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“... returned from a privately-financed circumnavigation, as companion to Castlereagh’s nephew, sit down in 1837-9 and devise a mechanistic theory of organic transmutation? The gentleman of course was CharlesDarwin. And the magnitude of the problem is highlighted by the publication of the first volume of his meticulously-edited Correspondence. This eagerly-awaited collection of letters, copiously ...”
“... Few scientists have provided the occasion for such an expense of ink as CharlesDarwin. Although for much of his career he was appreciated only by a relatively small circle of fellow specialists, the publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species brought him to the attention of a much ...”
“... It has been history’s biggest birthday party. On or around 12 February 2009 alone – the 200th anniversary of CharlesDarwin’s birth, ‘Darwin Day’ – there were more than 750 commemorative events in at least 45 countries, and, on or around 24 November, there was another spate of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the ...”
“... Gothic nave, but otherwise isn’t unlike one. Light comes from high windows; there are upper galleries and chapel-like alcoves; and it is dominated by a statue in white marble of the local deity – CharlesDarwin – who looks down at a huge dinosaur skeleton from the landing of the staircase that rises in a double flight at the north end. Darwin’s ideas are so central to biology that there is no ...”
“... David Kohn opens his monumental Darwinian Heritage with a deftly-delivered kick, observing that a study of the wider institutional culture of Darwin’s day seems to be ‘beyond the present ken of historians of 19th-century biology’. It’s a well-aimed blow. Little of the Darwin industry’s capital has been spent on exploring evolution in ...”
“... Among the icons of science, Newton is admired and Einstein revered, but Darwin is liked. This is rather puzzling on the face of it. His theories concerning organic evolution, and the satellite doctrines that have attached themselves to his name – Social Darwinisms of the ...”
“... last three Victorian decades were different, more doubtful and more divided, than the vigorous High Victorian years. From the world of Landseer and Dickens to that of Henry James and Whistler, what CharlesDarwin elsewhere called the ‘tone’ of mind had changed.Darwin turned 69 in February 1878. He felt that ‘large & difficult subjects’ were now beyond him and that ‘considering my age … it ...”
“... in September or October 1835, during the Beagle’s five-week visit to the Galapagos Islands. The Beagle had been at sea for nearly four years, and, as he wrote to his Cambridge mentor, John Henslow, CharlesDarwin was increasingly anxious to get home: ‘I look forward with joy and interest to [visiting the Galapagos], both as being somewhat nearer to England, & for the sake of having a good look at an ...”
“... When the 22-year-old CharlesDarwin joined HMS Beagle in 1831 he took a copy of Paradise Lost with him, and over the next five years he read it many times, in Brazil, Patagonia, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia and Mauritius. As the ship ...”
“... Soon after his 70th birthday, CharlesDarwin sat down to compose a Life of his grandfather Erasmus, poet and sage of 18th-century Lichfield, brilliant physician, mechanical inventor, incorrigible heretic and evolutionist.* The biography was a ...”
“... How clever of Nature to ‘choose’ Darwin to teach the world that she has, against the prevailing view of natural theology, no purpose, no teleology, no choice. No one could be more gentlemanly, cautious, desirous of conforming, unwilling to ...”
“... It is fatally easy to read into the animal world what we would like to see in our own, to explain the human condition as an inevitable consequence of our biology. Even CharlesDarwin was at fault. Hidden in his unpublished notebooks is the damning passage: ‘Origin of Man now proved – metaphysics must flourish – he who understands baboons will do more towards metaphysics ...”
“... to laughter was used in vain. When asked whether they ever laughed, they replied: ‘No, what is there to laugh at?’ When I was in my teens, Expression of the Emotions was the most approachable of Darwin’s books and hence, to a lazy student, the most familiar. Natural Selection was an obvious truth; its theocidal consequences delightful; but the evidence, from palaeontology, from population studies ...”
“... Alfred Russel Wallace was 35 and stricken with malaria in what is now Indonesia when, in 1858, he wrote a letter to CharlesDarwin in England that would send Darwin into a tailspin. In a feverish ‘flash of light’, Wallace had independently stumbled on the theory of natural selection. Darwin had been working on the idea for some twenty years, but had not yet ...”
“... is this ancestral magic so pervasive as in science – above all, in myth-making introductions to scientific textbooks. There the ritual incantation of deities and devils – with Galileo, Newton, Darwin worshipped on the one side, and Descartes, Lamarck, Lysenko anathematised on the other – provides exemplars to imitate and moral lessons to avoid. Each science, of course, boasts its own dramatis ...”