The Origin Of Species

( 90 )

Overview

Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a pivotal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book's full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of ...
See more details below
This Paperback is Not Available through BN.com
The Origin of Species (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$3.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$3.99 List Price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a pivotal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book's full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of biology. Darwin's book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and added to through continuing investigations and experiments since his return.

The famous classic on evolution that revolutionized the course of science. Darwin's theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average age level of each species is heightened by the "survival of the fittest" stirred popular debate of his time to a fever pitch. "Next to the Bible, no work has been quite as influential."--Ashley Montagu.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Amazingly, 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, Darwin's seminal work on the theory of evolution remains the authoritative tract on the subject. Veteran narrator David Case (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) provides an authentic English accent that suits the material well; his diction is precise, making his narration easy to follow. Though this title has previously been recorded on audio, Tantor Media's addition of a full-text PDF ebook is a tremendous enhancement. Highly recommended for all collections.
—Gloria Maxwell

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781493683550
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 11/4/2013
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Darwin

David Case is the founder and current president of Live Free Ministries, a ministry dedicated to restoring kingdom power and authority to spiritual leadership. Since the early 1990s, David Case has held retreats for both pastors and lay persons, helping them break through bondages and pointing them toward fulfilling the call of God on their lives. Having pastored the same church for eighteen years, Pastor Case gives other pastors the tools they need to implement the lifegiver model into a whole-church setting. Case also co-hosts a radio program and ministers internationally. It is David Case's heart to blend "the supernatural of the spiritual realm" with a very solid application into the natural realm.

Richard Darwin Keynes is Emeritus Professor of Physiology at the University of Cambridge, and fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. In parallel with research and teaching on physiology and biophysics, he has a long-standing interest in the voyage of the Beagle, and has also edited The Beagle Record (1979) and Charles Darwin's Zoology Notes and Specimen Lists from the H. M. S. Beagle (2000).

Biography

Robert Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on February 12, 1809, into a wealthy and highly respected family. His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a doctor and the author of many works, including his well-known Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life, which suggested a theory of evolution. Charles's father, Robert Waring Darwin, was also a prosperous doctor; his mother, Susannah, was the daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the renowned Wedgwood potteries. The Darwins and the Wedgwoods had close and long-standing relations, and Charles was to marry his cousin, Emma Wedgwood.

In 1825 at age sixteen, Darwin matriculated at Edinburgh University to study medicine. There, his early interest in natural history developed, and he studied particularly crustaceans, sea creatures, and beetles. Nauseated by the sight of blood, however, he decided that medicine was not his vocation, left Edinburgh in 1827 and entered Christ's College, Cambridge University, with no clear sense of possible vocation, theology itself being an option. At Cambridge he became friends with J. S. Henslow, a clergyman who was also professor of botany. Although Darwin was to graduate from Cambridge with a B.A. in theology, he spent much time with Henslow, developing his interest in natural science. It was Henslow who secured a position for Darwin on an exploratory expedition aboard the HMS Beagle.

In December 1831, the year he graduated from Cambridge, Darwin embarked upon a five-year voyage to Africa and South America, acting as a companion to the captain, Robert Fitzroy. Darwin spent more time in land expeditions than at sea, where he was always seasick, but during the long voyages he continued his collecting and, cramped in his tiny cabin, meticulously wrote up his ideas. Several years after his return, at the time of the birth of his first son, William, Darwin fell ill. It is conjectured that while in South America he had contracted Chagas's disease, but whatever the cause, the effects were debilitating for the rest of Darwin's life.

By the time he returned to London in 1835, many of his letters, some to scientists like Charles Lyell and Adam Sedgwick, had been read before scientific societies, and he was already a well known and respected naturalist. His first published book, an account of his voyage aboard the Beagle, entitled Journal of Researches, appeared in 1839 and was widely popular. He married the same year; soon after, the family moved from London to a secluded house at Down, in Kent, where Darwin wrote initial sketches of his theory and then preparing himself for the full exposition, spent eight years writing a detailed set of definitive monographs on barnacles.

