This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species

This Day in World History
November 24, 1859
Darwin Publishes On the Origin of Species

On the day it was published, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species sold out—eager readers bought every single copy. This alone is not remarkable: the print run was a mere 1,250 copies. But in presenting to the world his theory of evolution by natural selection, Darwin’s tome made history.

Darwin had developed his theory over years of thought about the data and specimens he had collected during the five-year voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, a scientific expedition on which he served as the ship’s naturalist. Reading the work of Thomas Malthus on the stresses placed on populations by a limited food supply had helped spur Darwin’s thinking. Competition for resources, he realized, put stress on populations of plants and animals. The fittest individuals—those best suited to win that competition—would survive and then pass on their adaptive characteristics to the next generation. Here, he concluded, was how species evolved.

The book was not Darwin’s first presentation of these ideas. Darwin had presented his ideas to a meeting of scientists alongside Alfred Russel Wallace, who had somewhat similar ideas, in July of 1858. The November publication of his book was his full working out of his theory, however. By asserting that Earth was ancient, Darwin joined a scientific view gaining currency but still not widely held. By denying that distinct species were created by God, he directly challenged religious orthodoxy.

Read more

TAGGED: BOOKS, DARWIN


RELATED CONTENT

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 25 - 26...

- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August

The Darwin-Wallace mystery solved

- - PhysOrg.com 20 Comments


The Darwin-Wallace mystery solved

Happy Darwin Day!

Jerry Coyne - Why Evolution Is True 19 Comments


Happy Darwin Day!

Darwin’s Papers Show the Evolution of...

Jennifer Schuessler - The New York... 3 Comments


Darwin’s Papers Show the Evolution of His Ideas

A Proclamation - Darwin Week

Mayor, City of Kamloops BC - Kamloops... 29 Comments

In praise of Richard Dawkins

Carlo Fonseka - The Island (Sri Lanka) 22 Comments

MORE

MORE BY -

Viewpoints: Why is faith falling in the...

- - BBC News Comments

A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.

Missionaries of Hate

- - Top Documentary Films Comments

Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.

Scientists Discover Previously Unknown...

- - URMC Comments

Newer Imaging Technique Brings ‘Glymphatic System’ to Light

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The...

- - human rights first Comments

Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”

Atheists On Religion, Science, And...

- - YouTube - townsquare Comments

Cara Santa Maria (Senior Science Correspondent, Huffingtonpost.com) leads this week's panel on 'The Point' to discuss these issues and more with Michael Shermer (Publisher - Skeptic Magazine), Sean Carroll (Theoretical Physicist - Caltech), and Edward Falzon (author of 'Being Gay Is Disgusting').

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 25 - 26...

- - Ancestors Trail Walk Comments

WALK DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE ~ 26 AUGUST 2012 - event begins on Saturday 25 August

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment