The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition
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The book that shook the world
First time from Signet Classic


This is the book that revolutionized the natural sciences and every literary, philosophical and religious thinker who followed. Darwin's theory of evolution and the descent of man remains as controversial and influential today as when it was published over a century ago.

Customer Reviews:

  • A science classic
    For anyone interested in the progress of science and civilisation, this book is one of the essential classics. Not only does it lay the foundations of modern biology, it is a rare example of how scientific writing should be done.

    Darwin anticipated a strong reaction to his ideas and their implications, so he took great care to write his book with exemplary clarity and self discipline. With great humility, he presents the culmination of his life's work. He looks at the objections at each step, and treats them with respect and grace as he counters them. A respect that he never received from his opponents. He never claimed to have the full and final picture, but laid a solid foundation in the way Newton did for physics.

    Even forgetting the brilliance of the central insight, as an example of a thorough, clear, and reasoned scientific thesis, it would be hard to find better.

    This book is a living part of our history and heritage. It's importance to our future is incalculable, as it teaches us that we are all related to each other and to all life on Earth. What better reason to start treating all of our fellow creatures with a little more compassion.

    Among the modern industrialized countries, there is generally little "controversy" about Darwin's ideas (there will still be a few Flat-Earthers anywhere). The general principles of evolution have been accepted for many decades by more than 90% of the population in most developed countries. Only in America is the idea still controversial on a significant scale. Perhaps this needs more focus in the education system....more info
  • There is no proof of Evolution and I will prove it.
    Here is an interesting experiment: Empty your garage of every piece of metal, wood, paint, rubber, and plastic. Make sure there is nothing there. Nothing. Then wait for ten years and see if a Mercedes evolves. If it doesn't appear, leave it for 20 years. If that doesn't work, try it for 100 years. Then try leaving it for 10,000 years.

    Here's what will produce the necessary blind faith to make the evolutionary process believable: leave it for 250 million years.
    The Book of Genesis tells us that everything was created by God--nothing "evolved." Every creature was given the ability to reproduce after its own kind as is stated ten times in Genesis. Dogs do not produce cats. Neither do cats and dogs have a common ancestry. Dogs began as dogs and are still dogs. They vary in species from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards, but you will not find a "dat" or a "cog" (part cat/dog) throughout God's creation. Frogs don't reproduce oysters, cows don't have lambs, and pregnant pigs don't give birth to rabbits. God made monkeys as monkeys, and man as man.

    Each creature brings forth after its own kind. That's no theory; that's a fact. Why then should we believe that man comes from another species? If evolution is true, then it is proof that the Bible is false. However, the whole of creation stands in contradiction to the theory of evolution.

    In the Foreword to Origin of Species (100th edition), Sir Arthur Keith admitted, "Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable."


    Dr. Kent Hovind of Florida has a standing offer of $250,000 to "anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution." Evolution-- true science fiction. His website is www.drdino.com.
    ...more info
  • A Very Important Work that should be read!
    I recommend reading of this book because of the importance of it. When Charles Darwin published this in 1859 it rocked the English speaking world. Up to that point the religious idea of creation was unquestionably accepted. Religion held a lot of power over people and their lives. Then this book came out, and it put into question all that the English world held dear about God and creation. I don't know if any piece of literature has had such a profound affect on society and its beliefs. When I read it, I thought that it might be boring because of the scope of the work, but it's actually not boring because it's simply and plainly written. Remember the whole theory of evolution originated from this one work....more info
  • a must read
    It's really amazing how polarized people's opinions of this book are! Whether you accept evolution or not though, it would be foolish not to read Origin of Species if you expect to have an informed opinion on the subject. I gave it only 4 stars because it gets pretty dry in places, however I definitely recommend reading this book. Reading it two or three times would be an even better idea. ...more info
  • An amazing insight for its time.
    This book can be a bit dry at times, but the insights Darwin had are absolutely amazing. Overall a good read. I'm confused why amazon paired this work up with the communist manifesto. I understand that Marx and Engels were fans of Darwin's work and inspired by it, but I feel it gives Origin a negative connontation. Maybe they could pair it up with per se, a science book. ...more info
  • Turning point in scientific thought
    Darwin's thoughts, as documented in 'Origin of Species', are the pivotal moment of biology and, arguably, the most powerful scientific insight ever. 'Origin' is not the brilliant flash of insight in the mind of the young Darwin of the Beagle. It is the compilation and distillation of years of observation and research. As such, 'Origins' doesn't have the fast pace of a popular mystery novel. Instead, it is the steady and progressive development of evidence leading to the conclusion that life is constantly and progressively changing...and here is where Darwin shook the world...that the direction of this change is shaped by the agency of natural selection.

    Natural Selection is precisely the sword that Darwin voluntarily fell on. Many people of the time, scientists and some theologians, had no particular problem with concepts of evolution over great expanses of time. Granted, evolutionary concepts were never popular with fundamentalist believers but others, more observant and more open about God's methods, reckoned that God could create life and advance life any way he wished.

