The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution

The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution, edited by Chris Lynch:

What does evolution mean? Marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species, The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution is bursting with stories, poetry, and full-page artwork about the meaning of evolution. From science fiction and fantasy, to comedy and horror, to fairy tales and literary fiction, this anthology has a story for everyone.

An international lineup of more than 40 contributors includes Sean Williams, Brian Stableford, Patricia Russo, Carlos Hernandez, Jetse de Vries, Christopher Green, Bruce Boston, and Emily Ballou. Dark, whimsical, and shot through with wonder, The Tangled Bank explores the universe Charles Darwin revealed.

Take a peek inside and read a free short story from the collection, Darwin’s Daughter, a darkly beautiful tale about Charles Darwin by 2009 Aurealis Award winner Christopher Green. You can also read the complete introduction to the anthology and check out the full table of contents.

Some links…

Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Gishosaurs

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution wins the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize

VIDEO – The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Sandwalk: Dispatches from the Evolution Wars

Sandwalk: The National Science Foundation Version of “Understanding Evolution”

Galapagos Live: Introducing Galapagos 2.0 & The Beagle Project Blog: In Galapagos!

The Red Notebook: People want to see the Beagle

Two interviews with Laelaps’ Brian Switek, author of the soon-to-be-released Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

Clips from the new documentary First Life from David Attenborough, plus:

History of geology: Dragons and Geology

BBC Audio Slideshow: Jurassic woman (Mary Anning)

History of Science Centre’s blog: A note on transactions and Ubi Crookes Ibi Lux

The Bubble Chamber: Can History and Philosophy of Science be Applied in Socially Relevant Ways? and Planet Earth through Disney’s Lens

From the Hands of Quacks: For the Maker of the Stars: The Cultural Reception of Print

Whewell’s Ghost: Mr. X

History of science blog: Evocative objects

Darwin and Gender: The Blog: The Reluctant Bride Groom?

Darwin Correspondence Project: Alison Pearn to discuss ‘Darwin’s Women’ at Wesleyan University

Charlie’s Playhouse blog: Irresistible contest entry

Natural History @ 100: The Smithsonian/Roosevelt African Expedition 1909-1910

Ptak Science Books: Phantom in the Opera: Questions about Darwin and Einstein and Music

Robert Kohler reviews Steven Shapin’s Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority for Science

Melanie Keene reviews Peter Bowler’s Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain in Centaurus

Cambridge Trip #9: Darwin’s Room at Christ’s College

Monday, 13 July 2009

As I wrote in the last Cambridge post, historian of science John van Wyhe treated Richard and I to a look at the restored Darwin room at Christ’s College, although it was closed that day. Darwin used this room from 1828 to 1831, having first stayed in a room above the tobacconist’s on Sidney Street, the site now occupied by the store Boot’s the chemist (see here); and afterward the Beagle voyage in a room on Fitzwilliam Street (see here).

I shared previous photos from Christ’s College in this post, so here I will show you my shots from Darwin’s room and another statue on the college grounds:

Courtyard below Darwins Room at Christs College, University of Cambridge

Courtyard below Darwin's room at Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Sign for Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Sign for Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Sign for Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Sign for Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwins room, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin's room, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwin Bust by William Couper (replica), Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin bust by William Couper (replica), Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwin Bust by William Couper (replica), Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin bust by William Couper (replica), Christ's College, University of Cambridge

About the original bust:

The original bronze was commissioned by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) in 1909 and was given to the AmericanMuseum of Natural History to inaugurate its Darwin Hall of Invertebrate Zoology.  The original bust has since been returned to the offices of the NYAS where it resides today. A replica was cast by Couper in 1909 and given to Christ’s College,University of Cambridge, where Darwin studied.  The March 1909 issue of The American Museum Journal stated that “The bust is pronounced by those who knewDarwin personally and by his sons in England… the best portrait in the round of the great naturalist ever made.”

Darwin at Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin at Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Darwin Genealogy, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Darwin Genealogy, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

The Darwin Poems by Emily Ballou, Christs College, University of Cambridge

The Darwin Poems by Emily Ballou, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

I quoted from the poem “To be a seed” by Emily Ballou at the beginning of my conference talk (which was about Darwin’s seed dispersal experiments):

Late at night he imagined the dispersal of seeds
across seas, could imagine the distances
in the instances of finches
strewn by wind and wing
but how did those fragile seeds swim?
Were they carried in the guts of ducks
or trapped like bubbles in an ice floe
floating until slow snow melt released them?
Did they hook like barnacles to the wood of rafts?
And what of plants? And what of snake eggs
wholly floating, bobbing the waves
to new places? And once there, once born,
once cracked open,
how did one live on entirely foreign islands?
By wits? By chance? By sheer
stubborn determination
to be?

After Christ’s College, Richard and I bid farewell (he had to get back home for he worked the next day), and I continued to explore Cambridge.

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge

I popped back in the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences to get something for my son at their gift shop, but it was closed. So I looked around some more:

Plesiosaur, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Plesiosaur, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Invertebrate fossils, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Invertebrate fossils, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Ichthyosaur, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Ichthyosaur, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge

Christs Pieces, University of Cambridge

Christ's Pieces, University of Cambridge

Busses, Cambridge, England

Busses, Cambridge, England

Grand Arcade, Cambridge, England

Grand Arcade, Cambridge, England

Sign for Library Central, Cambridge, England

Sign for Library Central, Cambridge, England

Candy, Grand Arcade, Cambridge, England

Candy, Grand Arcade, Cambridge, England

Kings College, University of Cambridge

King's College, University of Cambridge

Kings Parade, University of Cambridge

King's Parade, University of Cambridge

Senate House, University of Cambridge

Senate House, University of Cambridge

Braille Map, University of Cambridge

Braille map, University of Cambridge

Heffers Bookstore, Cambridge, England

Heffers bookstore, Cambridge, England

I picked up Mark Pallen’s The Rough Guide to Evolution at Heffer’s, along with a book for my son and some postcards for family.

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Punts to the River, University of Cambridge

Punts to the River, University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Karen James had pointed out to me at King’s College how meticulous the grass lawns are kept in the colleges.

