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The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2003
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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It's interesting how research worked back in the mid-19th century. He didn't have Google and even if he did, most scientists back then hadn't asked the questions he was asking. For example, he wondered how seed could be transported across oceans; he concocted experiments to see if seeds would float in the ocean for a long period of time and still germinate. He also wondered if mud on birds feet would contain seeds; so he captured some birds and checked out the mud on their feet. There are many other examples where he did this sort of thing.
He also structured this book to answer all of the possible criticisms to his theories and did a very good job. He effectively cited the work of other scientists. I found this book a joy to read and see how the mind of a great scientist works. It's refreshing to see a scientist go against the consensus and powerfully support his radical new theory.
This book is highly recommended for everyone. It is eminently readable and convincing.
This book is controversial since there are many people that feel it is anti-God. I don't think so; to me, it simply shows that God did not create each and every species from 'nothing'. God is more like a farmer than a conjurer. I would think that the amazing versatility of life and its ability to adapt shows something that seems hard to imagine coming together by mere chance.
I have read this book at least four times. It is insightful, loaded with an overwhelming amount of empirical observation, and astute interpretation of those data. Darwin crafted a well thought out theory. His book sold out on the first day in 1859, and it has been in print pretty much ever since. His theory has been under attack from the non-science community and under intense scrutiny by the scientific community for the past 150 years. The result is that the theory is more complete and robust than ever.
If you really want to know what's up with Darwin and his theory, read his book. Amazon and Kindle have made it available for free. Dive in and find out for yourself what is going on.
If you do, be prepared for lots of examples of pigeons. :-)
This is a 5-star book, and every educated person in the world owes it to herself or himself to read it.
Be informed, be educated, be amazed.
The main text is Darwin's 6th Edition.
Darwin considerably amended Origin of Species through the course of its six editions. For example he first used the expression "survival of the fittest" (coined by Herbert Spencer) in the 5th edition and he first used the term "evolution" in the 6th edition. However, he also diluted some of his arguments in an attempt to deflect criticism. Most notably he made more allowance for now discredited Lamarckian ideas of hereditable affects of use and disuse, versus pure natural selection.
It is an open argument whether the 1st edition or the 6th edition best represents his real thinking. My 2 cents would be that the differences are relatively minor in the context of the overall work. The key driving ideas are well expressed in both and either is a fine start. Just be aware that other readers of Origin of Species may have seen a slightly different text!
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Contents are complex and interesting,
I am very satisfied.