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On the Origin of Species


Have you read On The Origin of Species?  

2 members have voted

  1. 1. Have you read On The Origin of Species?

    • Yes, and I enjoyed it/found it useful.
      12
    • Yes, and I disliked it.
      4
    • No, but I intend to.
      23
    • No, and I probably never will.
      7


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In brief: who's read it?

 

I was in a bookstore yesterday with an old friend and we couldn't find a copy of it in the science section. Perhaps understandable given that the books there were purely pop science. He asked me if I'd read it, as I do have an interest in biology.

 

I've not read it but in a way, I feel it's required reading for people in many fields. Not as a piece of dogma or gospel, but simply as historical perspective (much like Pauling's The Nature of the Chemical Bond).

 

Wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this, and particular whether any biologists who've read it think it's worth doing so.

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If I didn't "enjoy" it does that mean that I disliked it?

Not necessarily, hence adding 'found it useful' to the poll. I don't necessarily read scientific texts with a huge grin on my face, but it's possible to find it useful, informative, or generally 'good' without being 'enjoyable'.

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I've read it, and actually found it pretty fascinating. Obviously it's not to be read as a textbook (it's extremely out of date, obviously), but it's very interesting from a historical perspective, and it lays out the thought process really well for why evolution is not only happening, but why it's inevitable in any similar system.

 

Also, it's a suprisingly easy and even entertaining read, so it's not like it's a major commitment.

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Read it during a road trip when I was 17 traveling between New York and Florida and back. It gave me a solid foundation for understanding the concept, and I enjoyed it very much. It was like getting a window into Darwins mind.

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Oh, right.

 

As a piece of historical "documentary" literature, I suppose it's rather interesting and it does capture the imagination better than something like Gray's Anatomy.

 

But I have a habit of looking at scientific texts primarily for their up-to-date knowledge of the workings of the Universe, before their cultural importance, which showed in my first post.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
If you've got a better way of phrasing it, feel free to share. I'm simply curious as to how many people have read it and what they thought.

How about something like this?

 

Yes: I read it and it got me interested in the subject.

Yes: I read it but don't have an opinion.

Yes: I read it and thought it was a bit dull/silly.

No: I've not read it... Yet.

No: It's not something that I really care about.

No: I don't want to go to hell.

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Wondered if anyone has any thoughts on this, and particular whether any biologists who've read it think it's worth doing so.

 

Does a biochemist count? I've read it and found it very worth doing. What people don't realize is that there is a lot of data in Origin. More importantly, many of Darwin's ideas have become distorted in the popular mind. IMO, Darwin' summary of natural selection is a must read for everyone, since it dispels many of the misconceptions out there about what natural selection is. Another must read is the diagram (yes, there's only one). It illustrates perfectly that higher taxa are simply multiple speciation events spread thru time. So, if you have speciation, then you have all of evolution.

 

The style, of course, is difficult. Darwin was a clear writer, for his time. Times change and we now find much of the writing horribly stilted. But it's still worth the time reading Origin. If you ever discuss evolution with creationists, it's mandatory. All creationist arguments are simply recycled ones, and Origin provides refutation to all of them.

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I don't think I'd read it. I'm already familiar with evolution and the Origin is outdated,

 

Most of Origin is not outdated. The basic 5 theories that Darwin proposes in Origin are still valid today. And data does not get outdated. I think you, in particular, would benefit from the definition of natural selection at the end of Chapter IV.

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  • 3 months later...
Can some one tell me , where i can read or download the original copy of this book................. i am not getting the original copy of it ....

 

plz...........help............!!!

 

http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=side&itemID=F391&pageseq=1

http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species/index.html

http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=39460&pageno=6

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  • 1 month later...

I read through it some time ago and, as others have stated, found it interesting in a historical context. It's a great primer for university students in the sciences because I think it follows a natural and logical procession. Whatever we can do to enhance our logic and reasoning skills is worthy of attention. Plus, it's just a great example of primary science - thinking for yourself, and thinking outside of the box. Today, in my opinion, we need to spend so much time doing research that we neglect coming up with new ideas. It's like the science fair thing - remember when student ideas were original, primary works, before there was so much information to absorb about our environment? Now, I see a lot of kids churning out research projects at science fairs - ie, "How DNA is Structured", or "How Lasers Work!" kind of things. Of course, that's all a function of our educational system, too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The book in question is one I don't particularly like. It is quite useful, however. Every evolutionologist should make an effort to wade through the double talk and see just how the process of self-delusion works. ...Or at least how attempts to delude others are prone to be formulated.

