The Origin of Species sold out on the first day of its publication in 1859. It is the major book of the 19th century and one of the most readable and accessible of the great revolutionary works of the scientific imagination. Though, in fact, little read, most people know what it says—at least they think they do.
The Origin of Species was the first mature and persuasive work to explain how species change through the process of natural selection. Upon its publication, the book began to transform attitudes about society and religion and was soon used to justify the philosophies of communists, socialists, capitalists, and even Germany’s National Socialists. But the most quoted response came from Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s friend and also a renowned naturalist, who exclaimed, “How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!"
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“One of the most important contributions ever made to philosophic science.” (The New York Times)
THE biology book, essential reading -but a but tedious. Having it read to me was perfect. The sound and extensive reasoning by Darwin really came to life.
The work is not only interesting for people interested in biology or evolution theory.
The way Darwin addresses objections that can (and still are) be raised, the way he points out difficulties and weak points in his theory and discusses those are an example of the way scientist ought to explain and defend their theories.
I'm a molecular biologist by profession, so I thought it would be fun to listen to what is widely considered THE foundational work of modern biology. While interesting for me from a historical standpoint—it's truly breathtaking how complete a conceptual framework the Origin provided more than a century and a half ago, and how thoroughly Darwin anticipated and refuted the possible objections to his theory—unless you really want to hear all of the examples Mr. Darwin deploys to buttress his theory of natural selection, I would recommend a more recent treatment of the topic. Or listen through an abridged edition of The Origin of Species, such as the one narrated by Richard Dawkins. The language is, in most places, exceptionally dry, and the narrator doesn't do the material any favors. However, it is one of the great achievements of human reason, so if you are patient and able to pay close attention to the dense language, this will ultimately be worth your time.
Being fascinated by evolution and actively studying it, Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is simply a must-listen. Remind yourself of the time at which Darwin published this book and it becomes even more astounding. I would not recommend this book for anyone who is curious about evolution and natural selection as this can get very dry, very quickly. I would try an abridged version if you don't want to hear every little detail about the book.
The narrator left a lot to be desired and seemed to have to force his way through the book and did not at least sound like there was an interest on his part in the subject matter.
I'm sure this historically groundbreaking work is essential listening for people studying the subject, but as an interested layperson I should have gone with a more recent work studying the work of Darwin and its impact on our understanding of evolution.
This work is quite a repetitive overview of his research which though interesting, was not exactly easy to listen to and I found my attention wandering during the narration.
Near the top...probably in the top 5
Um, is this a trick question...there are no characters in On the Origin of Species, but many animals...I like birds I guess...
He did alright.
I greatly enjoyed this book and wish I would've read it while in college.
After reading Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" I can see why its been noted as one of the most significant books ever written - especially when it comes to scientific literature and observation. I've come to realize that many of Darwin's ideas are over emphasized, underestimated, and way ahead of his time.
To my point on being over emphasized, I have heard many assumptions by many people that assume Darwin wrote this book in a way that pushed evolution to being the explanation for all of life's origins. Many of his ideas and observations are either taken out of context or argued in a way that makes it seem like Darwin had all the answers. If people who openly debated evolution actually read this work, they would come to understand that many of his ideas make perfect sense within the context of his observations. He also dedicates a full chapter to problems with his theory - many of which are some of the arguments still made today.
To my point on being underestimated, I think that when people have taken Darwin's ideas out of context they are missing a grander point in that natural selection is a means by which we can explain evolution and change through time. I think that many people also misunderstand Darwin's observations in that he was able to use empirical evidence to support his ideas, which can be easily overlooked by individuals that attack his theory as an "opinion" or theory without explanation.
To my point on Darwin being ahead of his time, I found it extremely interesting that he was able to make predictions about tectonic plates and the movement of the earth's continents that allowed for the geographical distribution of species 50-60 years before scientists began working off of the theory of plate tectonics. I think many of his other observations have since been confirmed regarding inheritance, now that we have the technology to craft phylogentic trees and such - even to the extent of using mitochondrial DNA and rRNA to track ancestry.
Altogether I found this book fascinating and look forward to reading it again. I'll also look forward to checking out his other writings at some point. Part of me wishes I would've read this book in college when I would've had more opportunities to explore his ideas as well as take advantage of professors that could have spoken at great lengths on the subject.
Pros: Truly a classic when it comes to scientific observations and how science should be performed.
Cons: The chapter on hybrids was a bit dry and hard to follow.
Bottom line: Excellent read for anyone interested in life's origins or how there is commonality among life forms.
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