    Problems of logic:
    In chapter six Darwin argues, "It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye to a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?" The problem here is that Darwin himself proceeds to enlist repeated (metaphysical) assumptions about how the Creator would and would not work. Let us concede, with Darwin, that such thinking is presumptuous, and Darwin is repeatedly caught in his own trap.
    Another problem of logic: Darwin writes, "If it could be shown that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case." Of course no one could -- how does one observe "any" possible complex organ "not possibly" being formed? In case you think Darwin is suggesting that his theory of gradualism might be falsifiable, look again. He has actually hedged his argument behind the thorny logic of 'proving a negative.' In fact, Darwin argues, "we must suppose" that nothing could present such a "break down" case! Theories that can't be falsified aren't typically held to be scientific. Yet not only has Darwinian theory gained wide assent, it has come to be protected by law in certain quarters; the only scientific theory, so far as I know, to ever be so protected (unless one counts the Vatican's Earth-centered universe theory, per Ptolemy, in Galileo's day!). Kepler's and Newton's theories did not appeal to enforcement by jurisprudent mind-police, neither did Einstein's or Planck's.
    Darwin frequently argues that if we presume his theory is true, and disregard countermanding evidence, then we have "no difficulty" in finding his theory to be true: "In all cases positive paleontological evidence may be implicitly trusted; negative evidence is worthless, as experience has so often shown" (chap. 10). This kind of argument could be employed to "find" any theory to be "true."

    Metaphysical problems:
    Darwin's "long argument" is, as he freely admits, a line of reasoning more than a body of extant evidence. In argument Darwin references his theory, over and again, to an arbitrary metaphysical demand. He says that the absolute fixity of all forms is integral to the idea of 'creation', i.e., that 'creation' must be rigidly static -- "special" creation, as he defines it. This is, of course, a very useful demand. With the language sufficiently colonized (as a prescribed condition), all evidence of variation is then automatically evidence against "creation" and supportive exclusively of his theory, and this appeal is made repeatedly. The problem is that the idea of divine creation does not demand the absolute fixity of forms. Early in the fifth century, Augustine contemplated the possibility of forms evolving, he seemed not particularly impressed with the impact of such an idea upon the principle of divine creation. In fact ideas about 'creation' [in most instances better described as 'intelligent design'] are present from early Ionic philosophy, see, for example, Anaxagoras (500-428 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC), and earlier, if but vaguely, Heraclitus (535-475 BC), who affirmed both an essential "Logos" (design) and material change (evolution).

    Some evolutionary biologists (e.g. cell biologist Lynn Margulis) doubt that the natural selection "battle" can adequately explain variation. Natural selection states: if a gene z is more likely to succeed (reproductively) than a gene y, then gene z is more likely to succeed than gene y. Is this an explanation or a tautology? It makes a statement that z has been whittled from [yz], but what does it tell us about the existence of [yz] except that it, in turn, had been whittled from [xyz], for example. It states a subtractive process by which a genetic set can be modified. But does it tell us anything about how or why modifiable sets exist? Even if we accept Darwin's arguments for natural selection acting on random variation as an adequate mechanism for all variation (and doubt seems reasonable), it remains that the very existence of such things as complex cellular and genetic material (proteins, enzymes, DNA) remains unexplained. To be selected, something must exist.
    In citing problems with Darwin's arguments, I do not dismiss all his ideas. But his "struggle" arguments don't have the broad explanatory qualities that he believed them to have. Whether in 1859 or today, his theory is obviously incompatible with certain ideas about 'special creation', but as Darwin admits, it hardly undermines the final implication of an extant Creator. Philosopher Garth Hallett, who appears to have no difficulty with Darwinian theory, says, "What in Hume's day looked like products of intelligent design now look like the results of natural evolution, but natural evolution itself -- from big bang to life, sentient beings, and Homo sapiens -- now looks like the product of supremely intelligent design. To construct whole villages from Tinkertoys would be clever; to construct Tinkertoys that form the villages on their own would be prodigious. How prodigious the unfolding of the universe has been, we have only recently begun to glimpse."

    Darwin appears to have been a rather pleasant gentleman, frequently praising others, conspicuously including his detractors (a wise tactic perhaps). He was intelligent, wrestled with very difficult questions, and tentatively believed he had discovered the best answer possible. Many still do (e.g. zoologist Richard Dawkins). As for contemporary scientists who doubt, in one way or another, that he did propose an adequate mechanism, and there are more than you may have been led to believe, I recommend the critiques of: philosopher of science David Stove, mathematical geneticists Hubert Yockey and/or Lee Spetner; mathematician M.P. Schutzenberger, biochemists Michael Denton, or Dean Kenyon, and quantum chemist Henry Schaefer III (maybe not the names you were expecting?). Some Darwinians love to hate these guys, but they are respected scientists, they don't reject Darwin 'wholesale', most of them (the above mentioned, that is) are avowed agnostics, Yockey is likely the most eminent scientist in his field, and Schaeffer has been nominated for a Nobel Prize at least five times. They've published many peer-reviewed papers (this matters inordinately to some folks!). Darwin has become a polemists icon, if not poster child, but many people [probably most] cling strongly to opinions of his work that, whether for or against, are too extreme.
    ? wes janssen 2005...more info
  • More importan than the Bible
    More important than the Bible and better research behind it! Just the facts please....more info
  • Natural Selection to be accepted by Christianity by 2136AD?
    It took 277 years for the Church to accept that the universe did not revolve around the Earth, from the publication of Copernicus' 'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres' in 1543 to the Vatican's total repeal of the condemnation of the Copernican doctrine in the period 1820 to 1835. If that's anything to go by as far as the speed with which the Church accepts new truths about the universe, none of us will be around to see the day Darwin is vindicated as one of humanity's guiding lights, as opposed to the Son of Satan. Seldom in history has such a noble person been subjected to such vilification. It reminds one of the ridicule once heaped on supporters of the Copernican theory, and their disbelieving mockery - how could the Earth possibly revolve without the people flying off? Today we all can only laugh at their ignorance, but only some of us can laugh at the ignorance of those 'Flat-Earthers' who still disregard Darwin's theory. Like many have already pointed out, much of the material that fuels the evolution debate is not to be found in this book. There are no claims or even insinuations in the book of descent from apes. Rather, it was disciples like Huxley who really helped focus the debate on man's primate anscestry, and Darwin was far more direct in his beliefs in his later books such as 'The Descent of Man' and 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals', both of which are worth reading as they bolster his theory in countless ways, always combining a penetrating natural observation with intelligent analysis. In fact, I must admit to enjoying them even more than this book, although of course as Darwin's classic, it's a must read for anyone interested in man's evolution, and no open-minded person could possibly remain unconvinced after going through Darwin's evidence and arguments against spontaneous creation. (Creationists still believe that God came down to Earth in 19th century industrial revolution England to create the darker moths which started appearing as the trees gradually darkened from pollution, kindly making sure they did not stick out like sore thumbs on the blackened trees anymore...)...more info
  • Evolution
    The Origin of Species: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

    This is an excellent ebook. Darwin was a great scientist! ...more info
  • On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection ...
    The true title that Darwin gave this thesis is: "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life." makes no mention of this. Darwin believed that the peoples of Africa were inferior....more info
  • A must read the original book has some of the best arguments
    In this wonderfully readable text Darwin introduces the ideas that have changed biology.
    The two strongest points of the book are: its readability, which it really is, it's arguments against repeated creationism, which are among the best and clearest I have read.
    The structure of the arguments for his theory which slowly unfolds for the eyes of the reader makes for a convincing and readable story. Of course the book being 150 years old there are some shortcomings, especially focussed around Darwin's lack of knowledge of the mechanisms invoklved in inheritance (genes). Quoting and treating of scientific references might also appear oldfashioned.
    In spite of thse shortcomings the impact of this book has been so immense that I would advice everyone to read it, that is why it got the 5 stars as well. Without reading it neither supporters nor opponents of his theories can fairly debate about its implicaitons...more info
  • This edition is poorly formatted.
    Darwin's _Origin of Species_ is a phenomenal work and was truly brilliant and insightful at the time. It's a classic of science and it's one of those books that everyone should read.

    That said, this particular Kindle edition of the book is disappointing. Primarily, the text is fully-justified rather than normal left-aligned (right-ragged). (This means that spacing between words varies so that the last characters of each line end up being aligned along the righthand margin, and the first characters are still aligned along the left margin.) It's a well-known principle of typography that justified text is harder to read than ragged text -- the spacing between words is variable, so your eyes have to work harder to move over the text. I don't see why this edition would have made that choice.

    If you want to read this excellent book, you might consider a different edition....more info
  • Very Very Good
    While neo-Darwinism is still struggling and many prominent biochemists, physicists, and biologists themselves are predicting its demise in its current form, Darwinism, as presented in the Origin of Species is still undisputed. Instead of reading claptrap that evolutionary theory has inadvertently produced, I recommend reading the book that started it all. Yes, much of it is refutable, but this books stands as a testament to one of the best theories science ever put forward. And unlike neo-Darwinism, it is not just one giant contradiction. Recommended....more info
  • A theory
    First of all the subtitle has been wrongly interpreted. Some creationists have decided to use this title to expose Darwin as a racists. He may be, I have not read "The Descent of Man" yet. The origin of species talks very little of man. It is a book of observations and study. It concentrates on how plant life, has by selection, brought forth all the species we see today. The survival of the fittest through millions of years by gradual change. Darwin covers his beloved pigeons in depth. I agree with him that all the different types of pigeons we see today probably came from one ancestor of the pigeon. This is called variation of kind. We see this in just about every living creature and flora. The problem arises when the next step is taken, the rise of one species turning into another (reptile to bird). Throughout the book Darwin does admit to this fact, but he still maintains that it must be, with much difficulty.

    There is no doubt there is a tremendous amount of work that went into his book. It is a difficult read. I would rather have read the dictionary. One does need to know his enemy. Darwin is not the originator of "evolution." There are many who came before him, since the dawn of time. He was influenced by numerous men of his time, some being more radical. Darwin was nothing new, he just maid it "hip." What he started has turned into the secular humanism the world has adopted. I don't think he meant for this disease to spread like it has. From his writings I understand him as an agnostic, but doubtful. I believed he struggled with the possibly of a deist. It is safe to say it was his only ambition till his dying day to prove "evolution" as proof of our existence. What of the missing fossil record?, he new they would be found. He was a confusing man.

    150 years later and there still has been no intermediate fossils found to prove the case. In fact we are discovering more that validates creation.

    The theory of evolution caused Darwin to loose his faith and his experience has been repeated in countless lives. Evolution is an acid that eats away at the mind, a cancer.

    One only needs to open the pages to Michael Behe's book, "Darwin's Black Box", to understand the futility of the evolutionary theory. The engines of life at the molecular level are so complex that there leaves no other possibility than a creator of the universe. There should be no excuse.

    Wish you well
    Scott ...more info
  • The dawn of modern biology.
    It is often said that Charles Darwin launched the modern science of biology with this book. Before he published The Origin of Species in 1859, biology was a collection of unrelated facts, much like the state of chemistry before the periodic chart of the elements was worked out. After its publication, biology became a systematic science with a unifying theory.

