A Hundred Years of Evolution

A Hundred Years of Evolution

A Hundred Years of Evolution

A Hundred Years of Evolution

Excerpt

Within the compass of this short book it has not been possible to give more than a summary of the story of evolution theory in the last hundred years. I have had to leave out much that would deserve a place in a larger book, and to touch on, rather than discuss adequately, many of the aspects of the history that have been included. Yet a short and summary account such as this seems to be worth-while, for it may be hoped that the really significant episodes of the story will stand out in sharper focus in a short book.

There is, however, another disadvantage in compressing a long story into a short space. Where opinions differ, it is not always easy to set out every side of the argument shortly; the discussion tends towards a statement of personal opinion. I have tried to avoid this, and to give what seems to be the views most generally accepted today. But this, again, is not always easy. In discussion of an actively advancing subject, such as the study of evolution now is, it is often difficult to decide what is precisely the accepted position. Opinions are continually changing, advances are not always accepted at once, and out-of-date views are often held long after thay have been shown to be false. One cannot always be sure that the views one is expressing are those with which the majority of biologists would agree. To that extent one's account is bound to be personal. In any case, other books on the subject will be written in celebration of the centenary of Darwin's work, and I cannot hope that all will be in complete agreement with me. Some may view the position very differently.

In writing the book, my aim has been to give a summary of the subject that may be useful to the biologist who is not primarily interested in the theory of evolution . . .

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