Archimedes by E. J. Dijksterhuis

By E. J. Dijksterhuis

Dijksterhuis E.J., Dikshoorn t.C., with a brand new bibliographic essay Wilbur R. Knorr. Archimedes (PUP, 1987., 5000)(ISBN 0691084211)(600dpi)(T)(460s)

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4 The fossil record as known at the time of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (Richard Owen, Palaeontology, or, A Systematic Summary of Extinct Animals and their Geological Relations. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1861, p. qxd 18/12/2007 14:25 Page 45 inherited at a corresponding age. This process, whilst it leaves the embryo almost unaltered, continually adds, in the course of successive generations, more and more difference to the adult. (p. 338) Thus the embryo comes to be left as a sort of picture, preserved by nature, of the ancient and less modified condition of each animal.

We are animals. End of argument. Most significantly, the very first (private notebook) jottings that we have dealing unambiguously with natural selection, from late in 1838, apply the mechanism to humans – and to their mental abilities, into the bargain. In the Origin, wanting first to get his basic theory on the table as it were, Darwin merely made very brief reference to humankind, so that no one could think he was dodging the issue. “In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches.

We must have evolved and for essentially the same reasons as other animals. HMS Beagle carried, and returned to the tip of South America (Tierra del Fuego), three natives, who had been taken on a previous voyage and educated in England. Within a very short time, these three, who had apparently acquired a solid veneer of British culture, reverted to their original state of complete savagery – at least as judged by the young ship’s naturalist. Darwin learnt a lesson that he never forgot. The line dividing the most refined of humans and the most degraded of brutes is very fine indeed.

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