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

Fitzwilliam Street, University of Cambridge

Fitzwilliam Street, University of Cambridge

Sheeps Green, Cambridge, England

Sheep's Green, Cambridge, England

Fairly close to my bed and breakfast was The Granta, with an Italian restaurant I decided to have dinner at.

Punting Boats, The Granta, Cambridge England

Punting Boats, The Granta, Cambridge England

Punting boats, The Granta, Cambridge, England

Punting boats, The Granta, Cambridge, England

Bella Italia, Cambridge, England

Bella Italia, Cambridge, England

Then I went to bed. One more Cambridge post to come, which will actually be about my quick stop at the Natural History Museum in London while on my way to Heathrow Airport.

You can view all the photos from my trip here, if you feel so inclined. Some of Richard’s Cambridge photos are here.

PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #8: Darwin’s Microscope at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science; Cambridge Trip #7: Beetles, Finches and Barnacles at the University Museum of ZoologyCambridge Trip #6: Darwin the Geologist at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth SciencesCambridge Trip #5: Darwin Groupies Explore CambridgeCambridge Trip #4: Darwin in the Field Conference, Pt. 2Cambridge Trip #3: Darwin in the Field ConferenceCambridge Trip #2: Finding My WayCambridge Trip #1: Traveling

Recent & Forthcoming Darwin Books

Darwin’s Dogs: How Darwin’s Pets Helped Form a World-changing Theory of Evolution by Emma Townshend:

If you have ever looked at a dog waiting to go for a walk and thought there was something age-old and almost human about his sad expression, you’re not alone; Charles Darwin did exactly the same. But Darwin didn’t just stop at feeling that there was some connection between humans and dogs. English gentleman naturalist, great pioneer of the theory of evolution and incurable dog-lover, Darwin used his much-loved dogs as evidence in his continuing argument that all animals including human beings, descended from one common ancestor. From his fondly written letters home enquiring after the health of family pets to his profound scientific consideration of the ancestry of the domesticated dog, Emma Townshend looks at Darwin’s life and work from a uniquely canine perspective. 

Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (3rd ed.) by Gillian Beer:

Gillian Beer’s classic Darwin’s Plots, one of the most influential works of literary criticism and cultural history of the last quarter century, is here reissued in an updated edition to coincide with the anniversary of Darwin’s birth and of the publication of The Origin of Species. Its focus on how writers, including George Eliot, Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hardy, responded to Darwin’s discoveries and to his innovations in scientific language continues to open up new approaches to Darwin’s thought and to its effects in the culture of his contemporaries. This third edition includes an important new essay that investigates Darwin’s concern with consciousness across all forms of organic life. It demonstrates how this fascination persisted throughout his career and affected his methods and discoveries. With an updated bibliography reflecting recent work in the field, this book will retain its place at the heart of Victorian studies.

The Voyage of the “Beagle”: Journals and Remarks [ABRIDGED Audio CD] by Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins:

A definite precursor to “On The Origin of Species”, this non-fiction travel journal is a fascinating record of Darwin’s observations of far-flung civilisations and the flora, fauna and human life he found there. His journey took in: Santiago – Cape Verde Islands; Saint Peter and Paul Rocks; Rio de Janeiro; Maldonado; Rio Negro to Bahia Blanca; Bahia Blanca; Bahia Blanca to Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires and St. Fe; Banda Oriental and Patagonia; Santa Cruz, Patagonia, and The Falkland Islands; Tierra del Fuego; Strait of Magellan; Climate of the Southern Coasts; Central Chile; Chiloe Island and Chonos Islands; Concepcion: Great Earthquake; Passage of the Cordillera; Northern Chile and Peru Galapagos; Archipelago Tahiti and New Zealand; Australia; Keeling Island – Coral Formations; and Mauritius to England. Darwin spent much of the voyage exploring on-land rather than at sea, and his explorations led to the beginnings of ‘evolutionary’ theories. He observed, for example, how finches’ beaks varied and seemed localized in shape and form to particular islands or climates. Thus emerged the notion that a kind of ‘natural selection’ rather than a divine power may be responsible – each creature adapting physically to its particular environment over generations. This is an incredibly important and enlightening non-fiction work. 

Darwin in Scotland: Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment by J.F. Derry:

This is the first book on Darwin and Darwinism that wholly concentrates on his time spent in Scotland and the key contributions to his future insights made by the Scottish Enlightenment and the University of Edinburgh. Darwin developed his theories because he attended Edinburgh University – although he participated little in formal tuition, it was through interaction with his tutors, peers and extracurricular groups that he was exposed to an ethos of naturalistic philosophy rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment and, by direct descent, the Ancient Greeks. If he had bypassed Scotland and gone straight to Cambridge, his education would have been theologically-based and unlikely to have given him the perspective that led him to question the prevailing doctrine. It is also the first book to explore the subsequent impact of his work on modern day biologists at the University of Edinburgh. How far have we moved on since Darwin made his discoveries? Are his theories still relevant to modern-day science? Can we say if they will be relevant in the future? And, what should we be teaching future generations? The relevance of Darwin in debate is as important and volatile now as when “The Origin of Species” was first published a century and a half ago. Science and religion seem to have reached an impasse. Intelligent Design, the conflicting view to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, is the new kid on the block that the science gang wants nothing to do with. All the major issues in evolutionary study are covered here, through interviews with scientists, educators and creationists. They include some of the world leaders in the biological sciences at Edinburgh University, and they are most revealing about what Darwin has meant to them and their work. 

The Darwins of Shrewsbury by Andrew Pattison:

Many people have written biographies of Charles Darwin, but the story of his family and roots in Shrewsbury is little known. This book, containing original research, fills that gap. The key player is Charles’ father, Dr Robert Darwin, a larger-than-life character whose financial acumen enabled Charles to spend his whole life on research unencumbered by money worries. Through Susannah, Charles’ mother, we are introduced to the Wedgwood family, whose history was so closely interwoven with the Darwins. The stories of Charles’ five siblings are detailed, and there is a wealth of local material, such as information on Shrewsbury School and its illustrious headmaster, Samuel Butler. The book is fully illustrated with contemporary and modern pictures, and will be of interest to anyone wanting to discover more about the development of Shrewsbury’s most famous son.

