Charles Darwin: The Life and Legacy of the 19th Century's Most Famous Scientist

Charles Darwin: The Life and Legacy of the 19th Century's Most Famous Scientist

by Charles River Editors
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Overview

*Includes pictures


*Includes contemporary accounts


*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading


"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." - Charles Darwin
"We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." - Charles Darwin


Ever since the human mind developed the capacity for thought, people have pondered not just the meaning of life, but the genesis of the world, the universe, and all the natural marvels and precious forms of life within it. To this day, all of these intricate subjects continue to be matters of great contention, and they are often best encapsulated in the debate between creationism and evolution.


On the one hand are those who are adamant that it was God, or some other supreme being, that designed and crafted every detail of the universe, as evidenced by the plethora of creation myths from various creeds and traditions. Among one of the most well-known etiological tales is the classic story of the Christian God who constructed the world in 6 days, and man and woman out of clay and man's rib, respectively. This is a concept that many still cling to today; approximately 38% of Americans believed in creationism in 2017, as reported by a Gallup Poll. Then, there are the more obscure narratives, such as the Japanese creation myth, which recounts how the god and goddess, Izanagi and Izanami, birthed from "elements mixed together with one germ of life," shaped the Japanese islands with some mud and the aid of a sacred staff. The Mayans preached about Tepeu, the maker of all things, and Gucumatz, the "feathered spirit," who produced the world with nothing but their thoughts, and placed on Earth the first quartet of humans fashioned out of white and yellow corn.


On the other hand are those who subscribe to the belief of, or as they would say, "accept" evolution and scientific processes as fact. As enthralling as such creation myths may be, insist critics of creationism, who campaign for their retirement, there is not a sound shred of logic behind these time-worn tales. Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, arguably one of the most brilliant minds to have ever lived, stated, "Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation." His sentiments are echoed by famous atheist, evolutionary biologist, and coiner of the word "meme," Richard Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene: "Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun..."


The kindler of this impassioned existential dispute, of course, is none other than Charles Darwin, who himself devised the term "creationists" and propelled the controversial theory of evolution to prominence. Given that he went against the grain with his scientific work, he was clearly one of the most polarizing men of his age, and he wouldn't hesitate to question one of the central tenets of Western civilization in print: "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars."


Bearing this in mind, while it was indeed Darwin who stoked the fire, he is not the hardcore, deity-despising atheist who obsessed about disproving God that most presume him to be. What lies within this fascinating man is a complicated, neurotic, and somewhat tortured individual, which, needless to say, only makes this pioneer all the more compelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781986487030
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 03/14/2018
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.23(d)

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