Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

Every book published by Charles Darwin can be read for free here:

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

After publishing The Origin of Species in 1859, which said virtually nothing about human evolution, Darwin waited until 1871 to publish The Descent of Man.

Darwin wrote in his introduction to The Descent of Man:

THE nature of the following work will be best understood by a brief account of how it came to be written. During many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views. It seemed to me sufficient to indicate, in the first edition of my 'Origin of Species,' that by this work "light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history;" and this implies that man must be included with other organic beings in any general conclusion respecting his manner of appearance on this earth.

He was obviously concerned about the reaction 19th century Christians would have when they found out their species is just like any other animal, and not a special magical creation of a god fairy. Even now in the 21st century there are millions of cowardly Christians who can't accept the reality of what they are, just an ape species, descended from the same ancient apes the other modern ape species developed from.

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hope for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it; and I have given the evidence to the best of my ability. We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system - with all these exalted powers - Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
-- Charles Darwin


  1. Sadly, I think his hope for the continued evolution of mankind won't come to pass. In fact we may be devolving :-(

  2. LadyAtheist, the movie Idiocracy shows how your prediction might come true.


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