 

"The only distinct meaning of the word 'natural' is STATED, FIXED or SETTLED; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once." Butler: "Analogy of Revealed Religion"

The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life mysteriously includes this quote at the very beginning. http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-origin-of-species-6th-edition/index.html

 

Best I can figure, Darwin just wanted folks to let down their guard when approaching his writing. Could also have been a concession to his cousinwife. To propose that he genuinely desired people to come to such a conclusion would be scoffworthy.

 

Interestingly, the inclusion of this statement renders the book "religious", and "unfit" for students in American public schools. (I'm confident selective vision could be employed to remedy the inconvenience.)

 

People need no longer be in doubt about the author's true intent (as if anyone could ever have entertained legitimate doubts in the first place...). History has come to the rescue.

 

Read his fatherly advice for yourself

...

 

Your affectionate Father | Ch Darwin

 

P.S. Oct 22d. Hen. has taken your M.S. to London, & will write.— I have lately read Morley's Life of Voltaire & he insists strongly that direct attacks on Christianity (even when written with the wonderful force & vigour of Voltaire) produce little permanent effect: real good seems only to follow from slow & silent side attacks.— I have been talking on this head with Litchfield, & he strongly concurs, & insists how easily a man may for ever destroy his own influence.

 

One wouldn't know it to read the work of revisionists, but Darwin's nonsense was largely rejected by the scientific community of the day. Samuel Wilburforce's review and rebuttal was the most extensive I've seen, but there were many more.

 

I have asked more than once for the names of contemporary men-of-science who abandoned creationism in favour of Darwinism on the basis of scientific evidence. To date, I have been provided with a grand total of zero. I have searched a little myself and found none. I would advise the readership not to waste too awful much time seeking such, for they do not appear to have existed outside of deceit or imagination.

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You call Darwin's work nonsense, and then have the audacity to call HIM deluded. Good stuff.
Thank you!

 

In all modesty, it's a fairly easy conclusion to reach for those who read his writings, and there's not a whole lot of actual audacity required. Would his fanclub sling mud here? One might hope not, but time will tell. Besides, mudslinging isn't as harmful as some folks think.

 

Much more audacious are these professors at OSU.

Warm-blooded birds need about 20 times more oxygen than cold-blooded reptiles, and have evolved a unique lung structure that allows for a high rate of gas exchange and high activity level. Their unusual thigh complex is what helps support the lung and prevent its collapse.

 

"This is fundamental to bird physiology," said Devon Quick, an OSU instructor of zoology who completed this work as part of her doctoral studies. "It's really strange that no one realized this before. The position of the thigh bone and muscles in birds is critical to their lung function, which in turn is what gives them enough lung capacity for flight."

 

However, every other animal that has walked on land, the scientists said, has a moveable thigh bone that is involved in their motion – including humans, elephants, dogs, lizards and – in the ancient past – dinosaurs.

 

The implication, the researchers said, is that birds almost certainly did not descend from theropod dinosaurs, such as tyrannosaurus or allosaurus. The findings add to a growing body of evidence in the past two decades that challenge some of the most widely-held beliefs about animal evolution.

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Thank you!

 

In all modesty, it's a fairly easy conclusion to reach for those who read his writings, and there's not a whole lot of actual audacity required. Would his fanclub sling mud here? One might hope not, but time will tell. Besides, mudslinging isn't as harmful as some folks think.

Interesting choice of words. Are you here to discuss the theory of evolution by natural selection, or here to pick a fight over it?

 

Much more audacious are these professors at OSU.

There is not the least bit of audacity required to offer evidence that challenges current theory. In fact, that's the whole point of science.

 

Something you should understand about that article - what's being challenged is the evolution from dinosaur to bird, not the theory of evolution as a whole. In fact, the theory of evolution by natural selection is required to explain their findings and conclusion.

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