The History of Biological Theories

The History of Biological Theories

The History of Biological Theories

The History of Biological Theories


It gives great pleasure to write a book, but the author's greatest joy comes when his labours are ended, and he feels himself free to devote his attention to other things.

When I had completed this book, I found myself in that happy position; and not even the news that the whole edition had been sold provided an impetus great enough to drive me to take up the task again.

For revision became necessary. The book is a history, and history does not stand still. It develops unintermittently, bringing forth new ideas and continually throwing fresh light on the past.

The demand for an English version encouraged me to a renewed effort, and, at the request of the English publishers, I set to work once more, abridging in places, in others making such alterations and additions as seemed absolutely essential to make the present situation clear.

I will not attempt to indicate what I have retained of the 1909 German edition, or what I have omitted. I will rather attempt to summarize, very briefly, the most outstanding changes which have occurred in the position of the sciences since the German edition of the book was published; such changes as are important for a true appreciation of the views here put forward.

That decline of interest in the Darwinian theory which was discussed in the German version, has steadily continued. To the theory that living organisms have developed, the more complex from the more simple, through countless eons of time, and that man has been evolved from an animal ancestor -- to this theory of evolution no weighty objection has been raised.

It is true that the theory has not received any clinching scientific proof. But it is, on so many lines of evidence, so . . .

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