VIDEO: Piers Hale on Charles Darwin

Piers Hale, who teaches the history of science at the University of Oklahoma, is currently studying Charles Kinglsey’s The Water Babies:

The controversial nineteenth-century Anglican Priest, Charles Kingsley, who is today best remembered for his charming children’s story Water Babies (1863), arguably deserves a prominent place in the history of Darwinism in England. Kingsley, an amateur naturalist and geologist of some repute, was a correspondent and friend of Darwin and his closest circle. Kingsley gave Darwin his unreserved support from the first, and in doing so significantly advanced Darwinian science in England in ways and among people that Thomas Huxley, Darwin’s agnostic Bulldog could not. Importantly, although it is usually to the Harvard botanist Asa Gray that historians have turned in their consideration of the philosophical and metaphysical implications of Darwinian selection, it was Kingsley who accepted the thoroughly contingent nature of evolution by natural selection.

See his recent article, “Water Babies: an evolutionary parable,” in the December 2008 issue of Endeavour. Hale is also part of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project.

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