    To learn more about how Darwin's groundbreaking work led to the amazing growth of biological knowledge in the fourteen decades since its publication, I recommend that you also read British geneticist Steve Jones' new book Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated....more info

  • Wake up, Stanley
    "race, in his era, was basically the equivalent of a subspecies" (to quote "Stan" quoting Darwin). Is that what you do? Take one sentence from a book and take text out of context? You're right. That's what the rest of the book is surmise for oneself how the word is used throughout the book rather than in a single sentence. And Darwin's book was published at the height of slavery, so you can sugarcoat it however you'd like, but it is what it is: Trash.

    As for you equating the "Theory of Evolution" and the "theory" of gravity as both being fact yet both being theory, I've got news for you: I don't really need a theory for gravity. At least not on this planet. For instance, if you go take a long walk off of a short pier, I can know that gravity is real. I don't care about drawing up "theories" about it. Maybe I choose to throw you a life saver. Better yet, perhaps an anchor. That way I can see gravity even more at work, eh? But you DO need to be able to PROVE your theory of evolution. And everyone knows that neither Darwin nor yourself nor anyone else can do it. You like to pretend that macroevolution is obviously true because you have hypothesized it (or theorized). Sorry. That doesn't quite cut it.

    But hey, you might buy into it as much as Hitler did when he had his list of "higher and lesser evolved 'races'". After all, Hitler loved to read the works of Darwin and Nietzsche. That's your choice also. Fantasyland....more info
  • The First of its Kind
    Perhaps the most influential work ever written, and a shining beacon of modern scientific thought. This book is the much needed breath of air the scientific world needed after millennia of religious (unscientific and assumable) oppression. The work, shines on many points, and dulls on others, but, keeping in mind the time it was written, it does not deserve a lesser rating. I will here give my impression on what was "hot and not" about this volume;


    -Despite many who would disagree, the book is eloquently written. It is a very enjoyable read. It does, I admit, get a tad dry and repetitive at times, but keep in mind that this is a scientific volume -- it is not entertainment. Also, it was written 150 years ago, and the rules of grammar and language would of-course differ from today's.

    -The book is truly scientific; it does not make blind assumptions, but backs up it's theories with facts. It is the burden of the proposer to back up his claim, therefore, claims that Evolution is false and volumes of energy are wasted just to defend it is erroneous.

    -And, of-course, the book lacks a-lot of the modern principles discovered regarding evolution since its publication. However, there is no need to rate it down just because of age. I don't see Dickens being rated down because 19th century London exists, now, only in books. As far as a scientific work, however, it lacks in this department.


    - It is outdated, so it should not be completely trusted as a source of valid information. Don't misinterpret me: most concepts are correct, however, details are often erroneous and not up to date. This book should NOT be used as a source of serious arguments for or against evolution, with few exceptions and examples.

    - The language may tire and bore some modern readers.

    The last comment I have is for readers who are very vexed by this book and choose to bash it publicly and claim its error in, well, almost everything. Those are usually Religious readers who are opposed to any mention of evolution for obvious reasons. I am an open atheist, I won't deny it, and, everyone on this earth has a right to their own opinion. However, bashing a work purely based on instilled hate for science is NOT helpful to the community which reads these reviews. First, if the book was so erroneous and "laughable" in its propositions, Religious folk wouldn't have felt so threatened by it as to post 3 page reviews full of angry remarks. An evolutionist/secularist/atheist is not someone who knows too little about religion or is ignorant -- it is someone who knows too much. Religion assumes, and, the bible was written for political purposes -- if you are a truly educated Creationist you would have at least an idea of what I claim here. Therefore, people who ONLY read the bible and use it as an example do not hold any water to their claims. The bible has no authority with many cultures on this earth. Science, however, can have authority with everybody, because it proves its points with facts. The angry theist reviewers, here, are as gullible as a child. I did not read Darwin's work and become an "instant believer" in evolution; I had to read several books and weigh the evidence. Another excellent work is "What Evolution Is" by Earnst Mayr.

    Comments I was really vexed by:

    - Darwin was an atheist -- most theist posts claim this in one version or another. He was not an atheist, and, even though his underlying intentions will never be clear, he was openly a theist. Throughout the book he mentions the "creator" as the "breather of life" on earth. The last sentence in the book is truly beautiful, and disproves the atheist claim.

    - The fossil record refutes evolution; maybe so today, but I am convinced this is erroneous; the evolutionary link to the lineage of birds from dinosaurs (Mayr 2001) was only a proposition supported by Darwin and many evolutionists, quite blindly. Why? No "Intermediate" between dinosaur and bird was found, and therefore, theists had a field day bashing evolutionists. However, the Archaeopteryx was discovered in due time. I believe that it is due to the vastness of the fossil record and its unimaginable distribution and randomness that these "gaps" exist. I believe the future will surprise evolutionists quite pleasantly.

    -Posts which include remarks such as "Yes, there is a God, and he is not you, Dr. Ego Monkeyshines." are clearly the futile attempts of an uneducated theist at disproving evolution. Having no facts, of-course, he must resort to name-calling when all else has been expired. I urge you to read that post, and, if possible point to one fact that supports his claim. He claims we should be "REAL" scientists and investigate for ourselves -- well, most of us are, and we have simply concluded that Darwin puts forth amazing proof of evolution. This is only a very accusatory rant by yet another disappointed theist who just saw a huge chunk of Bible validity being crushed by a genius of scientific advancement. Religion and science do NOT mix; one is based on assumptions, the other on facts. I very much find it interesting that many people here compare "Origin" to the Bible -- in a way it is; it is the modern bible. It simply replaces or updates, if you will, the ideas of the bible. The bible can be viewed as a very outdated theory on the world -- one that predates science and explains everything without the need of thought -- it's all simply magic (god). The "Origin" updates it, and goes on to explain the magic of God as scientific laws. Which sadly for many, does contradict the bible.

    - A reviewer commented that the full title of the book was concealed by Amazon with shady purposes to cover up the book's "racism." I particularly love the claim that Darwin was a racist. The reviewer claims that Darwin displayed racist remarks towards black people in his book, favoring races and saying Africans were inferior; where in the book, dear reviewer, did you see any mention of Africans, and, overall humanity? Darwin makes VERY little reference to humans in the "Origin," perhaps you'd be interested in "Origin of Man" (Descent of Man). "Preservation of favored Races" refers to the animal "races" or, more modernly, types/varieties/breeds. This erroneous claim is baseless, because the word "races" was used with a different meaning in "Origin", and again, take into account that the book is 150 years old -- grammar rules and interpretations change. I remember Darwin using the word "Gay" to refer to his happiness in a discovery of some sort; the same reviewer could probably claim Darwin himself was homosexual based on this remark.

    And, finally, this book *proves* nothing. This book, or almost any other I have read regarding Science/Evolution/Religion proves NOTHING. They just claim, and defend, either successfully or unsuccessfully, and with variable effectiveness. Before you bash me as a hot-headed atheist, consider this; I don't believe in Darwinism completely, I don't even believe in the complete validity of the modern evolutionary synthesis either; I just treat religion and science (The bible and "Origin") as two very rightful, and respectful claims of explanation for a common problem; I only defend "Origin" because, although it doesn't prove evolution, it certainly puts forth many more valid, scientific, and truly unbiased facts for its existence, than the bible puts forth for the existence of god and his version of the operations of our world-- in fact, it puts forth NONE, it assumes the reader will trust it unquestioningly as an undisputable authority. Mr. Darwin, has successfully disputed it, willingly, or unwillingly, and uses Nature as HIS authority of choice.

    All you have to do is read it for yourself, and make your own decision as to the validity of his claims. However, do keep an open mind, do not embark on reading this work with a frown on your face and an eager exaltedness to ridicule and dispute its content. It is a beautiful work of unbiased and honest truths (mostly), and is a rather enjoyable and informative read to the curious and open-minded reader.
    ...more info
  • Still Relevant
    The Origin of Species, for the first time offering an adequate explanation for biological change and origins, should be required reading for anyone interested in biology, history, or life in general. Because the book outlines the beginnings of a vast, new theory, it is accessible to laypersons. It does not suffer from the esotericism of most scientific writings, which expect readers to have a working knowledge of a specific scientific idea. Darwin starts from scratch and builds up all the evidence for his theory in a way that renders his argument undeniable.

    Darwin's idea explains the production of differing species through natural selection. Darwin did little to explain evolution, or the change, of species, but this book fully outlines how the mechanism of selection would make sure such random changes would produce complex organisms. The mechanism Darwin proposes is at once so simple and seems so obvious with hindsight. It is something evident to any dog breeder--that traits can be selected and passed on to different generations--and Darwin even draws upon knowledge of artificial selection in birds and dogs to bolster his claims. Ultimately, however, the evidence for evolution by natural selection lies not in a vague analogy to artificial selection, but in the predictions Darwin's theory made and fulfilled. Darwin's expectation of biological similarity in ancestors and descendants is fulfilled by simply looking at exterior features or even bone structures. He also notes that his theory thoroughly predicts and explains the existence of rudimentary features like teeth in whale embryos and flightless wings in birds. The fact that island species correspond most with similar species on the nearest continent, instead of in distant lands, shows that these species are descended from them and changed after migrating to a separate environment. Darwin also showed how his theory explained the difficulties with classifying species, because evolution thoroughly broke down the distinction of species as pure and distinct.

    Not only is this book useful in gaining an understanding of evolution, but it is also a good outline for scientific methodology and research. One comes into reading the book wondering how one could prove an unobservable process that takes millions of years to occur, and is overwhelmed by the ingenuity of the predictions offered by the theory that are fulfilled by subsequent observations. Darwin's book shows that the predictive power of theories are vital, allowing them to be tested and refuted. The entire book outlines the vacuousness of the design inference as a common explanation for life, showing that an inference of design does not explain similarity in biological structures, vestigial and rudimentary parts, the geological distribution of life, and the difficulty in classifying species. All of these observations are explored in meticulous detail by Darwin, and shown to be thoroughly explained by evolution combined with natural selection.

    From a historical perspective, reading the book causes one to marvel at Darwin's ingenuity. One can see glimmers of later discoveries reflected in Darwin's reasoning. One shakes one's head at his ability to explain the distribution of life by glaciers and flight and rafting...only to realize that the theory of plate tectonics would have been a delightful solution to the several problems Darwin noted with distribution for fossilized species. Darwin often makes bold predictions that the modern reader knows come true, and it is simply a wonderful thing to behold such accuracy.

    The Origin of Species is a wonderful book, accessible to all, and a treasure to read for anyone with a passion for history, science, or life....more info
  • The origin of the debate
    Like many other seminal literary works and ideological manifestos, 'The Origin of Species' has suffered from the fame (and notoriety in equal measure) heaped on it by reviewers, commentators, atheists, agnostics and orthodox bible believers. I would not equate this work with the bible or 'Hamlet' or any other literary work. This is NOT a literary work: it is a study, a collection of observations from which Darwin himself draws only tentative conclusions. As a man of science there is little more than Darwin can do because the truth lies somewhere between 'we don't have a clue' to '42' and he admits as much at various points in his published research.

