Shaking the Foundation: Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Overview

English naturalist Charles Darwin wrote this in 1860, a year after publishing his theory of evolution. His words show the personal struggle of a man forced by his own observations to answer the fundamental question-Where Do We Come From?-in a revolutionary new way.

Darwin's internal battle reflects a broader public struggle-the attempt to reconcile scientific fact with religious faith. Shaking the Foundation: Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution follows this battle, from ...

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Overview

English naturalist Charles Darwin wrote this in 1860, a year after publishing his theory of evolution. His words show the personal struggle of a man forced by his own observations to answer the fundamental question-Where Do We Come From?-in a revolutionary new way.

Darwin's internal battle reflects a broader public struggle-the attempt to reconcile scientific fact with religious faith. Shaking the Foundation: Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution follows this battle, from the supporting theories of fellow scientists, to the opposing voices of clergymen, to twenty-first-century supporters of Intelligent Design. Through quotations from letters and other contemporary sources, you'll meet the personalities and ideas involved in the debate. You'll also examine some of the legal cases that brought evolution into the U.S. courtroom. These cases include the famous Scopes trial in 1925 and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case in 2005, which tested a school policy requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design. Through these and other debates, you'll learn more about the struggle over one of life's most profound questions.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of the Species in 1859, he set off a controversy between science and religion that is still prevalent today. This small but informative book presents information that will make the issue clearer for young readers. With photos, diagrams, and sidebars about other involved people, the text begins with Darwin's training for the ministry, his voyage on the Beagle, and the publication of his theory. Results which followed such as the Scopes Trial in 1925, the rise of Social Darwinism, and current reactions to the theory of evolution comprise the concluding chapters. This book allows the reader to see Darwin as the son, the colleague, and the family man, as he struggles with the development of his ideas. Readers may be surprised to learn that Darwin's book did not actually discuss human origins. However, his readers seemed convinced that he was implying that humans descended from apes and that idea became the main focus of the controversy which continues today. Suggested activities, a glossary, and a bibliography provide the basis for further research into this fascinating subject. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
VOYA - Susan Redman-Parodi
Author Sylvia Johnson brings her experience as an award-winning writer and editor of nonfiction science and history titles for young people to her biographical account of Charles Darwin. In a perfectly outlined text complete with historical facts, pictures, and informative sidebars, Darwin's theory from its conception to its promotion are explored. The book begins with a brief discussion on the Industrial Revolution and leads into an overview of the social conditions of Great Britain and the struggle to gain independence from the crown. It discusses the struggles between science and theology—how radical scientists were exploring and unearthing the earth's layers and discovering fossils and animal remains that would oppose the Book of Genesis upheld for centuries by the church. This is all backdrop to providing an understanding of the social disagreement scientists and free-thinkers had to face with the awakening of discoveries that lent support to evolution. These discoveries were confrontational and largely refuted by those associated with the church; however, despite this controversy, the new information fueled the passion of lead scientists and naturalists, such as Darwin, to forge new paths in science. Johnson pens a richly informational text for readers to learn the concepts and history surrounding such discoveries. Readers will be left with a broad understanding of the theory of evolution, or as Darwin described it, a "descent with modification" as his life, social, and scientific approach are examined to better convey the concepts and engage the reader. This is a must-have in any library collection as its educational value cannot be denied. It is sure to provide an evolution in one's own thinking regarding science and history, as well as encourage an appreciation and understanding for progressive thinkers such as Charles Darwin. Reviewer: Susan Redman-Parodi
Kirkus Reviews
A concise, informative overview of how Darwin's theories of natural selection and evolution shook the foundations of religious beliefs and long-held scientific views. Making excellent use of primary sources throughout, Johnson devotes the first half of her book to discussing the intellectual, philosophical and societal changes brought by the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution that would make people receptive to Darwin's ideas. She notes the development of Georges Cuvier's catastrophist view of Earth history, Lamarck's theory of transmutation, Lyell's Principles of Geology and Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population as influences on Darwin's thinking and research. The second half chronicles how Darwin formulated his theories from the voluminous notes recorded during the voyage aboard the HMS Beagle and how the publications of On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man ignited fierce ongoing controversy. Johnson discusses the role of Thomas Henry Huxley as Darwin's principal defender and William Paley's alternative theory of natural theology, a precursor to intelligent design. Biographical information is included throughout in the text and sidebars, but the focus is on the development and influence of Darwin's theories and their regrettable misappropriations to social Darwinism and eugenics. A finely crafted introduction to Darwin's theories and the controversies they spawned. (photographs, maps, glossary, source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761354864
  • Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books (CT)
  • Publication date: 3/28/2013
  • Pages: 88
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvia A. Johnson has a long career as an award-winning writer and editor of nonfiction science and history titles for young people. Her recent books include Crows (2005), Cobras (2007), and The Spanish Conquest of Mexico (2009) for for Twenty-First Century Books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 4

Chapter 1 Enter Charles Darwin 13

Chapter 2 Building a Theory 23

Chapter 3 On the Origin of Species 33

Chapter 4 The Controversy Begins 41

Chapter 5 Witnesses for the Opposition 47

Chapter 6 The Decline of Darwinism 55

Chapter 7 Darwinism and Society 61

Chapter 8 Evolution Under Fire 67

Conclusion 76

Activity: Constructing a Point of New 78

Glossary 79

Source Notes 81

Selected Bibliography 84

Suggested Reading 86

Index 87

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