In 1858, when Darwin was halfway through writing his book, "Natural Selection," A. R. Wallace sent him a paper called, "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type." In language similar to Darwin's own, Wallace laid out the argument for natural selection. Wallace asked Darwin to help get the paper published -- obviously an alarming development for a man who had given twenty years of his life to getting the argument for natural selection right. Darwin's scientific friends advised him to gather materials giving evidence of his priority but to have the Wallace paper read before the Linnaean Society, along with a brief account of his own ideas. Immediately after the reading, Darwin began work on his "abstract" of "Natural Selection." The result was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, published in 1859. Despite the controversy it generated, it was an immense success and went through five more editions in Darwin's lifetime.

Darwin devoted the rest of his life to researching and writing scientific treatises, drawing on his notebooks and corresponding with scientists all over the world, and thus developing and modifying parts of his larger argument.

Darwin never traveled again and much of his scientific work was done in his own garden and study at home. Others, particularly his "bulldog," T. H. Huxley, fought the battle for evolution publicly, and as Darwin remained quietly ailing at home, his family grew -- he had ten children -- and so did his reputation. Although he was always ill with symptoms that made it impossible for him to work full days, he produced an enormous volume of work. His death, on April 19, 1882, was a national event. Despite the piety of his wife, Emma, Darwin had fallen away from religion as he reflected both on the way nature worked and on the way his favorite daughter, Annie, died painfully from an unknown feverish illness, when she was ten. Nevertheless, ironically, he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Origin of Species.

Good To Know

Darwin was born on the same day as U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.

He broke his longtime snuff habit by keeping his snuff box in the basement and the key to it in the attic.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 12, 1809
    2. Place of Birth:
      Shrewsbury, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 19, 1882
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Theology, Christ’s College, Cambridge University, 1831

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Variation Under Domestication


Causes of Variability—Effects of Habit—Correlation of Growth—Inheritance—Character of Domestic Varieties—Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species—Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species—Domestic Pigeons, their Differences and Origin—Principle of Selection anciently followed, its Effects—Methodical and Unconscious Selection—Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions—Circumstances favourable to Man's power of Selection


WHEN WE look to the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants and animals, one of the first points which strikes us, is, that they generally differ much more from each other, than do the individuals of any one species or variety in a state of nature. When we reflect on the vast diversity of the plants and animals which have been cultivated, and which have varied during all ages under the most different climates and treatment, I think we are driven to conclude that this greater variability is simply due to our domestic productions having been raised under conditions of life not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those to which the parent species have been exposed under nature. There is, also, I think, some probability in the view propounded by Andrew Knight, that this variability may be partly connected with excess of food. It seems pretty clear that organic beings must be exposed during several generations to the new conditions of life to cause any appreciable amount of variation; and that when the organisation has once begun to vary, it generallycontinues to vary for many generations. No case is on record of a variable being ceasing to be variable under cultivation. Our oldest cultivated plants, such as wheat, still often yield new varieties: our oldest domesticated animals are still capable of rapid improvement or modification.
It has been disputed at what period of life the causes of variability, whatever they may be, generally act; whether during the early or late period of development of the embryo, or at the instant of conception. Geoffroy St Hilaire's experiments show that unnatural treatment of the embryo causes monstrosities; and monstrosities cannot be separated by any clear line of distinction from mere variations. But I am strongly inclined to suspect that the most frequent cause of variability may be attributed to the male and female reproductive elements having been affected prior to the act of conception. Several reasons make me believe in this; but the chief one is the remarkable effect which confinement or cultivation has on the functions of the reproductive system; this system appearing to be far more susceptible than any other part of the organization, to the action of any change in the conditions of life. Nothing is more easy than to tame an animal, and few things more difficult than to get it to breed freely under confinement, even in the many cases when the male and female unite. How many animals there are which will not breed, though living long under not very close confinement in their native country! This is generally attributed to vitiated instincts; but how many cultivated plants display the utmost vigour, and yet rarely or never seed! In some few such cases it has been found out that very trifling changes, such as a little more or less water at some particular period of growth, will determine whether or not the plant sets a seed. I cannot here enter on the copious details which I have collected on this curious subject; but to show how singular the laws are which determine the reproduction of animals under confinement, I may just mention that carnivorous animals, even from the tropics, breed in this country pretty freely under confinement, with the exception of the plantigrades or bear family; whereas, carnivorous birds, with the rarest exceptions, hardly ever lay fertile eggs. Many exotic plants have pollen utterly worthless, in the same exact condition as in the most sterile hybrids. When, on the one hand, we see domesticated animals and plants, though often weak and sickly, yet breeding quite freely under confinement; and when, on the other hand, we see individuals, though taken young from a state of nature, perfectly tamed, long-lived, and healthy (of which I could give numerous instances), yet having their reproductive system so seriously affected by unperceived causes as to fail in acting, we need not be surprised at this system, when it does act under confinement, acting not quite regularly, and producing offspring not perfectly like their parents or variable.

