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4.0 out of 5 stars A collection of opinions about Darwinism, 22 Jun 2010
This review is from: What about Darwin? (Kindle Edition)
This is a collection of opinions expressed by key figures in the history about Darwin's theory of evolution, which reflects on how his theory touched their minds and hearts. Darwin influenced a very wide range of people from all fields. Examples include; Pope Pius IX, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Mahatma Gandhi, President Abraham Lincoln, President Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, Lenin, Stalin, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Charles Dickens, and many others. Many were Darwin's enemies, some ridiculed his theory, and many became evolutionists. The Wilberforce - Huxley debate at Oxford in July 1860 was a turning point in the acceptance of Darwinism in England. Most of the elite had been won over in first few months of his publication, "On the origin of species."

A summary of some of the comments of his admirers and his critics are as follows: I very much like physicist Ernst Mach's criticism of Darwin in which he observes that if preservation of species had been more important than adaptation, struggle for survival, and evolution; then species would move in a vicious circle like "perpetual motion" in physics. Albert Einstein provides a cautionary note in his opinion that human beings should not confuse the struggle for survival as a justification to dominate another human being for economic reasons. Einstein praises the depth of Darwin's investigation into the natural history of life. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche presents a notoriously anti-English, and highly critical of Darwin's theory, and uses the word "mediocre spirit" and "mediocre Englishman" few times in his criticism. Physicist Werner Heisenberg observes that evolution of a complex molecular structure from simple molecules needs not only the laws of physics and chemistry but also the key concepts of evolution enunciated by Darwin. Clergyman Henry Beecher was the first minister of a Christian church in United States to accept Darwin's theory as the truthful description of natural history, and he is known to have used his sermon on March 11, 1860 to express his support. But the opposition in church was also widespread. Evangelist Billy Sunday ridiculed Darwin's theory of evolution and called fellow scientists who support Darwin as "feeble minded." He called Christians who believe in evolution are essentially nonbelievers of the Word of God.

The Darwin's correspondence project ([...]) and the Darwin online ([...]) also provide useful info about numerous Darwin's letters. At the end of the book, having read 442 criticisms, the reader gets an idea of how much his theory stirred the minds of people. It also gives a picture of various aspects of his life, his work, and his personality. Recently there have been many reports suggesting that Darwin's family had ill effects of inbreeding, but in spite of his poor health conditions and personal tragedies, Darwin had lasting effect on the way we think about our origin and our natural history.

1. The Origin of Species (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
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