Scottish author, publisher, and bookseller ROBERT CHAMBERS (1802 1871) knew that the radical theories about natural evolution he was espousing in this groundbreaking work would be controversial, so he published anonymously in 1844, and kept his identity a secret until 1884, long after Charles Darwin s seminal Origin of Species had changed the tenor of modern scientific disScottish author, publisher, and bookseller ROBERT CHAMBERS (1802 1871) knew that the radical theories about natural evolution he was espousing in this groundbreaking work would be controversial, so he published anonymously in 1844, and kept his identity a secret until 1884, long after Charles Darwin s seminal Origin of Species had changed the tenor of modern scientific discourse. Indeed, Darwin praised Chambers daring, calling his book an excellent service that had swept away prejudice and prepared the public for introduction to Darwin s similar ideas, for Chambers anticipated Darwin with his discussions of: the geological formation of the earth hypotheses on the development of the plant and animal kingdoms the early history of mankind and much more. Anyone interested in the history of science, the study of evolution, or the politics of science in the 19th century will enjoy this historic book....
|Title||:||Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation|
|Number of Pages||:||410 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation Reviews
This "Victorian Sensation" does not receive enough plaudits. I agree that the book should not be read as an authoritative scientific text- but gee, what a raucously fun read! Such an awesome history of the world, as gleaned from geologic observations and extrapolations based upon present life forms. While not as accurate as Darwin, I found it often the better read.
When Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, his examination of the Evolution of life on Earth, based jointly on his own findings and those of Alfred Russell Wallace, it changed the course of human history. Few books have ever had the impact that this one did. The first edition sold out practically overnight. Five further editions were published and, since initial publication, thousands of copies have been sold. Of course, it is now out of copyright and freely available for download from sources such as The Gutenberg Project. It must have been read by millions. I am one of those millions.14 years earlier, another book on the subject of Evolution was published, but this one anonymously. "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" was published by Robert Chambers, anonymously because he realised the potential impact it would have. It that time, the suggestion that life on Earth had not been created by a God exactly as indicated in the Bible, was still highly controversial.And yet, Chambers was a man of religion. He truly believed that the very existence of life was proof of God's existence. It was in just how God was involved that he differed from the prevailing views of the time, views predominantly expressed by the Church (of England).Chambers wrote his treatise from the perspective of someone who found persuasive evidence in Nature that life evolved from a starting point of a set of universal laws established by God, after which He left the Universe to pretty much get on with things without Him tinkering at every opportunity. If things went wrong, believed Chambers, they did so because these Laws were not being observed, and that was the meaning of Free Will.His book follows the evolution of life as expressed by the fossils that had been uncovered in the strata of the earth. This ground-breaking discovery was not Chambers' but largely due to the work of William Smith, "The Father of English Geology", who in 1815 produced the first map of the geological structure of the British Isles, a copy of which map hangs today in the The Geological Society's Burlington House headquarters.Chambers makes no reference to Smith's discoveries but must have been aware of them. However, his interpretation of how life evolved, based on these fossils is somewhat different from how we now understand them.In particular he is a great proponent of the theories of Jean-Baptiste Lemark regarding how species evolved, those theories nowadays being thoroughly discredited. He also supported the now also discredited theories of Ernst Haeckel regarding embryonic development, that the embryo, through the early stages of its growth, displays the physical characteristics of many of the evolutionary ancestors from which it has evolved. We now know that features such as pharyngeal arches are not proof that we once had gills.So, if he got much wrong, what value if this book? In fact, it is a very interesting read rather because of how much he got right, and this at a time when such theories flew in the face of accepted wisdom.It is, however, not an easy read. Chambers has a tendency to use extensive scientific language. You will likely find yourself frequently referring to a dictionary. In addition, the later chapters tend to run short of scientific evidence as Chambers resorts more to pulpit preaching in support of God being the author of everything.However, having read Darwin, I am glad I also made the effort to read Chambers as well. Without Chambers it would have been interesting to see just what Darwin would have produced.