Darwin in the Archives: Papers on Charles Darwin from the Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History and Archives of Natural History, edited by Charles Nelson and Duncan M. Porter:

A Special Publication of the journal Archives of Natural History to coincide with the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth.

Philosophy After Darwin: Classic and Contemporary Readings by Michael Ruse

Charles Darwin: After the Origin by Sheila Ann Dean:

What did Charles Darwin do during the 22 years after the Origin of Species was published? “Charles Darwin: After the Origin,” a new book by Darwin scholar Sheila Ann Dean, answers that question and many others about the work Darwin undertook while controversies instigated by the Origin stirred the Victorian world. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the international Darwin Day celebration, the book serves as a companion piece to the to the collaborative 2009 exhibition at Cornell University Library and the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI). Dean is a guest curator and visiting scholar at the Library, and her book is published by Cornell University Library and PRI.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller and Nicholle Rager Fuller

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins:

In a brilliant follow-up to his blockbuster The God Delusion, Dawkins lays out the evidence for evolution. 

Darwin in Ilkley by Mike Dixon and Gregory Radick

Voyage Round the World: Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections in Cambridge University by Alison M. Pearn

Darwin: Art and the Search for Origins:

2009 is a double jubilee for Charles Darwin (1809-1882). The world celebrates his 200th birthday and also the 150th anniversary of the first edition of his epoch-making title On the Origin of Species. This book revolutionized the knowledge of biology and led to hot debates between scientists around the world. The present work for the first time documents the influence of Darwinism to the fine arts. The famous Frankfurt museum Schirn presents 150 paintings, drawings and lithographs as well as rare and ex?ceptional documentations. The exhibition includes works by Frederic Church, Frantiek Kupka, Odilon Redon, George Frederic Watts, Arnold Bcklin, Max Ernst and many more thus covering a period from 1859 to the middle of the 20th century.

Darwin’s Notebook: The Life, Times, and Discoveries of Charles Robert Darwin by Jonathan Clements:

Darwin’s Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution by John Holmes:

Darwin’s Bards is the first comprehensive study of how poets have responded to the ideas of Charles Darwin in over fifty years. John Holmes argues that poetry can have a profound impact on how we think and feel about the Darwinian condition. Is a Darwinian universe necessarily a godless one? If not, what might Darwinism tell us about the nature of God? Is Darwinism compatible with immortality, and if not, how can we face our own deaths or the loss of those we love? What is our own place in the Darwinian universe, and our ecological role here on earth? How does our kinship with other animals affect how we see them? How does the fact that we are animals ourselves alter how we think about our own desires, love and sexual morality? All told, is life in a Darwinian universe grounds for celebration or despair? Holmes explores the ways in which some of the most perceptive and powerful British and American poets of the last hundred-and-fifty years have grappled with these questions, from Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning and Thomas Hardy, through Robert Frost and Edna St Vincent Millay, to Ted Hughes, Thom Gunn, Amy Clampitt and Edwin Morgan. Reading their poetry, we too can experience what it can mean to live in a Darwinian world. Written in an accessible and engaging style, and aimed at scientists, theologians, philosophers and ecologists as well as poets, critics and students of literature, Darwin’s Bards is a timely intervention into the heated debates over Darwin’s legacy for religion, ecology and the arts. 

In the Wake of the Beagle: Science in the Southern Oceans from the Age of Darwin, edited by Nigel Erskine and Iain McCalman:

This book shows the importance of the southern oceans to Darwin’s theories. Publication coincides with the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of publication of “On the Origin of Species”. This highly illustrated and beautifully designed full-colour book will examine Darwin (and his contemporaries) from a very modern perspective, linking their voyages with today’s scientific developments and debates about climate change, ecology and creationism. Strange as it may seem, the long wake of the tiny HMS Beagle stretches from the nineteenth century into the future of our globe. Charles Darwin spent only three months in Australia, but Australasia and the Pacific contributed to his evolutionary thinking in a variety of ways. One hundred and fifty years after the publication of “On the Origin of Species” the internationally acclaimed authors of “In the Wake of the Beagle” provide new insights into the world of collecting, surveying and cross-cultural exchange in the antipodes in the age of Darwin. They explore the groundbreaking work of Darwin and his contemporaries Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley and Alfred Wallace, examine the complex trading relationships of the region’s daring voyagers, and take a very modern look at today’s cutting-edge scientific research, at a time when global warming has raised the stakes to an unprecedented level.

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution by Carl Zimmer:

The Tangled Bank is the first textbook about evolution intended for the general reader. Zimmer, an award-winning science writer, takes readers on a fascinating journey into the latest discoveries about evolution. In the Canadian Arctic, paleontologists unearth fossils documenting the move of our ancestors from sea to land. In the outback of Australia, a zoologist tracks some of the world’s deadliest snakes to decipher the 100-million-year evolution of venom molecules. In Africa, geneticists are gathering DNA to probe the origin of our species. In clear, non-technical language, Zimmer explains the central concepts essential for understanding new advances in evolution, including natural selection, genetic drift, and sexual selection. He demonstrates how vital evolution is to all branches of modern biology–from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the analysis of the human genome. Richly illustrated with over 300 illustrations and photographs, The Tangled Bank is essential reading for anyone who wants understand the history of life on Earth.

