Siri's Reviews > The Origin of Species

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
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Aug 12, 2011

It is almost touching to read this book, holding such an important historical document in your hands – a book that has had such a profound impact on how we as humans would come to see our place in the world. It is important to note that Charles Darwin was far from the first that had begun to doubt the claims by the Church: that Earth was only a few thousand years old, and that everything had been created in the current state observed. Indeed, the reason why Darwin finally decided to publish On the Origin of Species when he did, was because another man – Alfred Russel Wallace – published a paper sketching out similar ideas to those of Darwin. However, what was extraordinary about Darwin’s theory was that he brought together evidence from such varied fields as botany, zoology, geology and palaeontology to argue that the Earth was far older than a few thousand years old – perhaps millions of years old – and in this time animals and plants had gone through many changes – evolved – adapting to the changes in environment and to new habitats along the way, and that only those best adapted would survive and have offspring. Darwin didn’t get everything right: he couldn’t fathom that dogs have evolved from wolves, and he was reluctant to accept continental drift, but he argues very well for his theory of Natural Selection, and to this day, no other theory comes close to explain so well how life as we see it has arrived at its current state. Darwin was the first to truly grasp that we as humans are not created apart from the animals, set to above them in an elevated state to be their masters; we are ourselves very much part of nature, related – however distantly – to all life surrounding us, depending on its welfare for our own existence: “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 lass or gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
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