On the Origin of Species: Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (Paperback)
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Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain the new discoveries in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissenting anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely linked to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with beliefs that species were immutable parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to other animals. The political and theological implications were hotly debated, but the transmutation was not accepted by mainstream science.The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted great interest in its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated a scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion. The debate over the book contributed to the campaign by T. H. Huxley and his fellow X Club members to secularize science by promoting scientific naturalism. Within two decades there was widespread scientific agreement that evolution had occurred, with a branching pattern of common descent, but scientists were slow to give natural selection the meaning that Darwin deemed appropriate. During "the eclipse of Darwinism" from the 1880s to the 1930s, more credit was given to various other mechanisms of evolution. With the development of modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin's concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, and has now become the unifying concept of the sciences. of the life.