Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: Or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life

By Charles Darwin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
RECAPITULATION AND CONCLUSION

Recapitulation of the objections to the theory of Natural Selection--Recapitulation of the general and special circumstances in its favor-- Causes of the general belief in the immutability of species--How far the theory of Natural Selection may be extended--Effects of its adoption on the study of Natural History--Concluding remarks

AS THIS whole volume is one long argument, it may be convenient to the reader to have the leading facts and inferences briefly recapitulated. That many and serious objections may be advanced against the theory of descent with modification through variation and natural selection, I do not deny. I have endeavored to give to them their full force. Nothing at first can appear more difficult to believe than that the more complex organs and instincts have been perfected, not by means superior to, though analogous with, human reason, but by the accumulation of innumerable slight variations, each good for the individual possessor. Nevertheless, this difficulty, though appearing to our imagination insuperably great, cannot be considered real if we admit the following propositions, namely, that all parts of the organization and instincts offer, at least, individual differences--that there is a struggle for existence leading to the preservation of profitable deviations of structure or instinct--and, lastly, that gradations

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