Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation and Other Evolutionary Writings

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University of Chicago Press, Aug 15, 1994 - Science - 644 pages
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Originally published anonymously in 1844, Vestiges proved to be as controversial as its author expected. Integrating research in the burgeoning sciences of anthropology, geology, astronomy, biology, economics, and chemistry, it was the first attempt to connect the natural sciences to a history of creation. The author, whose identity was not revealed until 1884, was Robert Chambers, a leading Scottish writer and publisher. Vestiges reached a huge popular audience and was widely read by the social and intellectual elite. It sparked debate about natural law, setting the stage for the controversy over Darwin's Origin. In response to the surrounding debate and criticism, Chambers published Explanations: A Sequel, in which he offered a reasoned defense of his ideas about natural law, castigating what he saw as the narrowness of specialist science.

With a new introduction by James Secord, a bibliography of reviews, and a new index, this volume adds to Vestiges and Explanations Chambers's earliest works on cosmology, an essay on Darwin, and an autobiographical essay, raising important issues about the changing meanings of popular science and religion and the rise of secular ideologies in Western culture.
  

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Contents

Further Reading xlviixlviii
xlvii
The Bodies of SpaceTheir arrangements and formation
1
Constituent materials of the Earth and of the other
27
The Earth formedEra of the Primary Bocks
44
Commencement of Organic LifeSea Plants Corals c
54
Era of the Old Red SandstoneFishes abundant
66
Secondary RocksEra of the Carboniferous Formation
76
Era of the New Red SandstoneTerrestrial Zoology
94
Macleay System of Animated NatureThis System
236
Early History of Mankind
277
Mental Constitution of Animals
324
Purpose and General Condition of the Animated
361
Note Conclusory
387
Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation
36
Time the true key to difficulties arising from apparent per
57
Vast spaces of time involved in the geological record 159
159

Era of the OoliteCommencement of Mammalia
105
Era of the Cretaceous Formation
116
Era of the Tertiary FormationMammalia abundant
125
Era of the Superficial FormationsCommencement
134
General Considerations respecting the Origin of
145
Great number of distinct Floras
152
Particular Considerations respecting the Origin of
165
Hypothesis of the Development of the Vegetable
191
Authors theory supported by facts connected with the distri
165
Opposition of the Scientific Class 174
175
Bearing of the new doctrine on Human Interests 182
182
AppendixLetters of Mr Weekes on Aboriginal Production
189
Vindication of the World and of Providence 1822 199
199
Revisions to Vestiges and Explanations 217
217
231260
231
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Page 256 - The work, from its powerful and brilliant style, though displaying in the earlier editions little accurate knowledge and a great want of scientific caution, immediately had a very wide circulation. In my opinion it has done excellent service in this country in calling attention to the subject, in removing prejudice, and in thus preparing the ground for the reception of analogous views.

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About the author (1994)

James A. Secord is professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Christ's College.

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