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The Descent of Man (Dover Science Books)by Charles Darwin
Synopses & Reviews
The most accessible edition ever published of Darwinas incendiary classic, edited by aas fine a science essayist as we havea (New York Times)
The Descent of Man, Darwinas second landmark work on evolutionary theory (following The Origin of the Species), marked a turning point in the history of science with its modern vision of human nature as the product of evolution. Darwin argued that the noblest features of humans, such as language and morality, were the result of the same natural processes that produced iris petals and scorpion tails.
To convey the revolutionary importance of this groundbreaking book, renowned evolutionary science writer Carl Zimmer edited this special abridged editionamade up of nine excerpts, each one representing one of Darwinas major themesaand wrote illuminating introductions to each section, as well as an overall introduction. Zimmer brilliantly places Darwinas basic ideas in the context of the current understanding of human nature and twenty-first-century DNA research. By accessibly presenting Darwinas thinking to a modern readership, Zimmer eloquently demonstrates Darwinas ever-increasing relevance and amazing scientific insight.
In this accessible edition of Darwins incendiary classic, renowned evolutionary science writer Zimmer edits this special abridged edition--made up of nine excerpts--and brilliantly places Darwins basic ideas in the context of the current understanding of human nature and 21st-century DNA research.
Published on the anniversary of Darwin's 200th birthday, this edition features excerpts from the landmark work that build on the evolutionary concepts introduced in On the Origin of Species.
Published on the anniversary of the great naturalist's 200th birthday, these excerpts from Darwin's landmark work build on the evolutionary concepts introduced in On the Origin of Species. Based upon the original edition, this abridgement by a noted Darwinian scholar offers a highly readable version of an important book.
About the Author
Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809 and attended the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. When he decided against that vocation, he enrolled at Cambridge where he earned a degree in theology. During an expedition to Africa and South America, Darwin continued his studies in natural science and began writing about his theories of natural selection. His work led to the publication of On the Origin of Species, a book that changed the world.
Charles Darwin: Original Thinking
Each generation of students comes to Darwin's epoch-making works, several of which are the basis of our publishing program in biology and related fields: The Essential Darwin, 2006; The Descent of Man, 2010; The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 2006; and On the Origin of the Species, 2006.
In the Author's Own Words:
"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there."
"I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can."
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
"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."
"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system — with all these exalted powers — Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." — Charles Darwin
Table of Contents
I. The Evidence of the Descent of Man From Some Lower Form
II. Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals
III. Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals, continued
IV. On the Manner of Development of Man from Some Lower Form
V. On the Development of the Intellectual and Moral Faculties during Primeval and Civilised Times
VI. On the Affinities and Genealogy of Man
VII. On the Races of Man
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