    Natural Selection threw a monkey wrench into the mechanism of Divine Direction of evolution. With Natural Selection, evolutionary 'progress' became a machine that ran quite well all by itself. It didn't need the Divine Direction of an All Merciful God. All life, including man, could be a celestial accident pushed forward by the inevitable forces of selection.

    Was Darwin correct? Evidence of its basic validity is well documented in 'Origins". Besides, it makes imminent good sense, which is exactly why the concept took off like a rocket. It was logical and rational that more favored forms suceed over less favored forms--life progresses relentlessly forward...BUT...anything that makes such obvious sense should be suspect in principle. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that natural selection is the primary directive force behind evolution. It is a force, to be certain, but is it the PRIMARY force?

    My guess is 'no'. Evolution over eons involving countless species of bacteria, molds, plants and animals is an extraordinarily complex process. Natural Selection is one motivator but it won't be the only one. It may not even be the most important one. There has been a tendency in some circles to almost deify Darwin. I believe Darwin would have been appalled. Cannonization is a sure way of stifling scientific discussion and progress. Darwin was a man...an intelligent man, an extremely insightful man...but just a man. Just as Newtonian physics has been found lacking in some areas, 'Darwinism' will also prove to be a less than perfect philosophy. Even so, Darwin is, in my opinion, the most important scientific mind ever.

    Ron Braithwaite author of novels--'Skull Rack' and 'Hummingbird God'--on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico...more info
  • Origin of Species - just a theory
    The first book I bought was the paperback edition - the print was too small for me to read. I then purchased the hardback edition - the print was fine on this one. The overall material is good for a reference since this book is referred to often in the field of evolution. However, Darwinism is just a theory with no credibility, in light of recent findings in astrophysics and microbiology. As Darwin says in his own book - if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. The Big Bang in cosmology, irreducible complexity and DNA information coding in microbiology make Darwin's theroy break down. I recommend the DVDs Unlocking the Mystery of Life and Journey toward Creation as supplemental material. Also the book by Michael Denton - Evolution: a Theory in Crisis....more info
  • Darwin Study of Evolution
    This is a great read for anyone interseted in the theory of evolution or just general information about Galapagos wildlife. It is a stimulating read, but readers are cautioned that the text is very academic and may not be approachable to all....more info
  • A Great Scientist
    Many people assume that Darwin's initial account of natural selection is so out of date that it is to be avoided in favour of more recent text books of evolutionary theory. While it is true that huge gains have been made in the one and a half centuries since the first publication of "The Origin", there is nothing in this work which is wrong. Darwin was too good a scientist and too cautious.

    Some claim that Darwin admitted of the possibility of Lamarkian mechanisms. They have not read the original. Darwin knew nothing of the molecular basis of genetics, but knew that natural selection did not need a Lamarkian mechanism. He simply did not rule it out, although he found it improbable. Everything that is stated in this great classic is as true today as it was at the time of first publication.

    It is also said that Charles Darwin was a lesser intellectual when compared to most other great names of science; that he was a plodder, a naturalist, a sort of gentleman stamp collector who pressed flowers into his books and barely a scientist in the contemporary sense. This is nonsense. Darwin was one of the giants of rigorous systematic thinking; the kind of rigorous thinking and critical attitude that asks the right questions and provides the capacity to answer them. Let me buttress this claim with one example.

    At the end of chapter six Darwin noted that the theory of natural selection could not account for structures or behaviors found in one species that exist solely for the benefit of another unrelated species. In setting out the theoretical terms for the refutation of the theory in this way, he anticipated Karl Popper, that analytical non-nonsense philosopher of science, by more than a century.

    I recommend you read this book with an attentive curious analytical mind. You will find yourself walking in the footsteps of an intellectual giant. ...more info
  • There is no substitute for reading the master himself
    The readers with some science background will not only be amazed, but also charmed by this work. Any lingering doubt about the extent of Darwin's field and bench research will dissolve after seeing the enormous amount of biological observation this man accomplished. The small fraction of such observations he chose to include in "Origin" are responsible for the book's length, but serve as thorough, but lovely, illustrations to the development of his theory of natural selection. Those with less science background can ask readers with more science learning about the accuracy of the above statement. In any case, how Darwin "connected the dots" midway throughout the 19th century is nothing short of astonishing.

    You must keep in mind as you read through this book that the science of genetics, inheritance, geological plate tectonics, and atomic nuclear structure were unknown at Darwin's time. Even more unknown were various molecular biosciences of the later 20th century. Nevertheless Darwin, the amateur scientist, put the mental pieces for natural selection together from his own vast research and other known science of the times such as geology, paleontology, embryology, etc. In the introduction of "Origin" Darwin outlines the four basic statements of natural selection in simple terms - as are most scientific theories.

