Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On The Origin of Species Turns 150 Today

Few works have had the cultural (indeed, the ontological) impact of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. The book was published on November 24, 1859 - 150 years ago today. The book revolutionized life sciences and help drive a wedge into the already-widening rift between science and theology.  Pretty impressive accomplishments for a book that primarily focuses on finches.

At the time of its publication, the book generated little controversy; in fact, Darwin sent a copy to the Rev. Charles Kingsley, who was the head of the Church of England at the time. Kingsley response? It's not what our conception of Darwin and religion would lead us to expect; Kingsley replied:  "It's just as noble a conception of God to think that he created animals and plants that then evolved, that were capable of self-development, as it is to think that God has to constantly create new forms and fill in the gaps that he's left in his own creation." Darwin included Kingsley's comment in future editions of On the Origins of Species.

You can read the full text of On the Origin of Species here.

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