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The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2003
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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.
For me, everything he explains about descent through modification and rudimentary organs and common ancestors not only makes sense but is corroborated by the principles of Biology concerning classification and evolution.
Darwin, contrary to how creationists reacted and are still reacting towards him, does not confront the idea of "God created everything out of nothing" and dismisses it as nonsense (except maybe a little towards the end, when he writes "Do they really believe that atoms have been commanded suddenly to flash into living tissues?"). He takes more of a perplexed approach and doesn't seem to understand why they can't look at the facts.
*** A note on the free Kindle edition: it does seem abridged and does not include the chart that the author refers to on several occasions but the gist of natural selection is in here***
This particular publication is indeed more than 500 pages, although unless you are referring to a facsimile copy, the number of pages depends on how much text per page the publisher chooses to use! This particular book also has the reportedly missing illustration in Chapter 4 which is a lithograph of a hand drawn diagram by William West. This was the ONLY illustration Charles Darwin included in his first edition of On the Origin of Species.
It is probably not general knowledge but there are 6 editions (and a corrected version of the 6th edition printed around 1876-78.) This copy is the 6th edition with the changes and corrections. I can tell by some of the edits in the book's introduction. A variorum text of the On the Origin of Species is very useful in discerning the various editions and what Darwin changed where and when.
I personally only have the first and sixth editions (plus a variorum edition) both in printed copies as well as the eBook versions for portability. This volume for the sixth edition, with all the period illustrations augment Darwin's text very nicely! Also an excellent version is "The Annotated Origin: A Facsimile of the First Edition of On the Origin of Species", 2009 annotated by James T. Costa. Unfortunately it is only in a print version and not as an eBook but I have submitted a request to Amazon to ask the publisher to make it available also as an eBook.