    A myth easily put to rest while reading "Origin" is that the author was a man reluctant to do battle with his opponents and skeptics. Not so. One finishes the book having seen dozens of passages openly challenging all comers on one point or another! Remembering that Charles Darwin was a Victorian gentleman (in the very best sense: love of learning, seeking truths, persistence, striving), it becomes clear why he inherently would think that natural selection would be a process of improvement, and would take very long amounts of time. This was part of the Victorian ethic. He said in his book that natural selection was an unthinking, undirected, unmotivated process, but in his heart he clearly liked the "improvement" thought. This should be a small concession to a real genius.
    ...more info
  • Darwin Study of Evolution
    This is a great read for anyone interseted in the theory of evolution or just general information about Galapagos wildlife. It is a stimulating read, but readers are cautioned that the text is very academic and may not be approachable to all....more info
  • Simple Idea Yet Powerful
    With all of the "Intelligent Design/Evolution" books being published these days, I though I'd read the book that started it all. OK, I didn't actually read it; I listened to an abridged audio version, with Richard Dawkins narrating. (You can download that on iTunes, or buy it at amazon.co.uk.) Darwin's thesis was simple, that species are engaged in a struggle for existence, and that the ones with the features best adapted to the environment will survive. Thus, by a slow process of natural selection, species acquire different traits. Darwin made an analogy with domestic animal and plant breeding, and how different varieties of species come about as a result. He concluded that the distinction between species and varieties was largely arbitrary, and from that extrapolated his theory of natural selection. The way different species in a particular area are related though distinct, Darwin concludes, cannot be explained by a theory of independent creation. It's amazing how Darwin was able to figure all of this out even before our new evidence of embryology, DNA, plate tectonics, etc. have confirmed his theory. Further, Darwin anticipated the "fossil gap" and "irreducible complexity of the eye" objections still in circulation among creationists and IDers. Of course, the fossil record and the knowledge of eye development has only gotten richer since Darwin. Everyone should read this, and see for themselves how Darwin's idea is simple, yet powerful in explaining the world around us....more info
  • Turning point in scientific thought
    Darwin's thoughts, as documented in 'Origin of Species', are the pivotal moment of biology and, arguably, the most powerful scientific insight ever. 'Origin' is not the brilliant flash of insight in the mind of the young Darwin of the Beagle. It is the compilation and distillation of years of observation and research. As such, 'Origins' doesn't have the fast pace of a popular mystery novel. Instead, it is the steady and progressive development of evidence leading to the conclusion that life is constantly and progressively changing...and here is where Darwin shook the world...that the direction of this change is shaped by the agency of natural selection.

    Natural Selection is precisely the sword that Darwin voluntarily fell on. Many people of the time, scientists and some theologians, had no particular problem with concepts of evolution over great expanses of time. Granted, evolutionary concepts were never popular with fundamentalist believers but others, more observant and more open about God's methods, reckoned that God could create life and advance life any way he wished.

    Natural Selection threw a monkey wrench into the mechanism of Divine Direction of evolution. With Natural Selection, evolutionary 'progress' became a machine that ran quite well all by itself. It didn't need the Divine Direction of an All Merciful God. All life, including man, could be a celestial accident pushed forward by the inevitable forces of selection.

    Was Darwin correct? Evidence of its basic validity is well documented in 'Origins". Besides, it makes imminent good sense, which is exactly why the concept took off like a rocket. It was logical and rational that more favored forms suceed over less favored forms--life progresses relentlessly forward...BUT...anything that makes such obvious sense should be suspect in principle. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that natural selection is the primary directive force behind evolution. It is a force, to be certain, but is it the PRIMARY force?

    My guess is 'no'. Evolution over eons involving countless species of bacteria, molds, plants and animals is an extraordinarily complex process. Natural Selection is one motivator but it won't be the only one. It may not even be the most important one. There has been a tendency in some circles to almost deify Darwin. I believe Darwin would have been appalled. Cannonization is a sure way of stifling scientific discussion and progress. Darwin was a man...an intelligent man, an extremely insightful man...but just a man. Just as Newtonian physics has been found lacking in some areas, 'Darwinism' will also prove to be a less than perfect philosophy. Even so, Darwin is, in my opinion, the most important scientific mind ever.

    Ron Braithwaite author of novels--'Skull Rack' and 'Hummingbird God'--on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico...more info
  • An interesting fable
    This book is a very interesting work of fiction. Its too bad that so many people take it seriously, though. Darwin had a great imagination, but with no scientific evidence to support it, its just a fable. I can't believe people are so gullible as to believe the things written in here. I'm judging it as a work of fiction. Its imaginative, but its lacking. One star....more info
  • You know what's an interesting fiction?
    You know what's an even more interesting fiction? The Bible. I look at reviews to know about the quality of the product, not the ignorance of people. Please don't come here and give a bad review to this well-crafted presentation of a great book because you're so insecure, you call evolution a fictionalized story. I find it hilarious that people who point out the "lack of evidence" for evolution are always Christians who believe the Bible is the word of God! Wow....more info