“Man is but a worm.” An unkindly caricature, published by Punch magazine as part of their 1882 Almanac in 1881, just prior to Charles Darwin’s death. The message shows that there was still much conjecture about the origin of species at that time.
Public Domain image.
The book “Origin of Species” is 150 years old in 2009.
The English physician and naturalist Erasmus Darwin died in 1802, approximately seven years before Charles Darwin’s birth. Nonetheless, he provided the philosophical framework and intellectual environment for his grandson Charles’ work on evolutionary theory, which led to the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, [hereafter shortened to Origin of Species] in 1859.1 In his publication Zoönomia, Erasmus Darwin stated:
Would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind… that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament, which the great First Cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts, attended with new propensities, directed by irritations, sensations, volitions and associations, and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end!2
Darwin's Deliberations about Origin of Species
Your one-stop source for information on evolution. Learn the facts in Evolution 101, browse the resource library, read about evolution in the news, or discover a wealth of materials to help educate others about evolution and related concepts—it’s all right here!
The Life of Charles Darwin.
In honor of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, Smithsonian looks at the impact of Darwin’s life and research on modern day science. Free to read.
Read Darwin Online
See links to online copies of all editions of Charles Darwin’s literature.
Charles Lyell was a British lawyer, and the foremost geologist of his day. He is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularized uniformitarianism—the idea that the earth was shaped by slow-moving forces still in operation today. Lyele was a close and influential friend of Charles Darwin.
Seeing is Believing
Review of the book by John Coyne, which illustrates one viewpoint of the never-ending attempt to reconcile science and religion.
Panda’s Thumb Networking
The Panda’s Thumb is the “virtual pub” where “patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world, and share good conversation.
Defend the teaching of evolution
The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization “working to defend the teaching of evolution.” The site lists a number of ways that individuals can help support the teaching of evolution.
- Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1st ed. London: John Murray.
- Darwin, E. 1794. Zoönomia, Part 1. London: J. Johnson.
- Buckeridge, J.S. In press. The ongoing evolution of humanness: perspectives from Darwin to de Chardin. South African Journal of Science 105.
- Browne, J. 1995. Charles Darwin Voyaging: Part 1 of a Biography. London: Random House.
- Spencer, N. 2009. Darwin and God. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- Darwin, C. 1871. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 1st ed., p. 395. London: John Murray.
- Darwin, F. (ed.) 1887. The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter, Vol. 1, p. 304. London: John Murray.
- Taylor, J. H. (ed). 1982. The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim). In Ancient Christian Writers, Vol. 41. Mahwah, NJ: Newman Press.
- Buckeridge, J. S. 2007. Creationism and Intelligent Design: a critique. In Dossier Évolution et créationnisme. Natures Sciences Sociétés 15(4): 405–406.
- Wade, N. 2009. The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and why it Endures. New York: Penguin.