Darwin’s Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution by Philip Prodger:

Darwin’s Camera tells the extraordinary story of how Charles Darwin not only changed the course of science; he forever changed the way pictures are seen and made. In his illustrated masterpiece, Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1871), Darwin introduced the idea of using photographs to illustrate a scientific theory–his was the first photographically-illustrated science book ever published. Using photographs to depict fleeting expressions of emotion–laughter, crying, anger, and so on–as they flit across a person’s face, he managed to produce dramatic images at a time when photography was famously slow and awkward. The things he wanted to photograph changed too quickly to be photographed easily, and he struggled to get the pictures he needed. So he scoured the galleries, bookshops, and photographic studios of London, looking for pictures to satisfy his demand for expressive imagery. He finally settled on one the giants of photographic history, the eccentric art photographer Oscar Rejlander, to make his pictures. It was a peculiar choice. Darwin was known for his meticulous science, while Rejlander was notorious for altering and manipulating photographs. Their remarkable collaboration, and the lengths they went to to create the pictures Darwin needed, is one of the astonishing revelations in Darwin’s Camera. Darwin never studied art formally, but he was always interested in art and often drew on art knowledge as his work unfolded. He studied art as a student and befriended the artists on the voyage of HMS Beagle, he visited art museums to examine figures and animals in paintings, he made friends with artists, and read art history books. He befriended the celebrated animal painters Joseph Wolf and Briton Riviere, and accepted the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner as a trusted guide. He corresponded with legendary photographers Lewis Caroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, and G.-B. Duchenne de Boulogne, as well as many lesser lights. Darwin’s Camera provides the first examination ever of these relationships and their effect on Darwin’s work, and how Darwin, in turn, shaped the history of art. 

The Darwin Experience: The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution by John van Wyhe

But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition, edited by Robert T. Pennock and Michael Ruse:

Updated Edition On December 20, 2005, a U.S. district court in Dover, Pennsylvania, ruled in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board that teaching Intelligent Design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The judge explained that Intelligent Design is not science and “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.” This case was just the latest attempt by proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism to undermine the teaching of evolution in high school biology classes. The emotionally charged controversy, which has been going on since the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, shows no sign of letting up. This excellent collection, now fully updated, will inform readers about the history of the debate and bring philosophical clarity to the complex arguments on both sides. The editors, both of whom served as expert witnesses in two different court cases, start by chronicling the heated discussion that surrounded the publication of Darwin’s famous work. In the next part, they present articles that explicate modern evolutionary theory, including philosophical critiques by Karl Popper and others. The selections that follow discuss so-called Creation Science, focusing in particular on the 1981 McLean court case in Arkansas. In the final section, the philosophical issues surrounding the distinction between religion and science in the most recent Kitzmiller case are considered. This outstanding overview of an important contemporary debate shows that philosophy has a vital role to play in major decisions affecting education and interpretations of science and religion. 

Charles Darwin’s Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle:

This is the first full edition of the notebooks used by Darwin during his epic voyage in the Beagle. It contains transcriptions of all fifteen notebooks, which now survive as some of the most precious documents in the history of science. The notebooks record the entire range of Darwin’s interests and activities during the Beagle journey, with observations on geology, zoology, botany, ecology, barometer and thermometer readings, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology and linguistics, along with maps, drawings, financial records, shopping lists, reading notes, essays and personal diary entries. Some of Darwin’s critical discoveries and experiences, made famous through his own publications, are recorded in their most immediate form in the notebooks, and published here for the first time. The notebook texts are accompanied by full editorial apparatus and introductions explaining Darwin’s actions at each stage, focussing on discoveries that were pivotal to convincing him that life on Earth had evolved.

Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution by David F. Prindle:

Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould was, until his death in 2002, America’s best-known natural scientist. His monthly essays in Natural History magazine were widely read by both scientists and ordinary citizens with an interest in science. One of his books won the National Book Award, and another was a bestseller in three countries. Philosopher Daniel Dennett proclaimed him “America’s evolutionist laureate.” While many people have written about Gould’s science, pro and con, and a few have written about his politics, this is the first book to explore his science and politics as a consistent whole. Political scientist David F. Prindle argues that Gould’s mind worked along two tracks simultaneously –the scientific and the political. All of his concepts and arguments were bona fide contributions to science, but all of them also contained specifically political implications. As one example among many, Prindle cites Gould’s controversial argument that if the “tape of evolution” could be rewound and then allowed to unspool again, nothing resembling human beings would likely evolve. This was part of his larger thesis that people are not the result of a natural tendency toward perfection in evolution, but the result of chance, or as Gould put it, contingency. As Prindle notes, Gould s scientific ideas often sought to attack human hubris, and thus prepare the ground for the political argument that people should treat nature with more restraint. Prindle evaluates Gould’s concepts of punctuated equilibrium (developed with Niles Eldredge), “spandrels”, and “exaptation”; his stance on sociobiology, on human inequality and intelligence testing; his pivotal role in the culture wars between science and fundamentalist Christianity; and claims that he was a closet Marxist, which Prindle disputes. He continually emphasizes that in all these debates Gould’s science cannot be understood without an understanding of his politics. He concludes by considering whether Gould offered a new theory of evolution. Anyone with an interest in one of America’s great scientists, or in paleontology, evolutionary theory, or intellectual history will find Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution to be a fascinating exploration of the man and his ideas. 

Defining Darwin: Essays on the History and Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology by Michael Ruse:

Michael Ruse is one of the foremost Charles Darwin scholars of our time. For forty years he has written extensively on Darwin, the scientific revolution that his work precipitated, and the nature and implications of evolutionary thinking for today. Now, in the year marking the two hundredth anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of his masterpiece, On the “Origin of Species”, Ruse re-evaluates the legacy of Darwin in this collection of new and recent essays. Beginning with pre-Darwinian concepts of organic origins proposed by the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant, Ruse shows the challenges that Darwin’s radically different idea faced. He then discusses natural selection as a powerful metaphor; Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution; Herbert Spencer’s contribution to evolutionary biology; the synthesis of Mendelian genetics and natural selection; the different views of Julian Huxley and George Gaylord Simpson on evolutionary ethics; and the influence of Darwin’s ideas on literature. In the final section, Ruse brings the discussion up to date with a consideration of ‘evolutionary development’ (dubbed ‘evo devo’) as a new evolutionary paradigm and the effects of Darwin on religion, especially the debate surrounding Intelligent Design theory. Ruse offers a fresh perspective on topics old and new, challenging the reader to think again about the nature and consequences of what has been described as the biggest idea ever conceived.

Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America by Cannon Schmitt:

When the young Charles Darwin landed on the shores of Tierra del Fuego in 1832, he was overwhelmed: nothing had prepared him for the sight of what he called ‘an untamed savage’. The shock he felt, repeatedly recalled in later years, definitively shaped his theory of evolution. In this original and wide-ranging study, Cannon Schmitt shows how Darwin and other Victorian naturalists transformed such encounters with South America and its indigenous peoples into influential accounts of biological and historical change. Redefining what it means to be human, they argue that the modern self must be understood in relation to a variety of pasts – personal, historical, and ancestral – conceived of as savage. Schmitt reshapes our understanding of Victorian imperialism, revisits the implications of Darwinian theory, and demonstrates the pertinence of nineteenth-century biological thought to current theorizations of memory.

Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) by Matt Young and Paul K. Strode:

Focusing on what other books omit, how science works and how pseudoscience works, Matt Young and Paul K. Strode demonstrate the futility of “scientific” creationism. They debunk the notion of intelligent design and other arguments that show evolution could not have produced life in its present form. Concluding with a frank discussion of science and religion, Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails) argues that science by no means excludes religion, though it ought to cast doubt on certain religious claims that are contrary to known scientific fact. 

The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms, and Visual Culture, edited by Barbara Larson and Fae Brauer:

Inspired by the Charles Darwin bicentennial, The Art of Evolution presents a collection of essays by international scholars renowned for their ground-breaking work on Darwin. The book not only includes a discussion of the popular imagery that immediately followed the publication of On the Origin of Species, but it also traces the impact of Darwin’s ideas on visual culture over time and throughout the Western world. The contributors analyze the visual expression of a broad range of Darwin-inspired subjects, including eugenics, aesthetics and sexual selection, monera and protoplasm theories, social Darwinism and colonialism, the Taylorized body, and the natural history of surrealism. The visual imagery responding to Darwin and Darwinism ranges from popular caricature to state propaganda to major trends within Modern Art and Modernism. This rarely addressed subject will enrich our understanding of Darwin’s impact across disciplines and reveal how transformations in science were manifested visually in so many enticingly unexpected ways.

Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism 1862-1864 by Marsha Driscoll et al.:

Part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, this text consists of a game in which students experience firsthand the tension between natural and teleological views of the world–manifested especially in reconsideration of the design argument commonly known through William Paley’s Natural Theology or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802).

LECTURE/READING: Darwin’s Microscope

From BSHS-OEC-NEWS listserve:

Christ’s College and the Science and Literature Reading Group present:

“DARWIN’S MICROSCOPE”

Monday 9th March, 7.30pm
Lloyd Room, Christ’s College

2009 marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. The Cambridge Science and Literature Reading Group has organised an evening of history, science, and poetry to commemorate these events.

Boris Jardine, PhD student at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, will speak on Darwin’s microscopic practices: the rocks, plants and creatures that resolved into his view, from Beagle to barnacles.

Poet Kelley Swain, recipient of a BSHS OEC bursary, will then read from her new work entitled Darwin’s Microscope (Flambard Press, 2009), an exploration of Darwin’s life and influence, and of the poetics of looking closely into the natural world.

Please RSVP to Melanie Keene (mjk32@hermes.cam.ac.uk).

For further details see: http://sci-lit-reading-group.blogspot.com/2009/01/darwins-microscope-monday-9th-march.html

Nature Podcast: Darwin

Nature Podcast: Darwin

Nature Podcast: Darwin

12 February 2009

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In this episode:

New Book of Darwin Poetry

Darwin's Ark by Philip Appleman

Darwin's Ark by Philip Appleman

Not the one by Ruth Padel, Darwin: A Life in Poems, but by Philip Appleman. Darwin’s Ark:

In celebration of Charles Darwin’s bicentennial and the 150th anniversary of the publication of “The Origin of Species”, we are publishing a new paperback edition of “Darwin’s Ark”, a collection of Philip Appleman’s poems on Darwinian themes, stunningly illustrated by internationally known printmaker Rudy Pozzatti. Philosophical, witty, poignant, deeply intellectual, and lyrical, Appleman’s poetry is always clear and powerful. All of the poems reflect Appleman’s perception of the ‘overwhelming sanity’ of Darwin’s thought – together with a visceral sensation of wholeness – of the connectedness of humans and nature, of the present with the past, of joy and sorrow, life and death. Pozzatti’s varied illustrations represent his responses to the poems, providing a mini Darwin bestiary and much more.

Darwin Limericks on the OEDILF

Last Fall I held a Darwin Limerick contest on DoD (see here). Some of the entries are now up on the Darwin page for The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, which strives “to write at least one limerick for each meaning of each and every word in the English language.” Visit the Darwin page here. An example:

He endured much contempt, persecution,
For his theory of man’s evolution.
Charles Darwin withstood
More than most people would,
When he made his unique contribution.

The New Scriptures According to Tyndall, Darwin, Etc.

I found this in the Times and Register of March 26, 1892, but I’ve seen it in other periodicals from at least 1875, one year after Tyndall’s call for the authority of science and materialism – his address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Belfast:

THE NEW SCRIPTURES ACCORDING TO TYNDALL, DARWIN, ETC.

BY SARAH ADELE PALMER, M.D.

(GENESIS, CHAPTER 11.)

PRIMARILY, the Unknowable, moved upon cosmos, and evolved protoplasm.

2. And protoplasm was inorganic and indifferentiated, containing all things in potential energy; and a spirit of evolution moved upon the fluid mass.

3. And the Unknowable said, Let atoms attract; and their contact begat light, heat and electricity.

4. And the Unconditional differentiated the atoms, each after its kind, and their combinations begat rock, air and water.

5. And there went out a spirit of evolution from the Unconditioned, and, working in protoplasm by accretion and absorption, produced the organic cell.

6. And cell by nutrition, evolved by primordial germ, and germ developed protogene, and protogene begat eozoön, and eozoön begat monad, and monad begat animalcule.

7. And animalcule begat ephemera; then began creeping things to multiply on the face of the earth.

8. And earthy atom in vegetable protoplasm begat the molecule, and thence came all grass and
every herb in the earth.

9. And animalculæ in the water evolved fins, tails, claws and scales; and in the air, wings and beaks; and on the land there sprouted such organs as were necessary, as played upon by the
environment.

