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On the Origin of Species

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On the Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

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’From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production of the higher animals, directly follows’ Written for a general readership, On the Origin of Species sold out on the day of its publication and has remained in print ever since. Instantly, and persistently, controversial, it transformed scientific thinking about all life on earth. Before the Origin, accepted thought held that life was the static and perfect creation of God. By a single, systematic argument Darwin called this view into question. His ideas have since affected public perception of everything from religion to economics. William Bynum’s introduction discusses Darwin’s life, the publication and reception of On the Origin of Species, and subsequent development of its major themes. This edition also includes brief biographies of some of the most important scientific thinkers leading up to and surrounding the Origin, suggested further reading, notes and a chronology. With an introduction and notes by WILLIAM BYNUM

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