Literature A Darwin Selection

ISBN 13: 9780006863212

A Darwin Selection

9780006863212: A Darwin Selection

Scientists around the world across disciplines ranging from economics via psychology to computing are still grappling with the implications of Darwin's revolutionary ideas about the evolution of life. Those ideas are scattered across the many large volumes of his writings (Darwin was a typically prolific Victorian), but the most telling, most pivotal of them have been chosen and gathered in this book, and they are put into context and explained by one of the leading disciples of Darwin of our own day, Mark Ridley. Mark Ridley also wrote "Evolution" and "Problems of Evolution".

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Charles Darwin, almost uniquely among great scientists, wrote for the general public. For this 'Darwin Selection', Mark Ridley has chosen the key passages from Darwin's nine most important books, and for each of them he has filled in the context of the selection, annotated the few obscure points, and drawn on the latest Darwin scholarship to explain their history.

From the 'Origin of Species', we have Darwin's beautifully clear exposition of natural selection and of the case against creationism; from the 'Descent of Man' we have his explanation of human intelligence and morality, and his theory of sex differences; and from 'Coral Reefs' we have his wholly original theory of the origin of coral atolls – a theory that is still widely accepted today. We see him as an experimentalist, unveiling the loves of the plants; as a travel writer describing 'that little world within itself', the Galapagos Islands; and as a natural philosopher, serenely calculating how the actions of worms over long periods emerge as a geological force and the agency of archaeological preservation. 'A Darwin Selection' contains many memorable details too; we can rediscover, for instance, the rudimentary tip of the human ear – the curiosity that finally introduced evolution to the polite conversation of the Victorian sitting-room…

“Ridley’s selection of Darwiniana – as befits his reputation as one of the most widely read of all evolutionary biologists – is a first-rate one.”
STEVE JONES, author of 'The Language of the Genes'

“Ridley’s compilation is most welcome. I hope that he will succeed in his quest to bring Darwin closer, especially to students – whetting their appetites and inspiring them to explore Darwin further on their own.”
NILES ELDREDGE, 'Nature'

“A selection made with care and understanding”
GEORGE C. WILLIAMS, 'Quarterly Review of Biology'

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