198th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth

by Anonymous on Feb. 12th, 2007

Charles Darwin, c. 1881: Source: Wikipedia Commons (Public Domain)
Charles Darwin, c. 1881: Source: Wikipedia Commons (Public Domain)
February 12th marks the 198th anniversary of the birth of British naturalist Charles Darwin, born on this date in 1809 at Shrewsbury, England. Darwin is best known for his highly influential and controversial book "On the Origin of Species", published in 1859. Darwin died on April 19, 1882.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

My favorite quote from On the Origin of Species:

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, formed."

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 11:40am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Interesting. Project Gutenberg offers free on-line versions of the 6th and 11th editions of this book (and perhaps others). These use the word "evolved" rather than "formed." May I ask what edition is this?

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 4:12pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Good question. I actually had this quote taped to the wall of my cube--a leftover from my days in the Paleontology Hall. I assume I lifted it from my copy of On the Origin of Species, but that's currently at home. I'll look, and let you know.

If it was a change, it's definitely an interesting one.

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 4:26pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I thought I could find an answer on line. I didn't. But I did find an interesting bit in Wikipedia referencing the same quotation:

"The Origin was first published on 24 November 1859, price fifteen shillings. The book was offered to booksellers at Murray's autumn sale on 22 November, and all available copies were taken up immediately. In total 1250 copies were printed, but after deducting presentation and review copies, and five for Stationers' Hall copyright, around 1,170 copies were available for sale.[9] The second edition of 3,000 copies was quickly brought out on 7 January 1860,[10] and added 'by the Creator' into the closing sentence, so that from then on it read 'There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.'"

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 4:39pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

My copy of On the Origin of Species disappeared in our move. I can only find The Voyage of the Beagle. But I also found This View of Life: The World of an Evolutionist, by George Gaylord Simpson, which I also love. The title, of course, is a reference to the Darwin quote, which is reprinted before the preface. And the quote is printed as Gene thought, not as I posted. And since we know that that last bit wasn't changed for the second edition, when the quote appeared as Gene says, I think we can safely say that for years the Paleo Hall staff had it wrong.

Good catch, Gene. (What an interesting mistake for someone in Paleo to have made!)

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 9:55pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Musta been a simple mistake -- I just did a Google search on the last 10 words of the quote (Google will only search 10 words max). Some 26,700 hits on the "evolved" version; only one on the "formed" version -- this site!

The "Creator" version gets 15,500 hits; the non-Creator version gets 13,300.

posted on Wed, 02/14/2007 - 11:05pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

That's a great quote, Liza. Thanks for posting it.

posted on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 1:11pm
bryan kennedy's picture

The Genomic Dub Collective's Origin of Species in Dub is, "a celebration of Darwin's masterpiece realized through the medium of reggae music". No kidding! Its actually really good and fun to listen to, if your into this style of music. Just picture a lazy reading of sections from Darwin's Origin of the species over an endlessly reverbed dub beats.

They also have one of the cooler mission statement/manifesto's I've read:

We aim to create a new musical genre, Genomic Dub, that celebrates recent successes in the field of genomics and evolutionary biology. We also aim to highlight common threads that link current scientific, artistic and social issues with the past (e.g. the Darwins' involvement in the anti-slavery movement), and to explore the potential for encoding macromolecular (protein and DNA) sequence data into dub music.

Listen to the Origin of the Species in Dub - free MP3s.

posted on Wed, 02/14/2007 - 10:46am
bryan kennedy's picture

More Darwin fun. LibriVox has just finished a free audiobook recording of The Origin of the Species. It's downloadable in all sorts of formats including MP3. LibriVox has a bunch of other non-fiction titles that you might enjoy listening to.

posted on Sat, 03/03/2007 - 12:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Thanks for the information

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 10:27pm

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