Darwinism and Other Essays
Macmillan and Company, 1879 - 283 páginas
"In the present age, when the number of scientific inquirers has greatly increased and the interchange of thoughts has become rapid and constant, it takes much less time for a new generalisation to make its way into people's minds. It is now barely eighteen years since Mr. Darwin's views on the origin of species were announced in a book which purported to be only the rough preliminary sketch of a greater work in course of preparation. But, though greeted at the beginning with ridicule and opprobrium, the theory of natural selection has already won a complete and overwhelming victory. One could count on one's fingers the number of eminent naturalists who still decline to adopt it, and the hesitancy of these appears to be determined in the main by theological or metaphysical, and therefore not strictly relevant, objections. But it is not simply that the great body of naturalists have accepted the Darwinian theory: it has become part and parcel of their daily thoughts, an element in every investigation which cannot be got rid of. With a tacit consent that is almost unanimous, the classificatory relations among plants and animals have come to be recognised as representing degrees of genetic kinship. One needs but to read constantly such scientific journals as Nature, or to peer into the proceedings of scientific societies, to see how thoroughly all contemporary inquiry is permeated by the conception of natural selection. The record of research, whether in embryology, in palaeontology, or in the study of the classification and distribution of organised beings, has come to be the registration of testimony in support of Mr. Darwin's hypothesis. So deeply, indeed, has this mighty thinker impressed his thoughts on the mind of the age that in order fully to unfold the connotations of the word "Darwinism" one could hardly stop short of making an index to the entire recent literature of the organic sciences. The sway of natural selection in biology is hardly less complete than that of gravitation in astronomy; and thus it is probably true that no other scientific discoverer has within his own lifetime obtained so magnificent a triumph as Mr. Darwin. The comparison of the doctrine of natural selection with the Newtonian theory is made advisedly, as I wish to call attention to some differences in the aspect of the proofs by which two such different hypotheses are established"--Book. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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