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Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Truly something to be thankful for!

Thu, 24 Nov 2011 23:35:54 UTC | #892925

Andres Heredia's Avatar Comment 2 by Andres Heredia

hey maybe you'd like to add the ability to "like" or "dislike" comments on this website, that would be nice. And yes something to be extremely thankful for indeed!

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 00:10:32 UTC | #892931

MarkMyers's Avatar Comment 3 by MarkMyers

hey maybe you'd like to add the ability to "like" or "dislike" comments on this website, that would be nice. And yes something to be extremely thankful for indeed!

Like!

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 02:00:09 UTC | #892944

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 4 by rjohn19

I hope that wasn't the photo used on the book jacket because he looks a little rough for 50.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 02:03:51 UTC | #892945

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

@ rjohn 19

No, that photo is one taken towards the end of Darwin's life.

Of course you could be being factitious as there was no jacket photo, not even a jacket painting.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 02:52:50 UTC | #892950

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 6 by Alan4discussion

Comment 5 by Neodarwinian

@ rjohn 19

No, that photo is one taken towards the end of Darwin's life.

Of course you could be being factitious as there was no jacket photo, not even a jacket painting.

You could always use some of these pictures in acquiring a copy!

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 11:25:30 UTC | #892994

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer

How did word of his book get out so quickly that the entire print run was sold on the first day ?

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 11:49:17 UTC | #893000

Jay G's Avatar Comment 8 by Jay G

It's my understanding that if Wallace had not written Darwin about his own development of a theory of evolution of species, then Darwin would STILL be working on his book.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 14:40:29 UTC | #893032

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 9 by rjohn19

Neodarwinian- And the world continues to turn deaf ears to my pleas for a sarcasm font.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 15:21:21 UTC | #893039

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 10 by DavidMcC

Comment 8 by Jay G :

It's my understanding that if Wallace had not written Darwin about his own development of a theory of evolution of species, then Darwin would STILL be working on his book.

It's my impression too! :)

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 15:52:06 UTC | #893046

keith54's Avatar Comment 11 by keith54

How did word of his book get out so quickly that the entire print run was sold on the first day ?

The 1250 copes were bought by the bookselling trade not individuals, I believe.

OTOOSBMONS is still a good read - jargon free apart from the Latin names of species (some of which have since changed). A better foundational book than any of Dawkins' books imo, and better written - no going down side alleys.

Even so, I have a sneaking admiration for Wallace who put his health on the line for the cause of science. A sort of Alec Leamas to Darwin's George Smiley

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 16:33:43 UTC | #893060

Rasmus_Holm's Avatar Comment 12 by Rasmus_Holm

If we ever decide to come up with a new timeline 1859 should be year 1. The year the lights were turned on.

We are forever indebted to Charles Darwin for this book.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 17:03:17 UTC | #893068

JuJu's Avatar Comment 13 by JuJu

Comment 7 by rod-the-farmer

How did word of his book get out so quickly that the entire print run was sold on the first day ?

Pigeons, of course.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 17:08:58 UTC | #893070

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 14 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 11 by keith54

A better foundational book than any of Dawkins' books imo, and better written - no going down side alleys.

OTOOSBMONS can't be compared to Richard Dawkins writing's on the subject, nor should they be, as 150 years down the line, the subject is vastly more complex and the supporting evidence, science and allied body of knowledge has increased over and over exponentially. I take it you have read Richard Dawkins books on Evolution since you make the comparison? They really do stand alone on their own merits.

Even so, I have a sneaking admiration for Wallace who put his health on the line for the cause of science.

Most here have great admiration for Wallace and it isn't even a sneaking admiration at that, but he never put his health on the line for the cause of science, at least no more than any of his peers and particularly Charles Darwin.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 17:18:23 UTC | #893074

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 15 by Stafford Gordon

Oh wow!What a man.

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 20:48:26 UTC | #893104

keith54's Avatar Comment 16 by keith54

Aha IgnorantAmos we meet again! and you haven't changed a bit (in personality that is). Still spoiling for an argument even though it may not exist.

sneaking admiration

that's British understatement: Alec Leamas was the (albeit tragic) hero of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold". It actually means a lot of admiration.

Darwin vs Dawkins

Note the word "foundational" and imo - it's only my opinion. I found rather too much name dropping in The Blind Watchmaker and how many ordinary people would know what is meant by eukaryotic? Darwin sticks to the evidence and the theory. I always read books linearly and towards the end I was thinking "Why is it called Darwin's Theory of Evolution?" he's never used the word. I didn't realise he was saving the word right to the end - a brilliant piece of writing.

