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While recognized as one of the most influential individuals of the twentieth century, little is widely known about his personal life, interests, and motivations. This book explores Darwin's driving passion using Darwin's ...
While recognized as one of the most influential individuals of the twentieth century, little is widely known about his personal life, interests, and motivations. This book explores Darwin's driving passion using Darwin's own words from The Origin of Species, Autobiography, Voyage of the Beagle and letters.
In retracing the roots of evolution from the Greeks, Darwin, Then and Now journeys through the dynamics of the eighteenth century that lead to the publication of The Origin of Species and the succeeding role of key players in the emerging evolution revolution.
Darwin, Then and Now examines Darwin's theory with more than three-hundred quotations from The Origin of Species, spotlighting what Darwin said concerning the origin of species and natural selection using the American Museum of Natural History Darwin exhibit format.
With over one-thousand referenced quotations from scientists and historians, Darwin, Then and Now explores the scientific evidence over the past 150 years from the fossil record, molecular biology, embryology, and modern genetics. Join the blog at www.DarwinThenAndNow.com to post your comments and questions.
Posted January 9, 2010
Richard Nelson added a link to his website blog to the product description of this book. Although I have not read the book, the material on display at his website makes clear that he is just another lying creationist whose premise is that biological science is "laced with fraud".
For example, I was struck by the dishonesty of his attempt to link Darwin's seminal work with Ernst Haeckel's controversial vertebrate embryo drawings. His argument goes as follows. 1) Darwin felt at the time that he published Origin of Species that embryology provided some of the best evidence for evolution. 2) A few of Haeckel's drawings exaggerated the similarities among various vertebrate embryos. 3) Therefore, the science of evolutionary biology initiated by Darwin hinges on a handful of fraudulent drawings and must also be fraudulent. Although he is careful not to specifically state this linkage, Nelson's presentation is carefully crafted so as to lead the reader to conclude that a particular timeline exists, which actually does not.
In his effort to establish a connection between Haeckel's drawings and Darwin's thinking, Nelson first makes much of Darwin's writing on the importance of embryology in 1859 when he published Origin of Species. Next, he provides the following quotation from Origin of Species: "Professor Haeckel in his "Generelle Morphologie" and in [other] works has recently brought his great knowledge and abilities to bear on what he calls phylogeny, or the lines of descent of all organic beings. In drawing up the several series he trusts chiefly to embryological characters [to establish evolutionary sequences]."
Several facts need to be brought out here. First, when Darwin published the first edition of Origin of Species in 1859, Haeckel was a 25-year old student who had not yet published any work. There is no mention of Haeckel in this book until the 5th edition published in 1869, where Darwin made the quoted reference to Haeckel's 1866 book "Generelle Morphologie". Second, "Generelle Morphologie", for which Nelson kindly provides a link to an online version of the book, includes 30 drawings of invertebrate forms, but no vertebrates. The drawings of vertebrate embryos in question were first published in Haeckel's 1868 book, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, nine years after the first edition of Origin of Species. Of this latter work, Darwin noted in the introduction to his 1871 book, The Descent of Man, that if Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte "had appeared before my essay had been written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I have arrived I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine." This statement indicates that Darwin was not influenced by Haeckel's vertebrate embryo drawings at least up to the point at which he had completed his third book.
In fact, it was Haeckel who was highly influenced by Darwin, not the other way around. All of this information is freely available and easy to find. If nothing else, the well-established chronology should have made Nelson think twice before trying to rewrite history.
This is just one of many false associations and inappropriate conclusions that Nelson draws from his deceptive use of quote mining. He is as dishonest as they come.
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Posted October 14, 2009
Whether you are an evolution believer or not, this book will make you think! Darwin is a fascinating historical character and we as still discussing his work, his concepts and ideas 100 years later. This book gives you an appreciation of the complexity of the "science" of biology.
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The review by David Levin is not a book review - he has never read the book. The review he wrote is about one of my blogs that was on Haeckel's embryos (see -
http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/2009/11/haeckel%e2%80%99s-embryos/not a review of the book "Darwin Then and Now."
Levin problem surrounds the issue of whether Haeckel influenced Darwin or whether it was Darwin that influenced Haeckel - primarily. Levin infers that the blog claims Haeckel influenced Darwin and Levin claims it was the other way around-Darwin influenced Haeckel. Actually, the blog does not even address this issue.
For the assertion that Haeckel infleunced Darwin, Levin claims that I am dishonest. Let the readers decide.
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Posted January 15, 2010
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