Henry Fairfield Osborn: Race and the Search for the Origins of Man / Edition 1

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2002 Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket 0754605876. Slightly crimped/rounded corners, otherwise text clean and tight; 9.21 X 6.22 X 0.94 inches; 219 pages.

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Overview

"The discovery in the 1920s of a huge cache of fossils in the Gobi Desert fuelled a mania for dinosaurs that continues to the present. But the original goal of the expedition was to search for the origins of man. Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935), director of the American Museum of Natural history, stood at the forefront of the debate over human evolution and the expedition aimed to prove his theory of human origins. Osborn rejected the idea of primate ancestry and constructed a non-Darwinian theory that the evolution of man was the long adventurous story of individuals and groups exerting personal will-power and inborn characteristics to achieve both biological and spiritual success. It is an idea that still echoes today." "Study of Osborn's thinking, however, has been obscured by the perception that racism influenced his theories. Brian Regal paints a different and more textured picture in this book - he shows that Osborn's views on race, like his political ideas, were motivated by his science, itself grounded in religious doctrine. His belief in the Central Asian origins of man, his role as an activist for eugenic reform and immigration controls, his support for Nordicism, his place in the 'New' versus 'Old' biology debate, his role in the Christian Fundamentalist controversy, the Scopes Monkey trial, and finally his construction of the 'Dawn Man' hypothesis - all stemmed from his desire to support his human evolution theory, and point the way to salvation." This biography charts Osborn's intellectual development, from its roots in the eclectic Christianity of his mother, through his student days with Arnold Guyot, James McCosh, and T.H. Huxley, to his mature work at the American Museum. It examines his trials and tribulations, friendships and conflicts, and the world in which he lived: all contributed to the construction of his theory. It is the dramatic story of a man holding onto ideas that for him represented the very meaning of life itself.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This biography traces Osborn's (1857-1935) intellectual development, from his Christian upbringing, to his classical education, to his work as the director of American Museum of Natural History. Focusing on the relationship between his religious, political, and scientific views, the book considers the influences and implications of his non- Darwinian "Dawn Man" theory of evolution. Regal teaches history at TCI College of Technology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754605874
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Series: Ashgate Science and Religion Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; The era of rash guesses; The helmet of our salvation; The romantic empiricist; The Central Asia hypothesis; A mongrelized world; Go and find them; Terrible monkeys; Conclusion; Bibliography.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    With all the conflict today over evolution and religion, it is instructive to know that the lines were never fixed between the groups. In the early 20th century, no less than the most well known scientist in America, blurred those lines. Henry Fairfield Osborn supported the notion that teaching school children about evolution was important to the country's survival. This might not sound unusual, but for the fact that Osborn was no left-wing, liberal, but an arch conservative and devout Christian. Regal's deeply detailed study of Osborn's life and human evolution theory makes a mockery of those who would argue anti-evolutionists are all fundamentalists and pro-evolutionists are all liberals. Written in an engaging style that is consuming and hard to put down!

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