150 years down the line, the subject is vastly more complex

Well that's a truism that goes without saying. My recommendation would be to read Darwin first then read something much more recent. Dawkins writes for a wide audience but I'm sure there are other good writers on the subject.

Wallace never put his health on the line

Well, of course, any 19th century journey by ship around S America was fraught with danger, and the Beagle was no exception. So I wouldn't say that Darwin lacked courage, though I would think some thanks is due the much maligned Captain Fitzroy. Wallace spent a significant time in the jungles of the Amazon and (what was then called) the East Indies. I don't think inoculations were as well developed and effective as they are now. Wallace's younger brother died of Yellow Fever 2 years after spending some time with Alfred in the Amazon forest. Wallace lived to 93; Darwin did not embark on any other distant travels after the Beagle afaik.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 08:47:48 UTC | #893232

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 16 by keith54

Aha IgnorantAmos we meet again! and you haven't changed a bit (in personality that is). Still spoiling for an argument even though it may not exist.

Good day to you too Sir.

No argument just observations in your comment that seemed a bit off base to me, but feel free to adjust if necessary.

that's British understatement: Alec Leamas was the (albeit tragic) hero of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold". It actually means a lot of admiration.

So your comment was tongue-in-cheek for the British audience? Shame a lot of the members are not British though.

Note the word "foundational" and imo - it's only my opinion.

But the phrase "A better foundational book than any of Dawkins' books imo, and better written - no going down side alleys." is wrong then, how can any book be better or worse than the fundamental original it is not trying to improve on?

I found rather too much name dropping in The Blind Watchmaker and how many ordinary people would know what is meant by eukaryotic?

"Name dropping" or referencing? Apart from common courtesy, if you don't give credit where it's due, then you can be accused of plagiarism.

Eukaryotic? They are not books for the mentally challenged, I'm assuming anyone lifting a book to read has at least the limited ability to find out the meaning of a word or phrase. Quite a comment to make about "ordinary people" all the same, coming from a man who holds the bible in such high esteem....a book that scholars still can't agree on the meaning of certain words and phrases. I'm into Ecclesiastes at the minute. You should read it again. Most scholars agree that it shouldn't be in the Bible, I can understand why, insofar as the Bible goes, it's right up my street. Eat, drink and be merry because this life is all ya have so enjoy it and get on with it, no point in worrying, once yer dead, that's it. One would nearly think the author, who ever it was, could be Atheist.

My point is, the word "vanity" is mentioned a lot, 37 times and is key to the book, but the Hebrew word for "vanity", "hebhel" can also be translated as "emptiness", "absurdity", "uselessness", "a mist that evaporates" and indeed, in some bibles "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." is written as "Futility of futilities, all is futile.", "Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless." and "Merest breath, said Qoheleth, merest breath. All is mere breath."...so what is the message? Because the message is different depending which definition one uses. You'll be happy to know the book of Ecclesiastes is another forgery, another reason I think it's great. You did know it's a forgery right?

But to get back to your point, how many books do you pick up and read, that you know the meaning of all the words? This is all a lot floccinaucinihilipilification, how many "ordinary people" in 1859 could pick up and read, never mind comprehend the Origin?

BTW, do ya know what Pocherethhazzebaim means?

Darwin sticks to the evidence and the theory.

What else would he do? Doesn't Dawkins? So he uses analogy to better explain to simpler folk how processes work, isn't that a good thing?

I always read books linearly and towards the end I was thinking "Why is it called Darwin's Theory of Evolution?" he's never used the word.

Because Darwin was not that conceited, it was one of a number of hypotheses at the time on how life evolved....the fact that Darwin had proved it as a theory by the scientific method over the previous 20 years was neither here nor there, it is ones peers that need convincing. But that's the problem in a nutshell, understanding what the word theory means in science, rather telling I might add. Darwin's Theory was of "Evolution by means of natural selection"

"Evolutionary thought, the conception that species change over time, has roots in antiquity, in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as well as in medieval Islamic science."

I didn't realise he was saving the word right to the end - a brilliant piece of writing.

Yes, "evolved" very poignant in my opinion and you won't find too many here disagreeing with you that it is a brilliant piece of writing.....up there with the greatest ever.

"No other book has so transformed how we look at the natural world and mankind's origins."

Well that's a truism that goes without saying.

If you agree, then surely you have to admit that any subsequent book would have to go down side alleys, how could a modern writer leave out discoveries that Darwin was not privy to such as DNA? Do you think if Darwin was writing his epic tome with today's knowledge he would leave DNA out?

My recommendation would be to read Darwin first then read something much more recent.

