Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes

By Randal Keynes

"A profoundly relocating ebook . . . itself a piece of genius." (Publishing information, united kingdom) In a chest of drawers bequeathed by means of his grandmother, writer Randal Keynes chanced on the writing case of Charles Darwin's liked daughter Annie, who died on the age of ten. in the field, one of the regular keepsakes of a Victorian girlhood, have been the notes Darwin stored all through Annie's disease and the eloquent and devastating eulogy he brought at her funeral. For Keynes, a great-great grandson of Darwin, Annie's writing case grew to become the purpose of access into the tale of Darwin's kinfolk existence and its impression at the improvement of his progressive realizing of man's position in nature. Keynes takes us into the family's inner most global and attracts on a wealth of formerly unseen fabric to inform the tale of Darwin's domestic existence and his deepest fight along with his religion. really attention-grabbing is the disclosing portrait of Emma, Darwin's wife-a advanced and freethinking lady, in lots of methods prior to her time. As Darwin's theories proceed to form loads of our pondering the roots of human nature, Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution finds the non-public event from which he drew his such a lot deeply held rules.

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He suggested that “to the wisest man the system of Nature . . ” Although he was often critical of their work, many men of science shared his view. Professor Henslow befriended Charles; he recognised his promise as a naturalist and encouraged him to take up geology as a serious pursuit. Professor Sedgwick was planning a field trip in North Wales to examine some problems in the geological history of the area, and Professor Henslow persuaded him to take Charles along as his apprentice. Charles mastered the use of his “clinometer” for measuring slopes with careful practice on his bedroom furniture, and spent a week in August walking with Professor Sedgwick in the Welsh mountains.

He noted that if islands close to each other were inhabited by distinct species which were nevertheless closely linked and not found elsewhere, it would be worth making a special examination of the “zoology of archipelagoes . . ” That was the start of his thinking about change and evolution. At the time, though, he still accepted the idea that God had brought all forms of life into existence by separate acts of creation. At that point he had no idea where his conjectures would lead him. [30 ] P T E RO D A C T Y L P I E • • • During the voyage, two experiences which had nothing to do with his work as a naturalist shook Charles deeply.

Each had different points to make about the nature of the link between man and animal, but Charles found little of value in the ideas of either. ” They recognised that according to the best principles of comparative anatomy, humans were close to apes and monkeys in almost all anatomical details, but the human mind was so utterly superior that the anatomists refused to group us with our animal cousins. The naturalist William Swainson spoke for many when he urged the [40 ] P T E RO D A C T Y L P I E “innate repugnance, disgust, and abhorrence, in every human being, ignorant or enlightened, savage or civilised” against the admission of any relationship between humans and other mammals.

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