    What is fascinating - to me, at any rate - is watching the process of his logic unfold as the pages are devoured. I wonder how many readers of this have read publications from, say, the Church of Scientology? I must confess I have not but my given understanding is that there is no way of completely proving or disproving their mantras.

    This book has set in train a wondrous debate about God, Creation and Natural Selection and in that sense it ranks as a work which although difficult at times to read - Darwin would I'm sure admit to being no literary genius - is worth reading simply to discover for yourself what all the fuss is about.

    I think it's important to read historical reports of the aftermath of the publication of the first edition of this book. That in itself and the ensuing debate is, in my opinion, at least as interesting, if not more so, than the work which sparked the whole thing off. ...more info
  • Probably the most beneficial book of the last two hundred years

    Although Darwin's gift was never for great prose, the realization of the theories in this book was a watershed moment for mankind. Darwin's theories cracked open the history of our planet, and in doing so he opened up possibilities in all fields of science, art and in life. His work stands among the great human endeavors...more info
  • Requirement for the Advanced Biology Student
    It is a crying shame that many reviewers have used this forum to try and critique evolutionary theory, making no references to the text at all and drawing on erroneous conclusions about Darwin in general. The Origin of Species is most definitely the most important work in the field of biology, as it is the most succinct and well developed explanations of the unifying principle of the field, evolution via descent with modification. I don't want to spend a lot of time explaining the theory or why a person should study it. I want to explain who should read this book and why. If you are looking for an introductory text on the theory of evolution you need to stay well away. There are other better books. In many cases Darwin's examples and arguments are outmoded or have been changed. The book overlooks many aspects that are included in modern evolutionary theory, such as genetics, simply because Darwin did not know about them. Natural selection as Darwin wrote it is one of the most effective explanatory theories in all of science but by reading this book you miss almost 150 years of the things it has explained. It is also a flat out PAIN to read, they where much "wordier" in the 1800's and Darwin's English is rather stilted and formal, even compared to modern scientific writing. So, who should read this book? Any person who is an advanced student in biology (I read it the summer before my senior year) should be aware of how the modern theory of evolution was born. You can't really achieve this without reading Origins. I am aware of no better way of understanding evolution that to follow its development through time, beginning with Darwin. And, if you don't understand evolution, you don't understand biology. As something to read it is a classic, arguably the most influential work of all time.

    A note on edition: this copy is the one I have. I would suggest the facsimile of the First Edition found elsewhere on Amazon. I don't know why the publishers felt the need to put the caricatured human evolution (addressed nowhere in the book) on the cover....more info

  • Darwin Has Been Vindicated
    Creationists often state categorically that "there are no transitional fossils". This is simply not true. In fact, ALL fossils are transitional. One of Darwins main points was that evolution is an on-going process. It may speed up and slow down, but on it goes. This book is a must read. Even after 120 years it's still selling and still being read.

    Darwins point in The Origin of Species has been overwhelmingly proven over and over. There are abundant transitional fossils of both the "chain of genera" type and the "species-to-species transition" type. There are documented speciations that cross genus lines and family lines. You cannot simply say that there are no transitional fossils, because there are. As Gould said (1994): "The supposed lack of intermediary forms in the fossil record remains the fundamental canard of current antievolutionists. Such transitional forms are scarce, to be sure, and for two sets of reasons - geological (the gappiness of the fossil record) and biological (the episodic nature of evolutionary change, including patterns of punctuated equilibrium and transition within small populations of limited geological extenet). But paleontologists have discovered several superb examples of intermediary forms and sequences, more than enough to convince any fair-minded skeptic about the reality of life's physical geneology."

    Darwin has been vindicated by the remarkable temporal pattern of fossil morphology, with "an obvious tendency for successively higher and more recent fossil assemblages to resemble modern floras and faunas ever more closely" (Gingerich, 1985) and with animal groups appearing in a certain unmistakable order. For example, primitive fish appear first, amphibians later, then reptiles, then primitive mammals, then (for example) legged whales, then legless whales. This temporal- morphological correlation is very striking, and appears to point overwhelmingly toward an origin of all vertebrates from a common ancestor. Creationist can say whatever they want to and practice all the deceit they want, but the clear evidence in the geological record is not in dispute by any one except fundamentalists.

    Numerous "chains of genera" that appear to link early, primitive genera with much more recent, radically different genera (e.g. reptile- mammal transition, hyenids, horses, elephants), and through which major morphological changes can be traced. Even for the spottiest gaps, there are a few isolated intermediates that show how two apparently very different groups could, in fact, be related to each other (ex. Archeopteryx, linking reptiles to birds).

    Many known species-to-species transitions (primarily known for the relatively recent Cenozoic mammals), often crossing genus lines and occasionally family lines, and often resulting in substantial adaptive changes.

    Even the gaps are easy to explain, since for stratigraphic reasons alone there must always be gaps. In fact, no current evolutionary model predicts or requires a complete fossil record, and no one expects that the fossil record will ever be even close to complete. As a rule of thumb, however, creationists think the gaps show fundamental biological discontinuities, while anyne who has studied the evidence knows they are the inevitable result of chance fossilizations, chance discoveries, and immigration events.

    Darwins revolution will continue, even if there are a few setbacks, because the evidence is real and overwhelming....more info

  • Great edition
    I liked the edition very much. Its legibility is very nice and it's a lightweighted version, dispite its 470 pages. I was just disapointed with the illustrations, that have very little relation to the text. But this fact doesnt compromise the quality of the whole. And the content... well, it's darwin world changing work, very readable....more info
  • I had one once...
    I had an appendix embedded in my body, but it served no useful purpose, became inflamed, and was removed. This book, along with those by Richard Dawkins (Blind Watchmaker), Ernst Mayr (What Evolution Is), Steven Stanley (Macroevolution: Pattern and Process), Stephen J. Gould (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory), and Geerat Vermeij (Evolution and Escalation) help explain why and how I happened to come by this "feature". Once you've finished those, Weishampel's "Dinosauria" is quite a bit of fun, too, as is Harper's Numerical Palaeobiology. If you prefer shells to bones, Boardman's "Fossil Invertebrates" is a great read. If you'd rather do it on the cheap, Google Scholar "evolution". Of the 3.2 million hits, I would guess at least a third pertain to biotic evolution....more info
  • A quiet book for all the broohaha
    Required reading for any serious biologist. This is the theory from the man himself. Also valuable for understanding evolution in a historical sense. Darwin got some things wrong, but, in my reading of this (which I have done many times over), I am struck by the brilliance of a man who figured all this out in the absence of understanding the genetic mechanism of inheritance. I think Darwin is one of the great minds of western civilization, on a par with Newton, and he deserves FAR more respect than he is given today.

    For all the stir this book caused, for all the stir Darwin's legacy continues to stir today, I am always struck by his modesty and dedication to the principles of scientific endeavor. He seems such a quiet man to have revolutionized everything we know and understand about life....more info
  • Natural Selection to be accepted by Christianity by 2136AD?
    It took 277 years for the Church to accept that the universe did not revolve around the Earth, from the publication of Copernicus' 'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres' in 1543 to the Vatican's total repeal of the condemnation of the Copernican doctrine in the period 1820 to 1835. If that's anything to go by as far as the speed with which the Church accepts new truths about the universe, none of us will be around to see the day Darwin is vindicated as one of humanity's guiding lights, as opposed to the Son of Satan. Seldom in history has such a noble person been subjected to such vilification. It reminds one of the ridicule once heaped on supporters of the Copernican theory, and their disbelieving mockery - how could the Earth possibly revolve without the people flying off? Today we all can only laugh at their ignorance, but only some of us can laugh at the ignorance of those 'Flat-Earthers' who still disregard Darwin's theory. Like many have already pointed out, much of the material that fuels the evolution debate is not to be found in this book. There are no claims or even insinuations in the book of descent from apes. Rather, it was disciples like Huxley who really helped focus the debate on man's primate anscestry, and Darwin was far more direct in his beliefs in his later books such as 'The Descent of Man' and 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals', both of which are worth reading as they bolster his theory in countless ways, always combining a penetrating natural observation with intelligent analysis. In fact, I must admit to enjoying them even more than this book, although of course as Darwin's classic, it's a must read for anyone interested in man's evolution, and no open-minded person could possibly remain unconvinced after going through Darwin's evidence and arguments against spontaneous creation. (Creationists still believe that God came down to Earth in 19th century industrial revolution England to create the darker moths which started appearing as the trees gradually darkened from pollution, kindly making sure they did not stick out like sore thumbs on the blackened trees anymore...)...more info
  • Good read more for history than real science
    No one can underestimate the impact of the Origin of the Species. While Darwinian evolution was never accepted by the great masses of America (about 45% of people believe in Creation Science, and another 45% believe in intelligent design or "divinely-guided" evolution), Western society's elite has literally worshiped Darwin's thesis that order emerges from disorder without any intelligent agent guiding the process. This elite has been the movers and shakers of the 20th century. It's fair to say that Marxism, Nazism, totalitarianism, heartless Capitalism, nihilism, existentialism, and a host of other philosophies that have brought 20th century man to the brink of annihilation on both societal and personal levels find their roots in this modest book.

    But is Darwin's thesis true? The truth is that Darwinism explains nothing. The idea that variation plus natural selection accounts for life is nothing more than a tautology: of course the variants that were most fit for survival survived! That's simply saying the same thing twice. It doesn't account for how life arrived in the first place, and does account for why the "variations" showed up on time. The fossil record has been disasterous to Darwinism, showing that species appear suddenly without precursors, and vary very little within the duration of the species. (A theory called "punk eek" has been proposed to explain why this is, but it's totally unfalsifiable and therefore worthless.) More damaging has been studies in the field of mathematics, physics, and biochemistry, which show that the universe has not existed long enough for such evolution to take place, and that life is far more complicated on a molecular level than Darwin thought.

    So why does Darwinism endure? Why does anyone who questions Darwinism find himself out of a job?

    Two reasons. First, 20th century science has rigged the rules to say "a theory is always accepted, no matter what the evidence against it, as long as there is no other theory." In other words, if Darwinism can be bent to explain 25% of the evidence and no other theory exists to explain more, then Darwinism is accepted as fact. Second, Darwinism is the key component to most modern philosophy. It tells us who we are, where we're going, what we're capable of as a species. There has never, ever been a culture that doesn't have a "creation myth" that explains who humans beings are what the proper way to live is. Imagine for a moment a culture that truly has no idea what it means to be long could such a culture endure? How long could people convince themselves of the rightness of their economic policies, social institutions, and pecking orders? If we admit that Darwinism is wrong but don't put anything in its place, society will intellectually collapse.

    That, rather than sound science, explains Darwin's duration, despite the sick, groteque legacy he has left mankind....more info

  • A tedious genius
    I find it difficult to be able to rate this book in the conventional manner of attributing the books quality on a scale of 1 to 5. But I have and I've given it 'one'.

    I wondered onto this book site via a 'greatest books of all time' reading list which linked to this page. One of the few books on the list which I'd actually managed to read. My earlier statement of difficulty in ranking this book lies in its historical importance verses entertainment - the former immense, the latter minuscule.

