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Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation and Other Evolutionary Writings Reprint Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226100739
ISBN-10: 0226100731
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About the Author

James A. Secord is professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Christ’s College.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 770 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (August 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226100731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226100739
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. It's a true time travel through pre "Darwin-Wallace" natural history, and even more, since it deals with theories as the Nebular Hypothesis. This was, at his time, an all best-seller, specially if you consider it was a science book and not a novel. Robert Chambers style is exquisite, it certainly was a pleasure reading this book, and as in all books from certain epoch, this one is no exception, you can clearly read between the lines and learn a lot about what victorian society believed and what prejudices did they had. Delightful, but if you don't enjoy classics, please dont' even try this one, this is only for classic lovers.
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Robert Chambers (1802-1871) was a Scottish writer who wrote this work anonymously; its views---while not yet espousing "evolution" as such---were clearly leading in that direction, and this 1844 work received (and thus deflected) much of the criticism that would have otherwise have gone to Darwin's "Origin of Species."

Chambers notes that "(T)here is not the least appearance of an intention in (the Bible) to give philosophically exact views of nature." Noting the progressive development evident in the fossil record, he asserts that the notion that the Creator "interfere personally and specially on every occasion when a new shell-fish or reptile was to be ushered into existence" was "too ridiculous to be for a moment entertained."

He suggests, "What is to hinder our supposing that the organic creation is also a result of natural laws, which are in like manner an expression of his will?" He argues that "I take existing natural means, and shew them to have been capable of producing all the existing organisms, with the simple and easily conceivable aid of a higher generative law, which we perhaps still see operating upon a limited scale."

He is not dogmatic, stating, "I do not indeed present these ideas as furnishing the true explanation of the progress of organic creation; they are merely thrown out as hints..."

This is an important work for anyone interested in Natural Theology, or the history of evolutionary thought.
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