10. And by accretion and absorption came the radiata and mollusca, and mollusca begat articulata, and articulata begat vertebrata.

11. Now these are the generations of the higher vertebrata, in the cosmic period that the Unknowable evoluted the bipedal mammalia.

12. And every man of the earth, while he was yet a monkey, and the horse, while he was a hipparion, and the hipparion, before he was an oredon.

13. Out of the ascidian came the amphibian and begat the pentadactyle, and the pentadactyle by inheritance and selection produced the hylobate, from which are the simiadæ in all their tribe.

14. And out of the simiadæ the lemur prevailed above his fellows and produced the platyrrhine monkey.

15. And the platyrrhine begat the catarrhine, and the catarrhine monkey begat the anthropoid ape, and the ape begat the longimanous ourang, and the ourang begat the chimpanzee, and the chimpanzee evoluted the what-is-it.

16. And the what-is-it went into the land of Nod and took him a wife of the longimanous gibbons.

17. And in the process of the cosmic period were born unto them and their children the anthropomorphic primordial types.

18. The homunculus, the prognathus, the troglodytes, the autochthon, the terragen – these are the generations of primeval man.

19. And primeval man was naked and not ashamed, but lived in quadrumanous innocence, and struggled mightily to harmonize with the environment.

20. And by inheritance and natural selection did he progress from the stable and homogeneous to the complex and heterogeneous; for the weakest died, and the strongest grew and multiplied.

21. And man grew a thumb, for that he had need of it, and developed capacities for prey.

22. For behold, the swiftes men caught the most animals, and the swifest animals got away from the most men; wherefore, the slow animals were eaten, and the slow men starved to death.

23. And as types were differentiated, the weaker types continually disappeared.

24. And the earth was filled with violence; for man strove with man and tribe with tribe, whereby they killed off the weak and foolish, and secured the survival of the fittest.

——————————

Cross-posted at Transcribing Tyndall.

Winners of the Darwin Limerick Contest!

With the help of some fellow Darwin bloggers (who did not enter the contest), I have decided on the winners of the Darwin Limerick Contest. Here again are the prizes:

1st place: A signed copy of David Quammen’s The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (hardcover). Remember, Quammen is connected with my history department, so it’s absolutely authentic.

2nd place: DVD of the 2 hour episode of PBS’s Evolution, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” and Peter J. Bowler’s Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence (softcover, 1990). The book is a second copy of mine, but in very good condition, and the DVD was mine also, but I no longer need it now that I own the entire Evolution series.

3rd place: Charles Darwin: On Evolution, edited by Thomas F. Glick and David Kohn (softcover, 1996). This is a second copy of mine. Some shelf wear and a cover crease, but in nice shape.

And the winners (out of 32 entries total) are:

1st place: Cuttlefish, with:

The object of all my affection
Just told me I failed her inspection!
So I guess that this means
It’s the end for my genes—
There’s a downside to natural selection!

2nd place: TT. France (from UK), with:

I’m frustrated and bored on this ship,
Out at sea with no specimens — zip!
And that rig-swinging crew —
They’re like apes in a zoo!
I fear nothing will come of this trip.

3rd place: Jim Pettit, with:

Many people still heap persecution
On those who espouse evolution.
Forgive such assault;
Is it really their fault
They’ve evolved with their brains Lilliputian?

Please contact me (darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com) to give me your mailing address. Some runners up were:

Adrian Thysse, with:

There was a young man from Shrewsbury
Who seldom did anything newsworthy.
Till one opportune day
He sailed away
On a Beagle known to be sea-worthy.

Cuttlefish, with:

While still a young man, Darwin went
On a trip—and the curious gent,
From the fractions of inches
Twixt beaks of his finches
Inferred there was common descent!

Bjørn Østman, with:

There once was a man named Chuck
Who said my cousin’s a duck
But that cannot be
My cousin you see
Is a baptist from Virginia Kentuck

Reminder: Darwin Limerick Contest

I have a few entries so far, and would love to get some more!

——————-

Time to do something fun here at DoD. Send me your Darwin-themed limerick by Nov. 23rd, and I will select a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner. The prizes are:

1st place: A signed copy of David Quammen’s The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (hardcover). Remember, Quammen is connected with my history department, so it’s absolutely authentic.

2nd place: DVD of the 2 hour episode of PBS’s Evolution, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” and Peter J. Bowler’s Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence (softcover, 1990). The book is a second copy of mine, but in very good condition, and the DVD was mine also, but I no longer need it now that I own the entire Evolution series.

3rd place: Charles Darwin: On Evolution, edited by Thomas F. Glick and David Kohn (softcover, 1996). This is a second copy of mine. Some shelf wear and a cover crease, but in nice shape.

Submit your Darwin limerick by commenting on this post or emailing me at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Judging will be from myself, and possibly some fellow Darwin bloggers. Good luck!

Note: Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 of limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.

Darwin Limerick Contest

Time to do something fun here at DoD. Send me your Darwin-themed limerick by Nov. 23rd, and I will select a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner. The prizes are:

1st place: A signed copy of David Quammen’s The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (hardcover). Remember, Quammen is connected with my history department, so it’s absolutely authentic.

2nd place: DVD of the 2 hour episode of PBS’s Evolution, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” and Peter J. Bowler’s Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence (softcover, 1990). The book is a second copy of mine, but in very good condition, and the DVD was mine also, but I no longer need it now that I own the entire Evolution series.

3rd place: Charles Darwin: On Evolution, edited by Thomas F. Glick and David Kohn (softcover, 1996). This is a second copy of mine. Some shelf wear and a cover crease, but in nice shape.

Submit your Darwin limerick by commenting on this post or emailing me at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Judging will be from myself, and possibly some fellow Darwin bloggers. Good luck!

Note: Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 of limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.