    I'm a Zoological graduate and so the importance and reverence of Darwin's The Origin of Species have been fundamental to everything I've done in the last 3 years, however, when I actually sat down and decided to read the original text I got no more than halfway through the book before deciding I'd had enough.

    This work being in the greatest 100 books of all time is wholly justified - it is a great book. But the potential reader must keep in mind that Darwin wrote this book having to carefully detail the concept of evolution - decent with modification, his critics would be many and any flaws would be leapt upon to discredit his heresy. However, now we (most of us) understand and accept his teaching and so don't need to sit through pages of him waffling on about pigeon breeders to accept what he's saying.

    If I may be so bold to summarise Darwin (my lectures would no doubt crucify me for such defamation); Creature is created, creature reproduces, one creature offspring deviates from the norm which gives it a slight advantage over its rivals (slightly bigger teeth for killing, slightly longer ergo faster legs for running away), this enables the offspring's genes to spread wider then its competitors so become more common, this mutant offspring will reproduce until further useful mutations give greater advantage subsequent offspring thus spreading, the process continues indefinitely. And so, that's basically it, an important rule but please don't bother sitting through the entire book to learn this, it really isn't worth the effort....more info

    "Origin of Species" differs from most other scientific books or original articles in that it can be understood in its original form by an average person. When Newton wrote his Principia, only a handful of people could understand it. It had math and it was written in Latin. But Darwin's method is the same as Newton's: both developed a theory which "explained" observation. Neither gave nor claimed to give the final word. Neither is a discussion of ethics, politics, religion. business, etc. It was known to everyone that variation in life existed with some sets of living organisms being more akin to one another than to other sets. Some sub-sets within a given set of organisms were able to interbreed with one another, but not with other members of the set. Darwin attempted to explain how this happened. Science is never "true" in the sense that
    religion is "true". Science does not depend upon the authority of individues.
    The idea that the Pope may pronounce something true and it becomes "true" is a different definition of the word "true" than Darwin or Newton or any other scientist saying someing is true--on the one hand the "truth" exists because of who made the statement, but on the (scientific) hand, the one making the statement is not relevant.

    Some reviewers have stated that "Origin of Species" is hard to read. I suppose that is true compared to a novel, but compared to most scientific literature it is a piece of cake. It is about as hard to read as "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith.

    Darwin's work, like all science, is based upon the concept that nature is consistent over time. To throw out Origin of Species
    based upon the idea that God creates inconsistencies now and again to effect this purpose or that mekes no more sense than throwing out Newton, Einstein etc and physics and chemistry as well as biology. No amount of evidence to the contrary convinces those who insist upon God's intervention because it cannot be absolutely disproved. Such views are OK, but they are not science and must not be introduced into science classes.

    ...more info
  • Clear, convincing, modest writing
    Everyone is aware of the importance of Darwin's 1959 classic science text. Yet, few of the many defenders and detractors of evolution have read it. While certainly out of date and lacking in the loads of modern evidence to back him up, Darwin nevertheless provides the best introduction to evolution by means of natural selection.

    Darwin goes through nearly every point imaginable, providing the results of years of tests, observations, and study. Each chapter goes on an exhaustive analisys of different topics. I had already read much evolution literature, but I was even more convinced after reading Darwin's well-written thesis. He is unpretentious and modest. Even when the subject gets tedious (he goes into rather extensive details on raising pigions and floating various seeds over water), his good humor is always evident and you know you only have to wait until his next big find is revealed.

    "The Origin of Species" should be read by anyone claiming to know the origin of mankind. Though often tedious and lacking in modern evidence, this is still science writing at its best. Any layman can understand the principle concepts of evolution through Charles Darwin....more info

  • Way more readable than you think ...
    People tend to look at me crazy when I tell them that I've read ORIGIN OF SPECIES. And really, I think we can all see where they are coming from. Nevertheless, being curious, I thought it might be interesting read the book that started all the fuss.

    I was surprised to find how readable it really was. Think about this: what we are taught in high school biology is way more than Darwin knew when he wrote this book. Accordingly, the science described in this book is quite easy to understand for anyone who has previously taken a biology class.

    Probably the most interesting thing about this book were the few times that Darwin threw in a little philosophical/theological side comment. I'll leave these juicy tidbits for you to find, but look for them as they add a little "kick" to an otherwise fairly "scientific" book. Though a bit lengthy, this accountant enjoyed ORIGIN OF SPECIES.

    As a sidenote: I find the funniest thing about those "Jesus fish" eating the "Darwin fish" car decals is that the base idea is that the stronger fish wins- a.k.a. surival of the fittest. The ensuing contradiction of unwittingly using one of Darwin's base tenets to attack Darwinian evolution is priceless....more info

  • a must read
    It's really amazing how polarized people's opinions of this book are! Whether you accept evolution or not though, it would be foolish not to read Origin of Species if you expect to have an informed opinion on the subject. I gave it only 4 stars because it gets pretty dry in places, however I definitely recommend reading this book. Reading it two or three times would be an even better idea. ...more info
  • Too outdated
    Many people don't realize that there are many flaws with the theory of evolution. And that Darwin was not in fact a naturalist on the Beagle...BUT the captain's companion. In addition to that we have found NO evidance of one species evolving to another.
    A creature such as Homohabilus is actually thought to be a combination of other bones put together...meaning that it is not real. It is a made-up creature that people have made themselves believe real to support their ideas without actual scientific evidence.
    I believe that Darwin's theory is wonderful, but people have to be more open-minded and not believe everything they read or hear. ...more info
  • A cornerstone of biological science...
    This book is a must read. This is the theory of evolution, pure and simple. And for those out there that bash Darwin as an athetist and who is ruining society with his crazy idea an idea that isn't so crazy considering that it just so happens to be lawlike in the scientific community, similar to the law of gravity, please read the last sentence of the book! Very carefully!!! ...more info
  • talkin' to a dead man
    "Step back from the tree Charles"

    ...he can't - he's dead....more info
  • Elegantly brilliant
    I had read The Voyage of the Beagle first. It is easy to see how Darwin's theory of evolution was growing as he traveled and saw how plants and animals adapted to different environments. Then he invented a theory to explain what he had observed.
    This book is a 300 page definition of the theory of natural selection. Darwin goes through a detailed explanation of how evolution must have occured. He is very methodically, very detailed. When he doesn't understand something, he says he doesn't. He is humble in his presentation, giving credit to other scientists. I was amazed at how many experiments he performed himself, growing generations of plants and insects, watching how they developed and changed.
    There is a quote in the book from Darwin's gardener who said, "He's really a sad little man. Sometimes he stands and stares at a flower for hours. I really think he'd be better off if he had something to do."
    We are so lucky that Darwin inherited money and could spend his early years traveling and his later years in contemplation and writing. ...more info
  • The Most Important Book of the Last Two Hundred Years
    Whether or not you agree with my title, you must agree that this book is one of the most important volumes of Western science. That is the reason I resisted reading it for so long. In the end, this book should be read not because it is important or still controversial after a century and a half, but because it is interesting reading, giving insight into Darwin and his times. A great deal of his examples remain compelling and his analysis still engages the intellect. This book is not dull or stuffy, but rather, fun, interesting reading. A number of the concepts with which Darwin struggles still engage biologists today.

    This book will surprise and delight you, if you are like me, force you to read the current writings on evolution, creationism and genetics. In a world where genetic developments rule medicine and where genetic advances challenge our ethical concepts, it is important for all of us to understand these concepts, and the best place to begin is with the man who started it, Charles Darwin....more info

  • Excellent book to start the research of the origin of life,
    If you like to research about origin of mankind or origin of life this is a must to have book. I bought this book to start studies about Teology & Antropology and I got amused with the clarity of purpose of Mr. Darwin. I think that it might had been very difficult to publish this book in a society very conservative in terms of religion and social life. Moreover, he also was a religious man and, to launch this book, he might had had a consciousness crisis or problems because he knew that this would shake all the ocidental way of life of that time....more info
  • The most influential scientific book ever written
    In 1859, Darwin unleashed "Origin of Species", a juggernaut which smashed down millenia-old ideas with its elegant explanation of the natural variation of species, and extensive documentation of examples to demonstrate the work's argument.

    As a practising scientist myself, I was thoroughly impressed by Darwin's care in addressing his assumptions, considering alternative explanations, and providing a robust defense of his conclusions with his vast array of field data. "Origin of Species" is, as a purely scientific work, a beautiful example of how such a text should be written and defended.

    Of course, Darwin's work is now dated. Modern theories of evolution and genetics have added a tremedous amount of detail to Darwin's work, which obviously are not included in this text. If you are interested in a more modern adaption of Darwin's theory, I suggest John Maynard-Smith's "Theory of Evolution". However, Darwin's work remains a lucid, powerful introduction to evolutionary theory, with a host of interesting examples of how his theory works in nature. For both its historical and scientific merits, "The Origin of Species" should be part of any literate person's library. Highly recommended....more info

  • Essential for Understanding Life
    This is it -- the "Old Testament" of modern biology! Most people who accept evolution as the dominant paradigm should read this book, so that they know why. It is tough to get through, but incredibly rewarding. People who know Darwin's basic ideas don't really know how he arrived at them. So why not find out? Every page demonstrate's Darwin's brilliance, humility and insight. It is a must for the science buff's bookshelf! AOK!...more info
  • The most important Biology book of all times!!!
    Every biologist (professional or amateur), every lover of the nature, every scientist have to read this book. "Origin of the species" opened the doors for a new era of scientific thought and dramatically shaped the development of all life sciences. It correctly describes, for the very first time, a most fundamental truth of the natural world, one which had eluded philosophers and scientists for millenia.
    Beautiful, just beautiful. An intellectual triumph for mankind. Thank you, Charles! ...more info
  • Read the Original to fully appreciate the Greatness of this book.
    Many people assume that Darwin's initial account of natural selection is so out of date that it is to be avoided in favour of more recent text books of evolutionary theory. While it is true that huge gains have been made in the one and a half centuries since the first publication of "The Origin", there is nothing in this work which is wrong. Darwin was too good a scientist and too cautious.

    Some claim that Darwin admitted of the possibility of Lamarkian mechanisms. They have not read the original. Darwin knew nothing of the molecular basis of genetics, but knew that natural selection did not need a Lamarkian mechanism. He simply did not rule it out, although he found it improbable. Everything that is stated in this great classic is as true today as it was at the time of first publication.

    It is also said that Charles Darwin was a lesser intellectual when compared to most other great names of science; that he was a plodder, a naturalist, a sort of gentleman stamp collector who pressed flowers into his books and barely a scientist in the contemporary sense. This is nonsense. Darwin was one of the giants of rigorous systematic thinking; the kind of rigorous thinking and critical attitude that asks the right questions and provides the capacity to answer them. Let me buttress this claim with one example.

    At the end of chapter six Darwin noted that the theory of natural selection could not account for structures or behaviors found in one species that exist solely for the benefit of another unrelated species. In setting out the theoretical terms for the refutation of the theory in this way, he anticipated Karl Popper, that analytical non-nonsense philosopher of science, by more than a century.