Sterility has been said to be the bane of horticulture; but on this view we owe variability to the same cause which produces sterility; and variability is the source of all the choicest productions of the garden. I may add, that as some organisms will breed most freely under the most unnatural conditions (for instance, the rabbit and ferret kept in hutches), showing that their reproductive system has not been thus affected; so will some animals and plants withstand domestication or cultivation, and vary very slightly—perhaps hardly more than in a state of nature.

A long list could easily be given of 'sporting plants;' by this term gardeners mean a single bud or offset, which suddenly assumes a new and sometimes very different character from that of the rest of the plant. Such buds can be propagated by grafting, &c., and sometimes by seed. These 'sports' are extremely rare under nature, but far from rare under cultivation; and in this case we see that the treatment of the parent has affected a bud or offset, and not the ovules or pollen. But it is the opinion of most physiologists that there is no essential difference between a bud and an ovule in their earliest stages of formation; so that, in fact, 'sports' support my view, that variability may be largely attributed to the ovules or pollen, or to both, having been affected by the treatment of the parent prior to the act of conception. These cases anyhow show that variation is not necessarily connected, as some authors have supposed, with the act of generation.

Seedlings from the same fruit, and the young of the same litter, sometimes differ considerably from each other, though both the young and the parents, as Mxller has remarked, have apparently been exposed to exactly the same conditions of life; and this shows how unimportant the direct effects of the conditions of life are in comparison with the laws of reproduction, and of growth, and of inheritance; for had the action of the conditions been direct, if any of the young had varied, all would probably have varied in the same manner. To judge how much, in the case of any variation, we should attribute to the direct action of heat, moisture, light, food, &c., is most difficult: my impression is, that with animals such agencies have produced very little direct effect, though apparently more in the case of plants. Under this point of view, Mr Buckman's recent experiments on plants seem extremely valuable. When all or nearly all the individuals exposed to certain conditions are affected in the same way, the change at first appears to be directly due to such conditions; but in some cases it can be shown that quite opposite conditions produce similar changes of structure. Nevertheless some slight amount of change may, I think, be attributed to the direct action of the conditions of life—as, in some cases, increased size from amount of food, colour from particular kinds of food and from light, and perhaps the thickness of fur from climate.

Habit also has a deciding influence, as in the period of flowering with plants when transported from one climate to another. In animals it has a more marked effect; for instance, I find in the domestic duck that the bones of the wing weigh less and the bones of the leg more, in proportion to the whole skeleton, than do the same bones in the wild-duck; and I presume that this change may be safely attributed to the domestic duck flying much less, and walking more, than its wild parent. The great and inherited development of the udders in cows and goats in countries where they are habitually milked, in comparison with the state of these organs in other countries, is another instance of the effect of use. Not a single domestic animal can be named which has not in some country drooping ears; and the view suggested by some authors, that the drooping is due to the disuse of the muscles of the ear, from the animals not being much alarmed by danger, seems probable.

There are many laws regulating variation, some few of which can be dimly seen, and will be hereafter briefly mentioned. I will here only allude to what may be called correlation of growth. Any change in the embryo or larva will almost certainly entail changes in the mature animal. In monstrosities, the correlations between quite distinct parts are very curious; and many instances are given in Isidore Geoffroy St Hilaire's great work on this subject. Breeders believe that long limbs are almost always accompanied by an elongated head. Some instances of correlation are quite whimsical; thus cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf; colour and constitutional peculiarities go together, of which many remarkable cases could be given amongst animals and plants. From the facts collected by Heusinger, it appears that white sheep and pigs are differently affected from coloured individuals by certain vegetable poisons. Hairless dogs have imperfect teeth; long-haired and coarse-haired animals are apt to have, as is asserted, long or many horns; pigeons with feathered feet have skin between their outer toes; pigeons with short beaks have small feet, and those with long beaks large feet. Hence, if man goes on selecting, and thus augmenting, any peculiarity, he will almost certainly unconsciously modify other parts of the structure, owing to the mysterious laws of the correlation of growth.