Well most people interested in the subject will do just that anyway, it's not necessary mind.

Dawkins writes for a wide audience but I'm sure there are other good writers on the subject.

There certainly is, lots of them. Is anyone saying otherwise?

Well, of course, any 19th century journey by ship around S America was fraught with danger, and the Beagle was no exception. So I wouldn't say that Darwin lacked courage, though I would think some thanks is due the much maligned Captain Fitzroy. Wallace spent a significant time in the jungles of the Amazon and (what was then called) the East Indies. I don't think inoculations were as well developed and effective as they are now. Wallace's younger brother died of Yellow Fever 2 years after spending some time with Alfred in the Amazon forest. Wallace lived to 93; Darwin did not embark on any other distant travels after the Beagle afaik.

Yes, yes, we know all this....you are aware that Wallace's ventures overseas were also financially driven? Darwin's, on the other hand, were not...so who risked their life more for science?

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 12:48:21 UTC | #893274

keith54's Avatar Comment 18 by keith54

Well I wouldn't equate understatement with tongue-in-cheek but that maybe two peoples separated by a common language.

Yes I admit that comparing Darwin and Dawkins is not really like with like. Same named subject but the science has moved on so they are bound to write different types of book. Darwin's book is a remarkable achievement (as I know you acknowledge) since it introduced such a profound idea in such commonplace language. I have to confess that I also prefer Victorian novels to modern novels but that's just my taste.

Vanity

Good to hear you're reading the Bible ;>) but not the point of this thread as you said.

how many "ordinary people" in 1859 could pick up and read, never mind comprehend the Origin?

I'm not convinced about this. Admittedly, literacy was not as widespread as now, but many who could afford to buy and read books, did so, without our modern distractions. It was a time that science and technology was making great strides and people wanted to keep up with the developments. Origin is a Victorian (not modern) science text.

Wallace's ventures overseas were also financially driven. Darwin's, on the other hand, were not.

Hmm - slightly unfair on Wallace, since though not dirt poor, he did not enjoy the private means that Darwin did. Collecting species was necessary to finance his (Wallace's) scientific work.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 17:42:54 UTC | #893353

keith54's Avatar Comment 19 by keith54

Oh and BTW IA "The Spy Who came in from the Cold" is an excellent book and film. Intricately plotted, a very strong cast and beautifully downbeat with no special effects. Recommended.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 18:01:33 UTC | #893358

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 20 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 18 by keith54

I have to confess that I also prefer Victorian novels to modern novels but that's just my taste.

Well there ya go then, predisposed bias to begin with....}80p

Good to hear you're reading the Bible ;>) but not the point of this thread as you said.

I read the bible almost daily keith54, if for nothing else but to get a tickle...but it pays to keep ahead on these things, know yer enemy so to speak, or at least the silly books.

I'm not convinced about this. Admittedly, literacy was not as widespread as now, but many who could afford to buy and read books, did so, without our modern distractions. It was a time that science and technology was making great strides and people wanted to keep up with the developments. Origin is a Victorian (not modern) science text.

That would depend on what you class as "ordinary people".....Editions 1-5 were 15 shillings, not many able to afford that kind of money. The 6th Edition, "The Origin of Species", the one that used the word "evolution" incidentally, was dropped to 7s 6d because Darwin wanted it to be available to more "ordinary people" after hearing that workmen had clubbed together to by buy a 5th Edition at 15s, but that was 3 years after first print.....in any case, what does it matter when we both agree it was an outstanding book?

Wallace's ventures overseas were also financially driven. Darwin's, on the other hand, were not.

Hmm - slightly unfair on Wallace, since though not dirt poor, he did not enjoy the private means that Darwin did. Collecting species was necessary to finance his (Wallace's) scientific work.

As I said, I have the utmost respect for Wallace and his contribution. It was you who made the distinction first, I was merely making the observation that he risked his health no more or less than lot's of scientists and adventurers of those times, that was all.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 18:17:35 UTC | #893366

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 21 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 19 by keith54

Oh and BTW IA "The Spy Who came in from the Cold" is an excellent book and film. Intricately plotted, a very strong cast and beautifully downbeat with no special effects. Recommended.

I know mate, I live in Northern Ireland not outer Mongolia LOL .....John le Carré. Burton in the leading role.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 18:22:09 UTC | #893367

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 22 by DavidMcC

Comment 16 by keith54

Well that's a truism that goes without saying.

It may well "go without saying", but that doesn't make it a truism (at least not a true truism, which is logically impossible not to be true).

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 10:12:07 UTC | #893807

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 23 by Premiseless

What a find this was!

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:18:34 UTC | #909091