    I recommend you read this book with an attentive curious analytical mind. You will find yourself walking in the footsteps of an intellectual giant. ...more info
  • The Original Work of a Cautious Scientist
    This is not a difficult book to read, and I would encourage readers to read the original work of Darwin.

    "The Origin of Species" is considered to be an important work in both world literature and science. An interesting aspect of the book was the pressure for Darwin to publish the book. Prior to publishing, he had spent almost 30 years developing and testing his ideas. The book is a combination of argument and debate along with descriptions of Darwin's own experiments with birds and plants, including his own cabbage garden. In short, according to Darwin, the evolution of species takes place over a long time period and is a series of random events with survival of the fitest, or what is called "natural selection."

    Darwin was born in 1809, trained as a botanist and zoologist at Cambridge University, and made his famous trip on the H.M.S. Beagle from 1831 to 1836. He was first inspired by the writings of the geologist Sir Charles Lyell. This same geologist would play an important role in pushing Darwin to publish his findings in 1856.

    Darwin - as he writes in his book - was not working alone. He was not the first to come up with the ideas. Darwin was preceded by many before him with similar ideas. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire wrote as early as 1795 that species are "degenerations of the same type." Lamarck was in fact the first person to suggest that "all species, including man, are descended from other species." He published his ideas in 1801, 1809, and 1815. W.C. Wells presented a paper on human skin colors in 1813 and published his results in 1818. This was followed by The Hon. and Rev. W. Herbert published in the "Horticultural Transactions" in 1822 that "botanical species are only a higher and more permanent class of varieties." In 1826 professor Grant "declares his belief that species are descendent from other species." Also, Von Bush in 1836 "expresses his belief that varieties slowly become changed into permanent species." And, in 1846 M.J. d'Omalius d'Halloy published a paper with his opinion "that it is more probable that new species have been produced by descent with modification than they have been separately created."

    After the Beagle trip, Darwin's main pre-occupation was to prepare his five volume work "Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle" over the years 1840 - 1843. Also, he undertook a series of experiments on evolution and wrote shorter papers. But in 1856 geologist Sir Charles Lyell persuaded Darwin to take his notes and publish "The Origin of Species." As he prepared the book, Alfred Russel Wallace sent him a manuscript with an identical or similar theory. The two men decided to present their works simultaneously to the Linnaean Society. Wallace had visited Malaysia and come up with similar conclusions to Darwin, but he had not yet prepared an impresive large book, as had Darwin.

    Darwin had been very cautious, and in the years 1840 to 1856 he had undertaken a number of experiments himself with pigeons and various plants. He had even joined two pigeon clubs and had his own garden in the country. He describes some of the slightly amusing details in the book. For example, he was able to grow over 200 varieties of cabbages by cross breeding. Among the findings, he had come to the conclusion that domestic pigeons were probably all related back to the rock-pigeon (Columba livia). He undertook a number of experiments including one where he mated two mongrel pigeons, and the resulting offspring looked like rock-pigeons.

    So, although Wallace had the same ideas at the same time, Darwin had a fifteen years accumulation of notes, observations, and his own experiments that he could put into the book. Once the book came out it was an instant best seller and Wallace was largely forgotten, along with his other predecessors. Darwin was very cautious with his findings, and the many years researching and thinking about his ideas - almost two decades - paid off for him when he finally released the near 700 page book.

    Darwin published a second well known book in 1871: "The Descent of Man."

    "The Origin of Species" is a well crafted and interesting book. There are just a few figures in the book. It is an easy read, although some parts have many small details. Darwin lectures us on a variety of subjects such as flower reproduction. The heart of the book is Chapter IV: Natural Selection. He has fifteen chapters covering a range of topics including geology and fossils.

    It must be remembered that when the book came out in 1859 it was generally assumed that only God could create life. The book was revolutionary, and too detailed to refute. It was a comprehensive book and came as a major challenge to the accepted norm. At the end in the conclusion Darwin tells the reader that his findings just give a different explanation in the way "the Creator" works, and it does not imply a lack of a God....more info
  • The Fact of Evolution and the Theory of the Mechanism of Natural Selection.
    Before reviewing this excellent book it would be best to introduce this review with an overview of the current climate when it comes to Darwin.

    Charles Darwin (a naturalist) is the father of modern Evolution (not *Evil*ultion; it is pronounced *Evo*-lution).

    Darwin's overall explanation of evolution, in this book, is not modern evolutionary biology. Modern evolution can, and does, go beyond Darwin's view.

    Darwin's model is often called Darwinism, a partially philosophical concept but mostly the science of biology and geology combined. It is widely considered to be the single most important scientific discovery of all time. Darwin's underlying points are the essentials of evolutionary biology.

    Theories are comprised of facts without gaps. Theories are factual. Theories contain facts to explain a factual instance of something material. Theories do not contain fabrications or a little bit of lies plus some truths. If a theory is not all facts then it is not a theory.

    The phrase "it is just a theory and not fact" is a contradiction of terms. A factual instance of something (such as observing speciation) needs to be explained. Facts are used to explain the factual instance of something material.

    Darwin used philosophy and biological science and earth sciences (geology) to develop the concept of natural selection which is primarily based on explaining how evolution occurs with the mechanism of `natural selection'. Darwin observed in the world about him what he believed to be the result of a single cell organism that had evolved into all forms of life we see today. More importantly, there is no chaos involved. It has order. "The Origin of Species" (TOOS) is all about Darwin discussing how he came to this conclusion.

    In the 21st Century, "Speciation" has been observed countless times. Go search right now for "Observed Speciation Events".

    ***Speciation is a fact whether we can explain the mechanisms of how it works or not. This can not be understated! A fact is a fact regardless of our ability to explain how it works. Gravity existed well before Newton could explain it. Speciation exists (a new species developing in the world, under scientific observation) meaning evolution is a fact. Look at the title of this review. Nobody should have to explain evolution in order to prove it factual. ***

    Now is the time to say this. If you don't believe theories are factual, then stop engaging the results of factual science in your life right now. Walk the talk. Turn off the PC. Turn off the electricity. Turn off the heating... and walk. I will allow you the option of a bronze spear... that is if you know how to smelt bronze.

    As a note, the Catholic Church has been teaching the fact of evolution and the theory of the mechanisms of evolution in Catholic schools since the 1950s. This is exactly the same coursework that secular schools have on evolution. However there is some discrepancy over natural selection. Natural selection has order but it is not guided. This is the problem part for most religious people. One would do well however to experience thinking about natural selection without any divine guidance. This is truly the type of thinking that grasps the full impact of this work.

    The theory of the mechanisms of evolution is independent of the fact of evolution. The theory of the mechanisms of evolution is a compilation of facts (without gaps) used to explain the fact of evolution. The theory of the mechanisms of evolution is here, in part, but are much better explained and referenced by modern evolutionary biology. If its modern evolution you want (and you may well do if your first search brought you here) then go to talkorigins on the net and read about the "29+ evidences for macroevolution". It can take days, weeks months, or years, or a lifetime to parse the data, but keep going over it and it will eventually click.

    The most popular version of The Origin of Species is the one which contains the first edition published by Darwin in 1859 with an editor's introduction by J. W Burrow first published in 1968. Burrows covers the history of the work, the successive editions of the book that Darwin published and recent scientific discoveries that shed light on Darwin's theory.

    Darwin in TOOS starts by describing his life and times as a naturalist. Darwin explains the problem of immutable claims about the species and goes through the historical record to show instances where people have indicated that the species are mutable. He explains that he is writing this book because Alfred Russel Wallace has drawn the same conclusions about natural selection.

    Chapter 1: Variation under Domestication
    Darwin goes straight into variations under domestication showing that farmed animals are substantially different from their wild counterparts from which they came. Darwin did not have access to Gregor Mendel's laws of inheritance but he did guess that there was a mechanism like this responsible for variation. His bases for the assertion that species come from other closely related species is absolutely fundamentally correct by today's standards. His explanation for it was revolutionary for his time.

    Chapter 2: Variation under Nature
    Darwin exposes the instability of the then current system of taxonomy to show that categorization and labelling is not fixed and thus questions the bases for immutability. This paves the way for the natural overview that all like organisms share commonalities and that variations can be immediate or subtle gradual changes over time. Darwin discusses intermediate forms and shows that group changes are proportional while alluding to the first shape of an evolutionary tree.

    Chapter 3: Struggle for Existence
    Darwin presents the ecosystem and shows that all organisms struggle to survive and that this struggle influences what we, who have survived this struggle, see in the world today. Darwin shows this complex structure and connects it with such descriptions as the presence of a feline determining through the intervention of mice and then bees the frequency of certain flowers in an area.

    Chapter 4: Natural Selection
    This is core material of how highly complex organisms are formed from organisms with lesser complexity and has still stood the test of time today. Darwin not only verifies evolution but explains its mechanism, natural selection. Using the analogy of a tree and the taxonomy of living things Darwin shows how beneficial variations in conjunction with heredity are responsible for the formation of new species gradually over long periods of time which compete and cause extinctions. Darwin establishes the foundation for common descent.

    Chapter 5: Laws of Variation
    Darwin, without knowing Mendel's laws of inheritance, comes close to explaining it by in-depth analyses of the variations in organisms, such as the horse and cabbage. Darwin has been preparing the reader to accept that species are highly variable and that this means that ideas of a static independent design of the species without variation are highly flawed and evolution can be the only sensible conclusion drawn from the evidence.

    Chapter 6: Difficulties on Theory
    Darwin does what religious writers avoid which is self-critic, the hallmark of scientific thinking, brings up all possible problems with his theory and slowly shows how the answers are natural even though he doesn't have them all yet, but still manages to explain the evolution of the eye by comparison to lesser complex eyes in nature as well as the evolution of flight by comparison to gliding organisms. Darwin then shows imperfections in nature, explains why they are there and pulls off a last minute rationalization for why organisms more suited for another environment live in a completely different one with natural selection.

    Chapter 7: Instinct
    Darwin looks at complex instincts in the animal kingdom. Here Darwin examines the life of aphids and ants, revealing their instincts, turns to birds, before going back into the micro world of slave-making ants and the hive-bee, before tackling the design of complex hive honeycomb structures. Not only does Darwin show the evolution of beehives but has all along been preparing us for the slow long gradual evolution of instinct in all living things and then directly implies Mendel's laws of inheritance. Darwin amazingly demonstrates that neuter or sterile insects that perform specific tasks can be produced from parents who don't do those tasks, by way of natural selection.

    Chapter 8: Hybridism
    In order to understand this chapter one should know that at the time the sterility of species was considered the divine indication that species where not allowed to crossbreed. Darwin using sterility examples shows the reader that there is very little to distinguish species from varieties, if they can be distinguished at all. This undermines any attempt to say that a species has an exact definition or is fixed and this is fatal to the independent creation of species hypothesis. Darwin establishes yet another proof for evolution.

    Chapter 9: On the Imperfection of the Geological Record
    Darwin using Lyell's geology changes our view of the world. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the centre of the earth, just as Copernicus showed that we where no longer the centre of our solar system. Darwin describes geology in-depth, with the erosion of land, atom by atom, and the formation of land, atom by atom, adding that the world has seen many forms of life, gradually evolving, through a vast amount of time that we can barely comprehend. He challenges questions about the limits of the fossil record by revealing the story of life as only evident in some parts, with other parts yet to be found, if they will ever be found at all. It's a breathtaking chapter that reshapes how human beings will see themselves after reading it.

    Chapter 10: On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings
    Now that Darwin has completely revised our world view with the evidence of evolution he proceeds to explain how geological movements over long period of time, as well as the migration of species, will create an imperfect fossil record but that this imperfect fossil record will always show organisms of lesser complexity evolving into organisms of greater complexity via the mechanism of natural selection. Darwin shows that species evolve at different rates over time and in different directions which explains the present existing complexity of life today and the scientific record of every organism that has ever lived.

    Chapter 11: Geographical distribution
    Darwin describes a series of practical experiments that anyone can do in their own back garden involving picking seeds from bird droppings, germinating them, sinking seeds in water for 28 days, growing them, analysing the content of mud in the paws of trekking animals and then concluding that the geographical dispersal of fauna from island to island is not a mystery. Darwin then explains why similar fauna are found up mountains around the world by way of glaciers pushing and splitting primordial plant life from the ground upwards. These simple explanations are yet another blow to the suggestion of the immutability of species.

    Chapter 12: Geographical distribution -- continued
    Without directly saying it, Darwin has been implying the common decent of all biological organisms from a single source, the origin of species. Darwin now says it but continues on the topic of distribution showing how birds can easily spread freshwater organisms and how the geological changes of streams, intersecting and separating, can spread freshwater life across the planet. Darwin joins geology with distribution presenting the historical record for all life on earth. Laws of diversity regarding degrees of complexity are introduced. Darwin has established the structure of evolutionary biology as the explanation for life. The scientific impact is immeasurable.

    Chapter 13: Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs
    For anyone left unconvinced, for some odd reason or another, Darwin simply points to the current work in the natural system and shows that the underlying theme taxonomists have been searching for is actually common decent. Darwin then demonstrates how natural selection can create similar developments in very diverse organisms. Embryology alone is argued as evidence for common decent as Darwin illustrates that all embryos and newborn virtually look the same in some respect and that growth and aging in the lifetime of any organism is almost enough evidence alone for mutability. Finally Darwin delivers on a collection of useless organs and appendages no longer in use because they have been naturally breed out because of disuse or `inutility'.

    Chapter 14: Recapitulation and Conclusion
    Darwin runs through all the main points of his argument for natural selection. Darwin is aware that evolution is a minority view but hopes that in the future more evidence for natural selection will appear. He says he can offer nothing to support the idea of the immutability of species and closes with a profound statement and for the first time invokes and ends with the classic word that defined his view. Darwin says, "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, EVOLVED."

    The complex web of relations with livings things to the environment is staggering yet so obvious in hindsight. The whole point of TOOS is it is ridiculous that someone didn't get this sooner. The environment has an impact of living things and living things have an impact on the environment. This is a symbiotic relationship. There is an opportunity for improvement or deterioration in the offspring just on the basis of all possible genetic combinations. Minor changes add up to big ones.

    Darwin's findings about how the environment causes variations in living things is accurate in his proposals although his tenders are mostly humanistic with references to biology especially with regards to "monstrosities" that simply don't have any reason for things like "wings", such as some insects and some birds, if they can't fly. Vestiges are an extremely good case for evolution. The cave crab with an eye stalk without an eye is like a telescope without the lens. Darwin identifies the possibility of sex linked traits in animals, a proven point today.

    Reading TOOS is like a romance novel where the birth of something to unify the sciences further is described in a man's love for nature and his crucial discovery. TOOS is something that needs to be reread several times for the full impact. Walking around in the world today knowing that all organisms have evolved from lesser complexity to greater complexity by means of natural selection is a whole different worldview to thinking that a supernatural deity did it. Challenge yourself. Try it....more info
  • Too much guess work and very little science
    Even though it was fun to read, I give it one star lest the brainwashed academics out their suffer further undue influence. This book has been highly misrepresented by evolutionists for decades. One reviewer made this point but failed to back it up with any facts. That reviewer failed to point out that it was in the "Descent of Man," not "Origin of the Species" where Darwin first presents man as having descended from apes.

    Evolutionists apply natural selection to explain all biological development. It's the worse case of reductionism in history. James D. Watson and Edward Wilson were on the Charlie Rose show talking about this book. They described natural selection as the single great development in science since Newton. They claimed to describe this book as great English literature yet they badly misrepresented it as teaching that natural selection applies to everything biological. How could these allegedly great scientists be so unscientific? Scientists aren't supposed to be cavalier in their judgment. Scientists are supposed to be conservative in their judgment.

    First of all, let's quote Darwin himself from this book, page 75: "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree." There you have it, from Darwin himself, from his famous book. Yet, today, textbooks that claim a lineage to Darwin, depict evolutionary trees of everything biological sprouting from natural selection. Evolutionists like Robert H Hurlbutt, oppose William Paley's design argument because it makes God, not natural selection, the origin of design in the human eye. See Hurlbutt's book, page 173, "Hume, Newton and the Design Argument." Watson and Wilson also attacked the human eye argument in an ad hominem way without producing any argument.

    But, while Hurlbutt is a typical product of academic brainwashing, which passes for education these days, how could two Nobel Prize winners of science, Watson and Wilson, make such a foolish mistake? First of all, Watson and Wilson are crooks. Their Nobel Prize fame for unlocking the secrets of the structure of DNA was illfounded. Rosalind Franklin of King's college is well known to have discovered the structure of DNA and her supervisor Wilson passed it on to Watson and Crick, who, along with Wilson, took credit for it. A little research by the Nobel Prize committee would have discovered this. I guess the Nobel Prize really isn't worth anything when you consider how sloppy they are in giving their awards. Einstein was given a Nobel Prize even though his papers on Brownian movement are a plagarization of Josiah Willard Gibb's book "Statistical Mechanics."

    Concluding unscientific postscript: Could Darwin's "Descent of Man" have psychological origin in the fact that Darwin himself looked like a monkey?...more info
    I read this book for the first time in 1964 when I was 15 and I kept that copy all these years on my bookshelf. Recently I bought a new copy and read it cover to cover over a weekend. It's really one of the most beautiful books ever written in English. What must it have been like to read it when it first came out?! I guess bewilderment and awe.

    Everyone should read this book. It is inspirational....more info
  • One of THE greatest scientific revolution
    Few moments in science change humanity's perception of itself, and presents science with an impetus to guide generations ahead. Examples? Watson and Crick's description of DNA structure, Einsten's theory of Relativity, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle - to name a few from the twentieth century. However, one man's thought and scientific deduction was so revolutionary that it ought to be considered one of the most momentous event in science - the man was Darwin and event was the publication of the first edition of the book which I am reviewing.

    Before you go on ahead, it is my duty to tell you that I give the work 5 stars, only because I have no other alternative. The contents of the book are invaluable - priceless gift to humanity. HOW CAN A REVOLUTION BE RATED? It is also my duty to tell you that this book is not for unscientific fundamentalists whose lives are guided by rigid walls of baseless faith, and not an inkling of true science.

    I shall not be restating the contents of the book. Suffice it to mention that any lay person without the knowledge of current scientific advances in biology should completely agree with the deductions of Darwin. I will however, mention this. No more is evolution a 'theory'. It is a fact. For proof, the Human Genome Project has been completed, as have the genomes of several plants and animals sequenced. Just compare them. And you'll find the truth for yourself. Here are some facts for fundamentalists to chew: a human embryo is almost identical to that of a fish; the genetic code of a bacterium is identical to that of human, and every other species on this planet; and by the way, the basic constituents of DNA of every living species on the planet is the same!!!!! So, stop advancing anti-scientific and pseudoscientific nonsense in place of evolution. That is balderdash!

    Now, for the open-minded and/or the scientific, I have a request for you. Once you finish reading the book, sit down and think about this - in hindsight, without knowledge even of the basics of genetics and without the aid of scientific advancements we know today, a man, through sheer observation and deduction, proposed the 'theory' of evolution - which has virtually all the sciences to back it up. If that is not revolution, what is?...more info
  • This edition is poorly formatted.
    Darwin's _Origin of Species_ is a phenomenal work and was truly brilliant and insightful at the time. It's a classic of science and it's one of those books that everyone should read.

    That said, this particular Kindle edition of the book is disappointing. Primarily, the text is fully-justified rather than normal left-aligned (right-ragged). (This means that spacing between words varies so that the last characters of each line end up being aligned along the righthand margin, and the first characters are still aligned along the left margin.) It's a well-known principle of typography that justified text is harder to read than ragged text -- the spacing between words is variable, so your eyes have to work harder to move over the text. I don't see why this edition would have made that choice.

    If you want to read this excellent book, you might consider a different edition....more info
  • Amazing Book!!!
    First you must read the voyage of the beagle by Darwin in which this book is base and it will make much more sense for you to read!!!!...more info
  • The origin of species not kinds
    The firs two chapters of The Origin are titled: Variation Under Domestication and Variation Under Nature. Therein lays the main argument behind Darwin's view. Darwin observed how organisms vary in nature and he observed how man had harnessed this ability for man's own benefit. Darwin referred to this trait as artificial selection, which was the basis for Darwin's dangerous idea or extrapolation: Natural Selection. With natural selection however, Darwin, proclaimed it an unguided, random process that had no real purpose. Artificial selection is nothing of this sort though. Artificial Selection is an intellectual guided, predetermined event. In fact, it is more appropriately called Intelligent Selection, since knowledge is used to carefully select those traits that can be beneficial to man.

    In Intelligent Selection, nothing is left to chance; farmers did not and have not relied on randomness to maximize their crops output. They have always used knowledge and skill. Darwin used Intelligent Selection for establishing the basis of natural selection, proclaiming that he named it natural selection "in order to mark its relation man's power of selection." Pg 53 However, since Intelligent Selection requires knowledge, order, and guidance it can hardly be used to support Darwin's dangerous extrapolation: Natural Selection, a random, unguided process. Darwin repeatedly says that if man could do so much in his short time-span, than imagine what Nature could do through it's long time-span: "I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and infinite complexity of coadaptions between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may be effected in the long course of time by NATURE'S POWER OF SELECTION." Pg 91 However since Intelligent Selection is so different, or even more accurately the opposite of Natural Selection, it cannot be used as evidence for Darwin's dangerous extrapolation. Thus, Darwin's chief example for his theory is null and void.

    Chapters 3 thru 8 deal with specific examples of descent with modification found inside nature. To help clarify, the examples that Darwin gives are not in question. In fact, the ideas concerning populations that Darwin borrowed from Malthus, the struggle for existence that organisms go through, and many of the other examples that Darwin covers are not being questioned. What IS being questioned is the extrapolations that Darwin made that went past the evidence. Scientists observe that organisms vary in nature; Scientists observe that descent with modification occurs within nature. NO ONE doubts this. But rather the objections to Darwin's work are because his claims goes PAST the evidence. Scientists know that organisms can vary, but they ALSO know there is a limit to the amount of variation that can go into any organisms (called genetic homeostasis). There is a point of no return, where the variations start to have an overtly negative effect. To say that creatures have the ability to vary in nature is true, however to proclaim that nature can do what man has not been able to due goes beyond what the evidence tells us. In fact, it goes AGAISNT the evidence; it goes AGAINST science.

