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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

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Evolutionary Theory and Victorian Culture (Control of Nature)

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Evolutionary Theory and Victorian Culture (Control of Nature) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although Charles Darwin was a central figure in the 19th-century development of evolutionary theory, today we tend to focus almost exclusively on him and so overlook the important role played by other leading thinkers of the time. For example, Alfred Russel Wallace, based on his own research and field observations, independently arrived at nearly identical conclusions as Darwin on the origin and evolution of species. Furthermore, the phrase "survival of the fittest," which most people now associate with Darwin, was actually coined by philosopher Herbert Spencer to describe the key mechanism of natural selection. And in the cultural debate on evolution no one played a more prominent role than Thomas Henry Huxley, known as "Darwin's Bulldog."

This absorbing study of the Victorian controversies over the cultural meaning of evolution broadens our perspective by including these and other prominent individuals. Fichman traces the emergence of science as a definitive political and cultural force in this critical period, showing that evolutionary biology was at the epicenter of these profound sociocultural transformations. His astute analysis of the often vehement Victorian debates on the political, religious, racial, and ethical implications of evolutionary thought reveals how science came to be inseparable from the broader culture. He also relates 19th-century controversies to cultural debates in the 20th century, in particular the notorious Scopes trial (1925) and the later, and ongoing, debate about "scientific creationism."

For all those fascinated, and perplexed, by the impact of evolutionary theory on our worldview, and the increasingly close ties between science and Western culture, Fichman's historical perspective lends much clarity and context to current controversies.

Book News Annotation:

Fichman (humanities, history, York U., UK) writes about the other scientists of Darwin's day and the excitement generated by new scientific discoveries in Victorian times. In addition to the discussion of evolution by Alfred Russel (sic) Wallace, Herbert Spencer, and Thomas Henry Huxley, among others, Fichman includes a section on the Scopes trial. Though perhaps intended to mimic Victorian tomes, the page design may (slightly) distract some readers from the thought-provoking text. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-243) and index.

Synopsis:

This absorbing study of the Victorian controversies over the cultural meaning of evolution broadens our perspective by including these and other prominents individuals. Fichman traces the emergence of science as a definitive political and cultural force in this critical period, showing that evolutionary biology was at the epicienter of these profound sociocultural transformations. His astute analysis of the often vehement Victorian debates on the political, religious, racial, and ethical implications of evolutionary thought reveals how science came to be inseparable from the broader culture. He also relates 19th-century controversies to culture debates in the 20th century, in particular the notorious Scopes trial (1925) and the later, and ongoing, debate about "scientific creation ism."

About the Author

Martin Fichman is professor of Humanities and History at York University and the author of Science, Technology and Society and Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biography.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781591020035
Editor:
Schagrin, Morton L.
Editor:
Ruse, Michael
Editor:
Schagrin, Morton L.
Editor:
Ruse, Michael
Author:
Fichman, Martin
Publisher:
Humanity Books
Location:
Amherst, N.Y.
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Evolution (Biology)
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Evolution - History - 19th century
Subject:
Evolution (Biology) - History - 19th century
Subject:
History of Science-General
Subject:
Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Control of Nature
Series Volume:
G-8
Publication Date:
20021101
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.5 in 0.77 lb

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Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Networking » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Evolution

Evolutionary Theory and Victorian Culture (Control of Nature) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Humanity Books - English 9781591020035 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-243) and index.
"Synopsis" by , This absorbing study of the Victorian controversies over the cultural meaning of evolution broadens our perspective by including these and other prominents individuals. Fichman traces the emergence of science as a definitive political and cultural force in this critical period, showing that evolutionary biology was at the epicienter of these profound sociocultural transformations. His astute analysis of the often vehement Victorian debates on the political, religious, racial, and ethical implications of evolutionary thought reveals how science came to be inseparable from the broader culture. He also relates 19th-century controversies to culture debates in the 20th century, in particular the notorious Scopes trial (1925) and the later, and ongoing, debate about "scientific creation ism."
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