The result of the various, quite unknown, or dimly seen laws of variation is infinitely complex and diversified. It is well worth while carefully to study the several treatises published on some of our old cultivated plants, as on the hyacinth, potato, even the dahlia, &c.; and it is really surprising to note the endless points in structure and constitution in which the varieties and subvarieties differ slightly from each other. The whole organization seems to have become plastic, and tends to depart in some small degree from that of the parental type.

Any variation which is not inherited is unimportant for us. But the number and diversity of inheritable deviations of structure, both those of slight and those of considerable physiological importance, is endless. Dr Prosper Lucas's treatise, in two large volumes, is the fullest and the best on this subject. No breeder doubts how strong is the tendency to inheritance: like produces like is his fundamental belief: doubts have been thrown on this principle by theoretical writers alone. When a deviation appears not unfrequently, and we see it in the father and child, we cannot tell whether it may not be due to the same original cause acting on both; but when amongst individuals, apparently exposed to the same conditions, any very rare deviation, due to some extraordinary combination of circumstances, appears in the parent—say, once amongst several million individuals—and it reappears in the child, the mere doctrine of chances almost compels us to attribute its reappearance to inheritance. Every one must have heard of cases of albinism, prickly skin, hairy bodies, &c., appearing in several members of the same family. If strange and rare deviations of structure are truly inherited, less strange and commoner deviations may be freely admitted to be inheritable. Perhaps the correct way of viewing the whole subject, would be, to look at the inheritance of every character what ever as the rule, and non-inheritance as the anomaly.

The laws governing inheritance are quite unknown; no one can say why the same peculiarity in different individuals of the same species, and in individuals of different species, is sometimes inherited and sometimes not so; why the child often reverts in certain characters to its grandfather or grandmother or other much more remote ancestor; why a peculiarity is often transmitted from one sex to both sexes, or to one sex alone, more commonly but not exclusively to the like sex. It is a fact of some little importance to us, that peculiarities appearing in the males of our domestic breed are often transmitted either exclusively, or in a much greater degree, to males alone. A much more important rule, which I think may be trusted, is that, whatever period of life a peculiarity first appears in, it tends to appear in the offspring at a corresponding age, though sometimes earlier. In many cases this could not be otherwise; thus the inherited peculiarities in the horns of cattle could appear only in the offspring when nearly mature; peculiarities in the silkworm are known to appear at the corresponding caterpillar or cocoon stage. But hereditary diseases and some other facts make me believe that the rule has a wider extension, and that when there is no apparent reason why a peculiarity should appear at any particular age, yet that it does tend to appear in the offspring at the same period at which it first appeared in the parent. I believe this rule to be of the highest importance in explaining the laws of embryology. These remarks are of course confined to the first appearance of the peculiarity, and not to its primary cause, which may have acted on the ovules or male element; in nearly the same manner as in the crossed offspring from a short-horned cow by a long-horned bull, the greater length of horn, though appearing late in life, is clearly due to the male element.

Having alluded to the subject of reversion, I may here refer to a statement often made by naturalists—namely, that our domestic varieties, when run wild, gradually but certainly revert in character to their aboriginal stocks. Hence it has been argued that no deductions can be drawn from domestic races to species in a state of nature. I have in vain endeavoured to discover on what decisive facts the above statement has so often and so boldly been made. There would be great difficulty in proving its truth: we may safely conclude that very many of the most strongly-marked domestic varieties could not possibly live in a wild state. In many cases we do not know what the aboriginal stock was, and so could not tell whether or not nearly perfect reversion had ensued. It would be quite necessary, in order to prevent the effects of intercrossing, that only a single variety should be turned loose in its new home. Nevertheless, as our varieties certainly do occasionally revert in some of their characters to ancestral forms, it seems to me not improbable, that if we could succeed in naturalising, or were to cultivate, during many generations, the several races, for instance, of the cabbage, in very poor soil (in which case, however, some effect would have to be attributed to the direct action of the poor soil), that they would to a large extent, or even wholly, revert to the wild aboriginal stock. Whether or not the experiment would succeed, is not of great importance for our line of argument; for by the experiment itself the conditions of life are changed. If it could be shown that our domestic varieties manifested a strong tendency to reversion,—that is, to lose their acquired characters, whilst kept under unchanged conditions, and whilst kept in a considerable body, so that free intercrossing might check, by blending together, any slight deviations of structure, in such case, I grant that we could deduce nothing from domestic varieties in regard to species. But there is not a shadow of evidence in favour of this view: to assert that we could not breed our cart and race-horses, long and short-horned cattle, and poultry of various breeds, and esculent vegetables, for an almost infinite number of generations, would be opposed to all experience. I may add, that when under nature the conditions of life do change, variations and reversions of character probably do occur; but natural selection, as will hereafter be explained, will determine how far the new characters thus arising shall be preserved.