    Chapters 9-12 are devoted to the subject geology and geographical distribution of organisms. Darwin owed much credit to Charles Lyell, who gave Darwin the vast amount of time needed for natural selection to supposedly work. Darwin proclaimed that "the future historian" would recognize Lyell's book the Principle of Geology "as having produced a revolution in natural science" pg 232 Yet, Lyell's view of a gradual, non catastrophic, uniform geological rate has been rejected. Even today's most ardent evolutionists have conceded that catastrophes have vastly shaped today's earth. Darwin however believed the opposite. He relied greatly on the theory of uniformatarianism being the absolute truth and even declared that "species are produced and exterminated by slowly acting and still existing causes and not by miraculous acts of creation and by catastrophes." Pg 398 Thus, Darwin's view on the geological record is mistaken. Catastrophes have had a great deal to do with the formation of the earth and on the production and extermination of organisms.

    Darwin devotes Chapter 13 to talking about embryology and how the facts of embryology alone would be enough to convince him that evolution were true. (pg 374) But yet, studies in embryology since Darwin's time have not strengthened evolution. There are just too many examples where the embryo does not repeat the stages of his past ancestors. The human embryo for example develops its tongue at an early stage in their development, but it is only when the child is a few months old that they starts growing teeth. Yet, our supposed ancestors are said to have evolved their teeth first and then their tongue. Moreover, the idea that a human embryo goes from a single cell organism, to a fish, an amphibian, a mammal, a monkey, and then a human has been demonstrational shown to be false. (See the works of Embryologist Wayne Friar for further info) Anyone who still sticks to this old argument, is no longer dealing with science, but have entered the realm of the dogma, where evidence and reason takes a back seat.

    Charles Darwin has become synonymous with evolution. But why? He didn't reveal any new ideas in the Origin. (The idea that organisms shared common ancestry and that the earth was extremely old had been around for a while. Ancient Greek philosophers had similar speculations.) So, what was so different about Darwin? Why do people associate Charles Darwin with evolution and not Alfred Wallace, Charles Lyell, Thomas Huxley, or even Charles's grandfather Erasmus. The answer, although in no way a short one, can be partly attributed to his attempt to rid special creation from the scientific throne. In its place instituting a naturalist paradigm, that ever since has hindered science. Before Darwin, along the time of Galileo, the dogma came from the religious sect. But, since Darwin's time the dogma has switched sides, or at least superficially. The dogma still comes from the religious sect mind you, but a religious sect masquerading around as science. In short, Darwin is synonymous with evolution not because of his scientific contribution but because of his adherence to a naturalistic philosophy, which in the words of Richard Dawkins "made it possible to be an intellectual fulfilled atheist". Darwin removed the need for a designer....more info

  • Science rocks
    "Today, at the dawn of the new century, nothing is more certain than that Darwinism has lost its prestige among men of science. It has seen its day and will soon be reckoned a thing of the past." -- Eberhard Dennert, At the Deathbed of Darwinism, 1904.

    101 years later and nothing has changed for the anti-evolutionists. I laugh when I see them claim that more and more scientists are rejecting evolution. Such claims are a blatant lie. Go to a university library and spend and afternoon browsing the science journals. You won't find any articles in which scientists argue that evolution never happened. They argue how it happens not whether it happened. Nobody cares if you can get a scientist to sign an anti-evolution statement. Show us the articles he has published in the scientific literature that demonstrate evolution is false. Data is all that counts in science, not petitions or school boards....more info
  • What happened to Darwin's "transitional" fossils?
    Regarding the complete lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, Darwin said in the 1850's:

    "Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record." ---Charles Darwin, "On the imperfection of the geological record", Chapter X, "The Origin of Species", J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1971, pp. 292-293.

    But 120 years later!

    "Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information -what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin's problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which `does' show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection. Also the major extinctions such as those of the dinosaurs and trilobites are still very puzzling." ---Dr. David M. Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago), "Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology". "Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin", vol. 50 (1), January 1979, p. 25.

    Are there any transitional forms at all?

    "... I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualize such transformations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic license, would that not mislead the reader?

    I wrote the text of my book four years ago. If I were to write it now, I think the book would be rather different. Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin's authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a palaeontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least `show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.' I will lay it on the line-there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument." ---Personal letter (written 10 April 1979) from Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London, to Luther D. Sunderland; as quoted in "Darwin's Enigma" by Luther D. Sunderland, Master Books, San Diego, USA, 1984, p. 89.

    "I know that, at least in paleoanthropology, data are still so sparse that theory heavily influences interpretations. Theories have, in the past, clearly reflected our current ideologies instead of the actual data." ---Dr. David Pilbeam (Physical Anthropologist, Yale University, USA), "Rearranging our family tree". "Human Nature", June 1978, p. 45.

    "The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution." ---Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), "Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?" "Paleobiology", vol. 6 (1), January 1980, p. 127.

    "The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    "The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory."

    Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never `seen' in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study." ---Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), "Evolution's erratic pace". "Natural History", vol. LXXXVI (5), May 1977, p. 14.

    For truly eye-opening information...the kind you were never allowed to hear in high-school and university, see "Icons of Evolution" by Jonathan Wells, "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe, "Bones of Contention" by Marvin Lubenow, "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" by Michael Denton and "Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!" by Duane Gish....more info

  • In response to the silly misinterpretation:
    Is all intelligence not God?
    Is all scientific explanation not for understanding the way he works?
    I know that science and religion go hand in hand.
    God is the word. God is light. This we all seem to agree upon(?). All matter, as proven by science, in it's littlest form is light. Then everything is God. We are all gods. That is what we are here to realize. In my perspective -- where I am in my current state of spiritual evolution, the way I see the whole creation debate, directly mirrors the illusion of duality. Adam and Eve are symbolic representations of the male and female aspects of the universe. Ying and Yang. Shiva and Shakti. There are many terms that God has brought into manifestation by means of our human brothers and sisters. These terms are to help us understand. Storytelling. What is it's purpose? These are all stories. This is one big story. (or "interpretive dance" as i like to call it.)So why must the story of creation have a scientific explanation? The reason is religion. God is the doer of all. This is only one of millions of lifetimes that we have experienced on our journey back to him. In the beginning, we were all one, all home with God. God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. And ever since then, his cosmic energy has brought into manifestation, all that is. The planet we live on is evolving.As humans in our current lifetime, we have the power of will and the freedom of choice. Any intelligence that we may posess is of God. He is omnipresent. he made souls in his own image. How can one deny that apes have no souls? I believe that every living organism, even germs have souls. Whatever form we have come to be now is what we have chosen to be, and why? So that we can learn the lessons that we must, to overcome the illusion of duality. Good and Evil. For God is niether, he is neutral, he is love. And so are we! The kicker is in our consciousness. If you can meditate until God speaks with you, he will probably tell you what you need to know. About evolution, about anything. He doesn't want us to fight. He is peace. I haven't even read or purchased this book yet. But in response to the reviews that I read, I just had to say (jumbled up as it may seem) my thoughts. [and if they make any sense at all, that's God's voice speaking.] The science of religion can be and has been discovered by many. I am in the beginning stages of my practice. It is the most personal science out there (in here...). Yoga is the scientific method for God or 'Self-Realization.' Most of the wisdom as posted above, is unfolding in my consciousness due to God presenting me with a book a few years ago at a neighborhood yard sale, called "Autobiography of a Yogi." The author, Paramahansa Yogananda was a fully God-Realized man, who came to the west to spread the philosophy of yoga through his organization that is based in Los Angeles, California; called the 'Self-Realization Fellowship.' In regards to evolution, Paramahansa Yogananda has spoken with God about it. Maybe we should too....more info
  • Arm Yourself Against False Interpretations - Read the source
    The Theories of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest have been misquoted and misused nearly as often as certain Biblical passages. Rather than take another person's word for what Darwin meant by Evolution through Natural Selection, I opted to go straight to the source. I was not disappointed. Darwin's rich array of facts and furthering evidence was almost overwhelming, and yet he yields a long list of resources by which one can attempt to disprove his conclusions. Darwin is a true "Truth" seeker and does not seem driven to merely further his own theory by any means necessary. Read "The Origin of Species". Read the Bible. Draw your own conclusions. You owe it to yourself....more info
  • Well worth the read...
    "If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly service) that individuals having many advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations I call Natural Selection" p. 130, The Origin of Species.

    "Many Christians perceive evolutionary science itself as essentially an enemy of the faith, and so expend considerable energy attempting to deny its explanatory power..." states F. LeRon Shults in his brilliant book Reforming Theological Anthropology (p. 207). I've owned The Origin of Species for nearly 10 years now but never actually read it: or hardly cracked it open. I did spend a lot of time trying to DISprove what I had not read though - which really got me nowhere. I'll be preaching on ideas of creation and evolution at our church in Brooklyn, and decided that instead of just giving second-hand quotes from the book without reading it, why not read it? I'm glad that I did.

    Darwin's most well-known book was really virtually nothing like I had expected that it would be, and I found that I really enjoyed it: and for the most part thought that he made excellent points. At no point did I ever see him trying to disprove God in any way - he simply spoke against "the common idea of creation" (pp. 66-67, 113, 171, 223, 379, 382, 384, 392, 415-417, 458, et. al) which he seemed to take as meaning `all things were created as they are today with no room for mutability' or something along those lines. In fact at several points he even seemed concerned that we not mock God/the Creator. On page 201 Darwin states, "To admit this view is, as it seems to me, to reject a real for an unreal, or at least for an unknown, cause. It makes the works of God a mere mockery and deception; I would almost as soon believe with the old an ignorant cosmogonists, that fossil shells had never lived, but had been created in stone so as to mock the shells now living on the sea-shore."

    Darwin very systematically looks at a number of objections and problems to his theories - for example:

    "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree." p.217

    "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not have possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case..." p.219

    "If it could be proved and any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection." p.228-229

    "Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record." p.292

    "If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection." p.309

    It is important to note, however, that after each of these possible explanations Darwin gives credible thoughts as to how these (and other objections) could be overcome. He often "freely admits" that not all will believe his theory based off of his arguments, and I find that the general tenor of the book is humble: at times a little too apologetic (in the "I'm sorry for this" sense) as he often states that [putting all the details here would be impossible]. I'm actually thankful for that as at times the book became frightfully boring as he listed fact after fact about different species/varieties of creatures. Don't get me wrong though: there were many shining moments of interest as I read. For example the section on ants (p.243ff), the bit about the seeds in the mud that he studied (p.374ff) and the section on the metamorphosis of the cirripedes which I found to be stunningly interesting (p.420ff).

    Darwin's tremendous volume of study is clear throughout the book: the ease that he demonstrates in switching his focus from animal to animal and issue to issue was extraordinary - it would be fantastic to actually meet him and watch his mind work.

