This is a free textbook that is offered by Amazon for reading on a Kindle. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the free Kindle app for smartphones and tablets. Download the app for your device and start reading for free.
‘This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers.’
'The story of Charles Darwin's life is largely the story of how he discovered and found evidence for his theory of natural selection Darwin's life fits a pattern that was typical for his era in England. He came from a well-established family of doctors, businessmen, and clergymen. He idled away his youth, eventually studying for the clergy at Cambridge. He returned from a long sea voyage, married, and settled in a quiet parsonage in the English countryside to nurse his health and work on science. His involvement in the question of evolution, however, makes his life emblematic of the ideological and cultural struggles going on around him. Evolution brought several questions of deep religious and cultural significance to a head. Among the divisive issues that evolution brought up were questions of how long the world had existed, whether or not humans were animals, and whether God was continuously intervening in the world or had created natural laws to govern it from a distance.
Although the story of evolution is largely one of scientific research and argument, it is also influenced by the social and cultural context within which Charles Darwin found himself. The first and most obvious enabling feature of Darwin's context was the status of England as an imperial power in the 19th century. With England's powerful navy and outposts from Tahiti to South America to Africa, an English ship had more and easier opportunities than any other nation's to explore the world. The voyage of the Beagle was actually part of England's empire-building effort. Without it, Darwin's theory of evolution would never have gotten off the ground.'