Saturday, February 13, 2016

Asa Gray's 1860 review of Origin of the Species

Asa Gray was one of the USA's foremost botanist of the time and corresponded with Darwin before the publication of Origin and became friends through letters. Unsurprising then, that the review in The Atlantic is largely favorable. I love the language and Gray is a skilled writer. I didn't know that Darwin's nemesis Sir Richard Owen claimed to have come up with a better theory of species origins. 

One of things I stress in BIO 225 is the power of congruence between theories and Gray reiterates this: Lyell's gradualism (though Lyell wasn't the originator) meshes incredibly well with Darwin's theory. Alternative explanations, such as creationism, would need to mesh into Lyell or would need to rewrite geology and biology. Good luck with that. 

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