    I think that Darwin's most significant contribution in the book overall is showing just how dependant the entire world is on each other - I think that we could all learn a lot from this very true concept. On page 125 he states, "Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district" just to name one such instance of interdependence.

    Another sort of `theme' that emerges in the book is Darwin's need for an actual explanation of why things are the way they are (pp.67, 399, 415-417, et. al.). He's not happy to just say "such and such was created thus" - he want to know WHY they are the way that they are. The Bible (both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament) are really never interested in the "why" or "how" of creation - only that ultimately God was responsible. With this pointed out, I can confidently say that nothing in "The Origin of Species" contradicts anything that's in the bible to any sort of severe degree, outside of staunch strict literalism, which the Biblical texts by no means demand.

    I would certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about the core of the ideas that have become so prevalent in today's world. I'll end my review with one last quote, which is what Darwin states at the very end of the book (pp.459-460):

    "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixes law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
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  • Save your money and read it online
    Go to any literature website and read it for free...more info
  • Darwinism is alive and good today
    I read this book, here in Brazil.The author, Darwin was an atheist and a racist.Writen at the same time and place, as Francis Galton and Karl Marx, Darwin didn't followed both of these charlatans, to the sewages of history.
    The theory of evolution began first in Greece and was also supported by another english, Wallace; but Charles Darwin, with this book really put evolution in mankind's mind.This book was read by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill,Mussolini,etc.
    Someone will claims that Darwin knew nothing, about the genes and DNA.Fossils found decades after this book be published, also put new evidences to evolution.Even so, the main claim of this book,evolution, was increased in believe, by time.Begined by this book, darwinism is alive and good today. ...more info
  • Even compared to modern non-fiction, this book fares well
    Many reviewers start with the warning that this is primarily a scientific
    work, and therefore a casual reader may find it difficult to read. I would
    take quite the opposite view: given that this _is_ a scientific work,
    comparable in its impact to Newton's Principia, it is a surprisingly
    easy and lively read. While the text is a bit dry, and the numerous examples
    may seem overwhelming, I still found Darwin to be a gifted writer, and his choice
    of examples enlightening, and entertaining (this is the first time I read about
    ants that enslave other ants, for instance). I wish
    that modern scholarly works in biology, or any other science, were
    written nearly as well as the "Origin of Species."

    Even so, it is difficult to give this book a rating. It's impact on the view we
    have of ourselves as a species is so enormous that judging the literary
    merrits of the book is, perhaps, beside the point. Darwin's amazing prescience,
    and the thoughtfulness in presenting an "abstract" of his argument for
    descent with modifications are awe inspiring....more info
  • One of the Greatest Books ever written
    Darwin was one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. He was perhaps the greatest observer the world has known. In 1831, he set sail on the Beagle, a tiny little ship, for a five-year cruise around the world, and without pay, as naturalist. He had studied theology, medicine, and, finally, biology and geology. He saw how organisms change with time and environment and how Biblical events simply could not have happened as stated. He spent twenty-three years going over his notes, rethinking, and agonizing over the results. In 1859, he published Origin of Species, and it upset the world. He demonstrated evolution as no one had. Uneducated religious leaders may ridicule it, but evolution is a fact, accepted by any intelligent, educated, honest person....more info
  • Wonderfully readable
    The cover of this edition is misleading as Darwin only refers to man once in this book. It was in "Descent of Man" that he addressed the subject of evolution in man. That aside, this is a great book. Darwin wrote one of the most readable scientific texts in history. It also happens to be one of the most important science books in all of history. If you have never read a seminal science book before, treat yourself and see what a pleasure it can be....more info
  • Darwin....
    Charles Darwin's The Origin of species was published in 1859 and he basically believes and tried to prove that different varieties of species will come about because of direct or indirect action of the species with the surrounding environment and/or conditions and also from the use and disuse of certain inherited functions. Which than leads to the Struggle for Life and thus you have Natural Selection, which means that species that are not the best equipped to survive become extinct.

    This book is packed with examples of his theories. I was impressed with all the information he had gathered over his twenty years or so of research.

    I also do not see how anyone after reading this book, could say that Charles Darwin's theory proved that a Creator or God does not exist. Darwin himself referenced many times to a Creator. He even said, "I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one." And he also said "Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings, which have ever lived on this earth, have descended from some primordial form, into which life was first breathed by the Creator."

    Not only that but he himself understands that there are still many problems with his theory. I was impressed that he included and admitted problems with the theory. For example he said, "Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? And he also said, "Can we believe that natural selection could produce... organs of such wonderful structure, as the eye, of which we hardly as yet full understand the inimitable perfection?

    In the end, even though I myself am still a skeptic towards the theory that simple organisms have evolved into many different complex species, I would recommend reading this book, if not for anything to see how the evolutionary theory got started and though Darwin's theory has changed since his time, it would be a good read still for historical purposes if nothing else. Enjoy......more info

  • A Handy Edition of this Vital Classic
    There are many different versions of Darwin's "The Origin of Species" available, but I found this one particularly helpful. First, while it is nicely printed and easy to read on good paper, it is not terribly expensive. Second, it reprints the first or original version of the book which Darwin subsequently modified substantially in the the further five editions he published. Third, it also includes Darwin's "Historical Sketch" and "glossary" which had not appeared in the first edition. Fourth, the color cover illustration by the Victorian artist Henry de la Beche is an important indicator of why the Victorians were so into prehistoric studies. However, the thing that really distinguishes this Penguin Books edition is the incredibily incisive and invaluable introduction by the editor, J.W. Burrow. Burrow is beyond question one of the most significant intellectual historians of our time. Among other things he has written extensively on the concept of evolution in Victorian thought in his classic "Evolution and Society: A Study in Victorian Social Theory." In 37 crisp pages, Burrow incomparably sketches the Victorian intellectual background against which Darwin wrote. Although the essay is nearly 40 years old, it has stood the test of time very well. It alone is worth the price of the book. Altogether, a very nice introduction to this critical event in scientific and intellectual history. ...more info
  • Wallace may have seen something further than Darwin
    As the great scientist Newton said "I saw further for I stand on the shoulders of giants". Wallace may have seen something further than Darwin when he later in his life said that we have souls or spirits that accounts for our humanity. I believe that the paradigm shift which brings into account ghosts and spirits when it comes to why we cannot fully explain humans is overdue. I know the reader is skeptical about these kinds of things but I myself saw entities that could not be mistaken for something else other than ghosts and spirits, which is also seen and observed by many other human beings all over the world. I do not believe that they are non-material beings who co-inhabit this planet with us and are just mistaken for ghosts for when you see them they have the form of humans, and it is well known that the physical form of humans evolve so that it could be used in the physical world to handle material objects such as legs for running, arms and hand to hold and lift objects, etc. that is why it doesn't make sense that these non-material beings mimic the physical form of humans, so it is most likely that these beings are ghosts and spirits who once inhabit the physical body of human beings and that they mimic the physical form for they once inhabit a physical body...I also cannot believe that they are holograms. On the other hand, to me it is funny that people who believe in a God has a double standard. They believe in a God that they do not see but find it humorous to believe in Ghosts that they also do not see. Isn't the two just different manifestations of the after life? To me it is even easier to see a ghost than to see God, I believe they visit the physical world more than God does..You can hear people say "I saw a ghost last night" or "I saw a ghost in that old house" but I never really heard anyone say "I saw God." As for Scientists, wether they believe in a God or not, I cannot blame them for being skeptical about these kinds of matters for they cannot emperically observe ghosts and spirits. But not everything has to be observed. It is true that "observation is the key to knowledge" but Einstein stated that "imagination is much more important than knowledge" so that is the reason why I believed Wallace saw further than Darwin when he later on believed and suggested that we have souls that make us human for he probably realized that humans are too complex to just be explained by evolution even though our animal bodies are also a product of evolution like any other animals in this PLANET, that is the reason why when studying Chimpanzee behavior, which are 95% the same as our DNA, their are eery similarities to how they behave in society. All those power struggles, murders, sexual jealousy, male machismo and competition, its all rooted in our DNA. But unlike Chimpanzees, we humans have souls, it is the responsibility of our souls to be FREE ENOUGH of our "bloodline", free enough of our bodies to make decisions, to make choices and not be easily overcome by our bodily tendencies. Also a reader might think that in this VAST UNIVERSE, ghosts and spirits DOES NOT FIT IN THE PICTURE...but what if this VAST UNIVERSE is a VAST RUSE...DESIGNED to trap an OVERLY INTELLECTUAL MIND... Even scientists nowadays are admitting that when it comes to the study of humans we are barely scratching the surface. Darwin and Wallace was both right about their observations about evolution, but Wallace saw further for he probably knew that we cannot emperically observe everything... Science can only explain what it can observe.

    P.S. I challenge ALL scientists who comes across this review to begin an ALL OUT investigation of the phenomenon of seeing we could tell once and for all if so many people all over the world are just dillusional, that is why they have sightings of ghosts...OR they truly did saw something and is just being discredited by science because they cannot, FOR NOW, explain it!...more info
  • A very important and elucidating work
    Darwin's Origin of Species is the first book I've read on evolution and being someone that appreciates the scientific manner of explaining observed phenomena with consistent theories, I tried to pay attention to the merits of Darwin's argument. I believed Darwin's theory was generally right(or at least on the right track) before reading this book and after reading it, I'm only more convinced.

    Although I knew the general ideas put forth by Darwin, I'm now more educated as to the manner in which Darwin came to his conclusions. It was interesting the way in which he considered, for example, how two similar species of mammals or plants could be found on two different continents very far from each other. I particularly liked his consideration of our knowledge of geological history and its relationship to his theory. I also enjoyed learning about the difficulties in distinguishing varieties and species and why it is this distinction may be somewhat arbitrary.

    One of the things I like about this book was the fact that Darwin addressed the various counterarguments against his theory and usually provided compelling discussions as to why his theory provided better explanation as to the observed nature of things than the idea of Creationism, which he mentions a few times throughout the book. He was meticulous enough to give much thought to potential weaknesses in his theory and yet offer explanation to how these supposed weaknesses may not be as formidable as they initally appear.

    I found that Darwin's work was rather thought-provoking as I found myself thinking more of mankind's development and the potential uses and development of our own organs and how they may have given us an advantage over other species.

    Darwin was sometimes a little long-winded in his discussion, but considering the importance of the subject matter, I appreciated his thoughtful and thorough exposition.

    I'm no expert in evolutionary theories or how Darwin's theory is regarded by experts today. And I don't necessarily think he got everything completely right, but I found his argument generally pretty convincing and think he was closer to being right than wrong. The origin of species, particularly ourselves, is a very important subject and I believe someone would be doing themselves a service to read such an important work....more info
  • Darwin's notion
    I picked this edition because it includes new modern evidence, not found in the original publication, that macroevolution is a fact: the cover art. Though not quite what Darwin would have wanted, descent with modification can be found in strata... the paper strata of textbooks that push his theory.

    Actually, this is a classic book to own even for someone like me who thinks evolution is more philosophical then scientific. Like it or not, this is one of the philisophic cornerstones of modern western civilization.
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