Recent & Forthcoming Darwin Books

The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (2nd ed.) edited by Jonathan Hodge and Gregory Radick:

Charles Darwin remains the subject of continuing energetic debate in the fields of philosophy, history of science, biology and history of ideas. This volume offers a collection of newly commissioned essays from experts in their fields, and will provide a student readership with an accessible guide through Darwin’s thought.

What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World by Rosalyn Schanzer:

In 1831 a 22-year-old naturalist named Charles Darwin stepped aboard the HMS Beagle as a traveling companion of an equally youthful sea captain called Robert FitzRoy. The Beagle’s round-the-world surveying journey lasted five long years on the high seas. The young Darwin noticed everything, and proved himself an avid and detailed chronicler of daily events on the Beagle and onshore. What Darwin Saw takes young readers back to the pages of his journals as they travel alongside Darwin and read his lively and awestruck words about the wonders of the world. We follow Darwin’s voyage, looking over his shoulder as he explores new lands, asks questions about the natural world, and draws groundbreaking conclusions. We walk in his footsteps, collecting animals and fossils, experiencing earthquakes and volcanoes, and meeting people of many cultures and languages. We examine his opinions on life in all its forms. We consider the thoughts of this remarkable scientist, who poured his observations and research into his expansive theories about life on Earth. In this exciting and educational account, Charles Darwin comes alive as an inspirational model for kids who think and question the world around them.

What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom:

In 1831, at only 22 years old, Darwin is offered the position of Naturalist on HMS Beagle’s world voyage. His uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, helps him persuade his father. In those days such a voyage was as unthinkable as a modern day voyage into outer space. Darwin is set to become a parson but returns after 5 years an inspired genius. This book follows the journey of HMS Beagle, with topics such as life on-board the ship for Darwin, the captain, crew and the expedition’s artist. It will follow Darwin as he visits various countries culminating in Galapagos. It explains in simple terms Darwin’s inspired theory of evolution, while also showing something of the adventures and escapades he had during the voyage.

99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Up edited by Jonathan Silvertown:

We share 99% of our genes with apes and even 66% with a tasty grape. In 99% Ape leading experts provide a clear and accessible guide to arguably the best idea that anyone has ever had – evolution by natural selection. Even today, the only mechanism we know of that can produce adaptation is Darwin’s revolutionary theory. This fascinating book introduces the fundamental theories of evolution and discusses advances in our understanding since Darwin’s discovery. It explores our own origins and the genealogy of all living things, as well highlighting the key turning points throughout history. Additional chapters bring Darwin’s theory up to date covering: species diversity including the classic tale of Darwin’s finches; evolutionary psychology and the human mind; the question of morality; and the problem with ‘intelligent design’. With historical vignettes of Darwin’s own life and work throughout, 99% Ape is a comprehensive introduction to evolution and the man who discovered how it works.

Darwin’s Universe: Evolution from A to Z by Richard Milner:

This alphabetically arranged reference, an immensely entertaining browser’s delight, offers a dazzling overview of the life and thought of Charles Darwin and his incredibly wide sphere of influence. Abundantly illustrated and thoroughly cross-referenced, authoritative and up to date, it illuminates how the ideas of evolutionary biology have leapt the boundaries of science to influence philosophy, law, religion, literature, cinema, art, and popular culture. Darwin’s Universe, a thoroughly revised and updated successor to Richard Milner’s acclaimed Encyclopedia of Evolution, now contains more than 100 new essays, including entries on animal behavior–Alex the parrot, Kanzi the bonobo, Digit the gorilla–on women in science–Mary Anning, Rosalind Franklin–and on the latest finds of human fossils. A veritable museum of natural history, it also contains many original discoveries brought to light by Milner’s historical sleuthing. Packed with almost 500 rare illustrations, including several hundred new ones, this Darwin Bicentennial edition will appeal to a wide audience of readers.

Galapagos at the Crossroads Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution by Carol Ann Bassett:

For millions, the Galapagos represent nature at its most unspoiled, an inviolate place famed for its rare flora and fauna. But soon today’s 30,000 human residents will surpass 50,000, a huge problem since almost all of the land is national park. Add invasive species, floods of tourists, and unresolved conflicts between Ecuadorian laws and local concerns: It’s easy to see why the Galapagos were recently added to UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list. Each chapter in this provocative, perceptive book focuses on a specific person or group endeavoring either to exploit or protect the Galapagos’ natural resources—from modern-day pirates who poach endangered marine species to environmental activists who patrol protected waters to catch them red-handed. The story Bassett tells explores the inevitable clash in values between these often quirky, always dedicated individuals and their activities. Bassett presents a perspective as readable as it is sensible. Told with wit, passion, and grace, the Galapagos story serves as a microcosm for Earth itself, a perfect example of how an environment can be destroyed.

Darwin’s Lost World: The Early History of Life on Earth by Martin Brasier:

Darwin made a powerful argument for evolution in the Origin of Species, based on all the evidence available to him. But a few things puzzled him. One was how inheritance works – he did not know about genes. This book concerns another of Darwin’s Dilemmas, and the efforts of modern palaeontologists to solve it. What puzzled Darwin is that the most very ancient rocks, before the Cambrian, seemed to be barren, when he would expect them to be teeming with life. Darwin speculated that this was probably because the fossils had not been found yet. Decades of work by modern palaeontologists have indeed brought us amazing fossils from far beyond the Cambrian, from the depths of the Precambrian, so life was certainly around. Yet the fossils are enigmatic, and something does seem to happen around the Cambrian to speed up evolution drastically and produce many of the early forms of animals we know today. In this book, Martin Brasier, a leading palaeontologist working on early life, takes us into the deep, dark ages of the Precambrian to explore Darwin’s Lost World. Decoding the evidence in these ancient rocks, piecing together the puzzle of what happened over 540 million years ago to drive what is known as the Cambrian Explosion, is very difficult. The world was vastly different then from the one we know now, and we are in terrain with few familiar landmarks. Brasier is a master storyteller, and combines the account of what we now know of the strange creatures of these ancient times with engaging and amusing anecdotes from his expeditions to Siberia, Outer Mongolia, Barbuda, and other places, giving a vivid impression of the people, places, and challenges involved in such work. He ends by presenting his own take on the Cambrian Explosion, based on the picture emerging from this very active field of research. A vital clue involves worms – burrowing worms are one of the key signs of the start of the Cambrian. This is fitting: Darwin was inordinately fond of worms.