From the Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Additions and Corrections, to the Sixth Edition xv
Historical Sketch xviii
Introduction 1
Chapter I. Variation under Domestication 7
Chapter II. Variation under Nature 51
Chapter III. Struggle for Existence 75
Chapter IV. Natural Selection; or the Survival of the Fittest 97
Chapter V. Laws of Variation 164
Chapter VI. Difficulties of the Theory 207
Chapter VII. Miscellaneous Objections to the Theory of Natural Selection 262
Chapter VIII. Instinct 319
Chapter IX. Hybridism 365
Chapter X. On the Imperfection of the Geological Record 412
Chapter XI. On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings 453
Chapter XII. Geographical Distribution 493
Chapter XIII. Geographical Distribution--continued 535
Chapter XIV. Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings: Morphology: Embryology: Rudimentary Organs 566
Chapter XV. Recapitulation and Conclusion 631
Glossary of Scientific Terms 671
Index 687
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 90 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Origin of Species

    Most people are at least familiar with the theory of natural selection, but that is not to say that they are familiar with what Darwin actually said in Origin and how he said it. Thus I agree with the reviewers who say this is essential reading.

    Although Darwin says it is "one long argument", it is in fact two: that the diversity of life shares a common ancestry, and second that this divergence came about primarily as a result of natural selection. One other reviewer said it was hard to keep focussed on the argument, if this is the case I recommend you start with Darwin's intro, chapters 3, 4, 6 and 14. This gives the basic argument. You might then go back and fill in.

    There are a number of re-editions of Origin out there, especially given the recent 150th anniversary of its publication, so why choose this one?

    Above all it is an ideal student edition (and I include here anyone who reads critically): it is cheap, has abundant margins for notes, and is as lightweight a paperback as you will find for a 400 page book. The type is large and accessible, and the introduction by George Levine is, at 20 pages, short enough to hold one's interest while with enough content to warrant its inclusion. Also, given all the recent re-editions available there are few that provide the 1859 text of the first edition. This one does.

    This is important if you want to know how Darwin originally presented his ideas. Later editions (there were six in total, the last published in 1876) included clarifications and answers to specific later objections. As a result the first edition reads better and is a more straightforward argument. If you are a Darwin scholar you will probably want to engage with these later editions - the sixth is widely available, for the others you can find them in specialist libraries (the University of Oklahoma has the lot!), or now also in beautifully scanned editions through the Darwin online website.

    This is not the place to go into the detail of what gets added to the later editions, but if this book gets you hooked you might want to take your Darwin studies further. Perhaps the most notable and certainly the most famous addition is the insertion from the second edition onwards of the words "by the Creator" into the poetic last paragraph of the book (There is grandeur in this view of life... ) This is interesting stuff: was Darwin seeking to clarify that he saw evolution as God's mechanism for creating the awesome diversity of life that we see around us? Or, was this a judicious attempt to allay theological concerns that distracted his readers from the science? The jury is still out on this. Darwin certainly wrote to his friend and confidante Joseph Hooker that he later regretted "truckling to public opinion", but he did not remove the insertion from later editions. In his autobiography, written towards the end of his life, he confided that while he had gradually lost his faith in a personal God, he recognized that others had found natural selection quite compatible with religious belief, most notably the Anglican theologian Charles Kingsley and the American botanist and Presbyterian, Asa Gray.

