Darwin, the revolutionaries and man’s place in nature - Honors 350 Fall 2012
Wayne G. Landis
Director Institute of Environmental Toxicology
Huxley College of the Environment
Email is a great way to contact me, be specific with your questions or comments and I usually can get right back to you.
No office hours, make an appointment by calling 650-6136 or sending me an email.
Class Time: CH 133 Tuesday and Thursday 2-3:20 PM
In the fall of 1858 Darwin was on the brink of a series of events that would lead to the initial publication outlining evolution by natural selection. He had just received the letter by Alfred Wallace outlining evolution by natural selection and felt that he was about to be pre-empted. His youngest daughter had died from a fever, severing him from any reluctance to accept a world without a divine plan. His abstract, now known as Origin of Species, was published on November 24, 1859. This book represents a landmark in our understanding of nature, and has influenced western culture ever since.
Darwin did not do this alone. His major supporters in England were Thomas H. Huxley and Joseph Hooker. Both had made similar voyages of discovery as young men that revolutionized their world-view. Alfred Wallace, co-discover of evolution by natural selection, became part of this three person Armada. In a decade this team with Darwin at its core overturned the dominant paradigm of the day and entrenched into biological thought. By the early 20th century evolution by natural selection was the accepted mechanism for speciation.
Each of these men participated in dangerous voyages or trips of discovery in their early 20s and each trip altered their world-view. This course is a story of how this happened and why it is important to understanding how science works to this day.
McCalman, Ian. 2009. Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution. W. W. Norton and Company pp 422.This is the first book to tie together the four characters responsible for the discovery of evolution by natural selection. McCalman does a great job of comparing and contrasting the lives of these men and the voyages of discovery that they took.
Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin Voyaging. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. pp 605. This is one of the best biographies of a scientist that I have read. It begins with Darwin's beginnings and stops as Origin of Species is begun. Many of you will recognize C. Darwin as a typical college student in an era as foreign to us as any culture currently on earth. Janet Browne captures the college student, the fledgling scientist and his struggles for the formulation of evolution by natural selection in a very readable manner.
Charles Darwin. 2009.The Origin of Species. Penquin Classics. This is just one of many reproductions of the book, and is a copy of the first printing of the book, and the one I like best. The term "survival of the fittest" was not Darwin’s term and did not appear in the book until one of the final original printings.