A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin by Robert W. Ulanowicz:

I was not able to find any information on this one.

Darwin by Alice B. McGinty and Mary Azarian:

Filled with the fascinating words of Charles Darwin—designed as handwritten entries—this picture book biography reveals the assembling of a profound idea: the survival of the fittest. Two hundred years after his birth, 150 years after the publication of his ORIGIN OF SPECIES, this thought-provoking, splendidly ilustrated account invites us into the private thoughts, hopes and fears of a soul who forever changed the way we see the world.

Darwin: A Life in Poems by Ruth Padel:

I was not able to find any information on this one.

A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox by Anthony W. D. Larkum:

This book provides new factual material on Charles Darwin, following many years of research into Darwin’s relationship to his cousin William Darwin Fox. It is a biographical and historical account of the letters exchanged by these two men and the diaries of W D Fox have never been accessed before. The relationship between Darwin and Fox has been acknowledged as a major biographical source on Darwin. Here the life of Fox is carefully pieced together and compared and contrasted with that of Darwin. Since Darwin and Fox were undergraduates together at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and corresponded with each other for the rest of their lives, dying within two years of each other, the diaries allow us a vivid insight into the unique relationship of these two naturalists and family friends. Both were studying to be clergymen of the Church of England, when Darwin was offered a place on The Beagle. Thereafter their lives diverged, as Fox became the country parson that Darwin might have been. Never the less, Fox supplied many facts to Darwin, which were used in the “Origin of Species” and later books. The views and opinions exchanged between these two men greatly enlarge our appreciation of the life and contribution of Charles Darwin at a profoundly personal level.

Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates over Spontaneous Generation by James E. Strick:

How, asks James E. Strick, could spontaneous generation–the idea that living things can suddenly arise from nonliving materials–come to take root for a time (even a brief one) in so thoroughly unsuitable a field as British natural theology? No less an authority than Aristotle claimed that cases of spontaneous generation were to be observed in nature, and the idea held sway for centuries. Beginning around the time of the Scientific Revolution, however, the doctrine was increasingly challenged; attempts to prove or disprove it led to important breakthroughs in experimental design and laboratory techniques, most notably sterilization methods, that became the cornerstones of modern microbiology and sped the ascendancy of the germ theory of disease. The Victorian debates, Strick shows, were entwined with the public controversy over Darwin’s theory of evolution. While other histories of the debates between 1860 and 1880 have focused largely on the experiments of John Tyndall, Henry Charlton Bastian, and others, Sparks of Life emphasizes previously understudied changes in the theories that underlay the debates. Strick argues that the disputes cannot be understood without full knowledge of the factional infighting among Darwinians themselves, as they struggled to create a socially and scientifically viable form of “Darwinian” science. He shows that even the terms of the debate, such as “biogenesis,” usually but incorrectly attributed to Huxley, were intensely contested.

Fire in the Stone: Prehistoric Fiction from Charles Darwin to Jean M. Auel (Early Classics of Science Fiction) by Nicholas Ruddick:

Like books such as Clan of the Cave Bear, prehistoric fiction (“pf”) contains a surprisingly large and diverse group of fictional works by American, British and French writers from the late nineteenth century to the present that describe prehistoric humans. Nicholas Ruddick explains why prehistoric fiction could not come into being until after the acceptance of Darwin’s theories, and argues that many early prehistoric fiction works are still worth reading even though the science upon which they are based is now outdated. Exploring the history and changes within the genre, Ruddick shows how prehistoric fiction can offer fascinating insights into the possible origins of human nature, sexuality, racial distinctions, language, religion, and art. The book includes discussions of well-known prehistoric fiction by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Jack London, Alan Golding, Arthur C. Clarke, and Jean Auel and reminds us of some unjustly forgotten landmarks of prehistoric fiction. It also briefly covers such topics as the recent boom in prehistoric romance, notable prehistoric fiction for children and young adults, and the most entertaining movies featuring prehistoric humans. The book features original illustrations that trace the changing popular images of cave men and women over the past 150 years.

Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright by Stephen F. Eisenman:

Charles Darwin’s monumental The Origin of Species, published in 1859, forever changed the landscape of natural science. The scientific world of the time had already established the principle of the “intelligent design” of a Creator; the art world had spent centuries devoting itself to the celebration of such a Designer’s creation. But the language of the book, and its implications, were stunning, and the ripples Darwin made when he rocked the boat spread outward: if he could question the Designer, what effect might there be on the art world, and on mortal designers’ renderings of Creation? Published in partnership with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to accompany its exhibit, this catalog of essays and more than fifty color exhibition plates invokes these two senses of “intelligent design”—one from the debates between science and theology and the other from the world of art, particularly architecture and the decorative arts. The extensive exhibition includes furniture, metalware, glassware, textiles, and designs on loan from public and private collections in the United States and England. Among the artwork included are items from William Morris, C. R. Ashbee, Christopher Dresser, C. F. A. Voysey, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan. Through these pieces and the accompanying examinations, the book explores how popular conceptions of the theory of evolution were used or rejected by British and American artists in the years that followed Darwin’s publication.

Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (2nd ed.) by Eugenie C. Scott:

The evolution versus creationism conflict is here to stay. Even after their devastating defeat in the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision, advocates of intelligent design and other forms of creationism continue to revise their strategies for undermining the teaching of evolution-and thus of science in general-in American schools. In this revision of Evolution vs. Creationism, Eugenie Scott, one of the leading proponents of teaching evolution in the schools, describes these ever-changing efforts to undermine science education and shows what students, parents, and teachers should be aware of to help ensure that American science education prepares our students to compete in the 21st century. This second edition of Evolution vs. Creationism will help readers better understand the issues involved in these debates.

PREVIOUSLY: Recent & Forthcoming Darwin Books (June 20, 2008)

PREVIOUSLY: Recent & Forthcoming Darwin Books (May 21, 2008)