    There is so much in this book that it will keep you coming back. You might also want to take this further: Although Darwin only hinted at human evolution in Origin, he addressed that hot potato explicitly in Descent of Man.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    You don't have to believe

    It's not a matter of opinion. Evolution occurs. Denying it won't make it go away. Start here to understand the basics.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Beautiful Book

    I'm a devout Catholic with a strong interest in biology and genetics so I must say that this is one of the greatest and influential books of all time. Thanks to Darwin's well-thought out theory, we have been allowed to advance our understanding of life and find cures for human diseases that would have been impossible to discover with out this knowledge. Biology is useless without evolution. I believe everyone should read this book regardless of their faith. I'm a believer but I certainly don't believe in a God that gave us a beautiful and wonderous world for us to not explore and learn about. I also don't think Darwin would like us to still be fighting over this.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Origin of Species

    You'd have to be into these kinda things I guess

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    important and valuable

    *I'm rating this book on how important I think it is....not how much I enjoyed it

    It has taken me all of the summer thus far to complete The Origin of Species. It is a very tedious and analytical read. I found my mind wandering while I was reading this and I don't think I retained half of what I read. I do understand Darwin's main ideas though. Charles Darwin was a very insightful man who has had such a great impact on science and society as a whole. Did I enjoy this book? Not really. Do I think this is an important and valuable book? Absolutely!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2009

    A Seminal Scientific and Cultural Work

    Aptly called the "book that shook the world," Darwin's On the Origin of Species should be required reading for all, regardless of academic background or ideological stripe. Darwin tempers his strong conviction in "evolution by means of natural selection" with tact and a keen awareness of the prevailing belief in independent creation. The first part of the book (chapters 1-5) establishes the central premises behind the theory of natural selection: 1) There is variation in the wild (analogous to domestic variation); 2) Because of scarcity, all organisms are engaged in a constant "struggle for existence"; 3) Those individuals with favorable variations - or adaptations - will be preserved while those with injurious variations will become extinct; 4) Natural selection links creatures through the gradual, cumulative process of descent, thereby invalidating independent creation. The rest of the book deals with potential objections to the theory, indicating the extent to which Darwin was on the defensive and needed to robustly undermine his opponents' arguments in order to gain credibility. Darwin's painstaking account is both cautious and forceful, presenting the first cohesive case for evolution by means of natural selection. On the Origin of Species demonstrates in an accessible manner the power of scientific inquiry and unfettered thought over orthodoxy and dogma.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A must for anyone who wishes to be knowledgeable about the world we live in.

    There is a lot of confusion still lingering, like some ineffable cloud of ignorance, around the topic of evolution and the real support and arguments made on its behalf. This book does very well to wave much of that cloud away. I had a feeling when beginning this book that it would somehow be so technical as to be overly difficult, or written in such a way as to be inaccessible. This is, I am happy to say, not the case. This book is straight forward, easy to read, well laid out, and dare I say, quite enjoyable.

    A better authority on the subject you cannot find, and to hear the arguments straight from the finch's beak (as it were), is certainly recommended. It becomes clear how such ideas originated, and after hearing the arguments the theory becomes even easier to understand and defend. I would like to point out at this point that this book contains, nor does it claim to contain, any explanation with regard to the origin of life, it merely goes about proving quite definitively how we have come to have as many species as we do currently in the world.

    I believe that this book is an essential edition to the reading pile, and library of every person who claims to have knowledge of the way things work in the world, or who wishes to. This book does not contain all the knowledge one needs to go on claiming to be intelligent, but it is a great start.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a great scientific information compilation, just too confusing.

    This book is STRICTLY for professors or science scholars whom may wish to broaden their horizons on the THEORY, not fact, of evolution. As a matter of fact, the word "evolved" is only mentioned 1 time throughout the book, being the very last word of the book. He talks more on the difficulties on his theory rather than the "facts" on his theory; he has at least 3 chapters that are strictly and solely devoted to the refuting of evolution. Unless you are a science whiz or professor, you ARE going to get lost on more than one occasion throughout this volume. The beginning chapters are fairly easy to understand, but at about chapter 5 you can get lost rather quickly because he jumps from subject to subject that are completely irrelevant. Overall, this book is a great scientific compilation of information and scrutinizingly pain-staking experiments through trial and error and is recommended for those who can distinguish between ammonites, batrachians, cirripedes, hemiptera, and the many other scientific terms he may use without looking at the glossary of terms in the back, which I must say does come in handy after the 2nd chapter.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    Excellent

    As a long-time agnostic, I personally don't think humans will ever discover our origins. That being said, I love this book. It's interesting and well-written. It goes beyond being a classic - it's a work of art. On a seperate note, I snorted ginger ale out my nose when I read the April 10 review. I really, really, REALLY hope that person was joking...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    z

    EVOLUTION DOES NOT HAPPEN!!!!! IF WE HAD "EVOLVED" THEN WHY ARE THERE STILL MONKEYS!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Not just a classic, but a masterpiece

    One of the most important works in the scientific literature, The Origin renains indispensible reading for those wishing to understand the evolution of species as well as the evolution of Reason. A perfect work? No. But cannonical texts are the sphere of religion, not of science. Still, there is much here to amaze and delight --- and to astound the reader as to the range and depth of Darwin's thinking on this subject.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2011

    The book that changed biology, and the world.

    On the origin of the species is perhaps one of the most important books ever written, as well as being an excellent read. It is beautifully written, and easy to understand. Darwin presents his findings with eloquence, thoughtfulness and clairty. The discoveries that Darwin made pushed forward science and understanding of the natural world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2011

    It depends upon your intent

    If you want the essentials of Darwin's twin hypotheses of descent with modification and of natural selection then you are probably better off with an abridgment of about 100 pages. Such an abridgment is most suitable for students whose time is strictly limited.

    On the other hand if you already have an understanding of Darwin's arguments then the full treatment makes for rewarding reading, particularly for those with an interest in the history and sociology of science.

    Darwin was fully aware of the revolutionary nature of his ideas and it is instructive to see how he developed his arguments based upon the perceived strengths and weaknesses in their 19th century contexts. He was preternatural in developing his arguments in the absence of known mechanisms relating modified descent with natural selection. Of course the "modern synthesis" via later understandings of population and molecular genetics provide those linkages.

    It is ironic that Mendel's work was nearly contemporaneous with that of Darwin but he wasn't rediscovered until the beginning of the 20th century--too late to be of any use to Charles Darwin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2005

    Interesting and engrossing.........for the most part anyway

    Great Book, sometimes it was hard to read but its great for all those who want to understand Darwin's concepts in depth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    Tap here if you are an athiest or believe in evolution.

    You are wrong. Charles Darwin never had any kind of a degree in science. All he had was a philosophy degree. And if we are descended from monkeys,how come they are still here? Darwins theory is a pure, undefiled, lie. My rating is a lie. I just wnt you to read this for your own good.This is one of he most Satanic books ever written, because it goes directly against the Bible. And athiests, fyi there is a God, he is more real than anything you know, and he will come soon to judge the earth. Im waening you to repent before it is too late, and God sends you to hell. Please! I beg you to consider the word of God before he judges you.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Ha!

    Im an atheist. This is so much better in my opinion. But I understand religion. There is such thing ti believe in science AND religion. So people, shut the f.ck up and go away if you were just going to ay somethung useless on this review in the first place..

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Christians BEWARE!

    Do not read this book at all! In Church, we disccussed Creation and evelotion (which I am not even going to capalize because it disscusts me). They started to talk about this book so I thought that I would llook it up on my NOOK. When it came up, I decided to rate it. 1 Star! Wish I could give it a zero. Dont read it! Read the Bible and believe in God.

    0 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Yuck LIAR!!

    All i can say to this is what another person said in there review: LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE!! CREATION IS SO MUCH BETTER!

    0 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Liar

    This book is a total lie. See Genesis 1:1 for more info. Have a nice day.

    0 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2011

    A brilliant mind and an outstanding writer

    Darwin leads you to inescapable conclusions by powers of deduction. He was led to his understanding of nature through careful observation and logic, in contrast to our own age dominated by anti-intellectuals. He understood patterns of inheritance without knowing the physical mechanism. I had the urge to reach across the ages to explain DNA. I was not prepared for the high quality of the writing. If you want to understand a subject, go right to the original thinkers, Darwin for biology, Einstein for physics.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 90 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)