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Origin of Species

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    THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION;

    or the PRESERVATION OF FAVOURED RACES IN THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE.

    By Charles Darwin, M.A., F.R.S.,

    Sixth London Edition, with all Additions and Corrections. The 6th Edition is often considered the definitive edition.


    In considering the arguments that Darwin, or his critics, make, you may want to consider well known fallacious kinds arguments.  For a summary see Top 20 Logical Fallacies or How to Argue.


     

    Get it HereDarwin_portrait.gif

    Week 1 - Leader: Wu Qiong (24 June)

    CHAPTER I. VARIATION UNDER DOMESTICATION.

    Causes of Variability--Effects of Habit and the use or disuse of Parts--Correlated Variation--Inheritance--Character of Domestic  Varieties--Difficulty of distinguishing between Varieties and Species--Origin of Domestic Varieties from one or more Species--Domestic  Pigeons, their Differences and Origin--Principles of Selection,  anciently followed, their Effects--Methodical and Unconscious Selection--Unknown Origin of our Domestic Productions--Circumstances  favourable to Man's power of Selection.

    CHAPTER II. VARIATION UNDER NATURE.

    Variability--Individual Differences--Doubtful species--Wide ranging,much diffused, and common species, vary most--Species of the larger genera in each country vary more frequently than the species of the  smaller genera--Many of the species of the larger genera resemble varieties in being very closely, but unequally, related to each other, and in having restricted ranges.

    Week 2 - Leader: Aditi (8 July)

    CHAPTER III. STRUGGLE FOR EXISTENCE.

    Its bearing on natural selection--The term used in a wide sense--Geometrical ratio of increase--Rapid increase of naturalised animals and plants--Nature of the checks to increase--Competition universal--Effects of climate--Protection from the number of  individuals--Complex relations of all animals and plants throughout nature--Struggle for life most severe between individuals and varieties of the same species; often severe between species of the same genus--The relation of organism to organism the most important of all relations.

    CHAPTER IV. NATURAL SELECTION; OR THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

    Natural Selection--its power compared with man's selection--its power on characters of trifling importance--its power at all ages and on both sexes--Sexual Selection--On the generality of intercrosses  between individuals of the same species--Circumstances favourable and unfavourable to the results of Natural Selection, namely, intercrossing, isolation, number of individuals--Slow action--Extinction caused by Natural Selection--Divergence of Character, related to the diversity of inhabitants of any small area and to naturalisation--Action of Natural Selection, through Divergence of Character and Extinction, on the descendants from a common parent--Explains the Grouping of all organic beings--Advance in organisation--Low forms preserved--Convergence of character--Indefinite multiplication of species--Summary.

    Week 3 - Leader: JIm Hengenius  (22 July)

    CHAPTER V. LAWS OF VARIATION.

    Effects of changed conditions--Use and disuse, combined with natural  selection; organs of flight and of vision--Acclimatisation--Correlated variation--Compensation and economy of growth--False  correlations--Multiple, rudimentary, and lowly organised structures variable--Parts developed in an unusual manner are highly variable;  specific characters more variable than generic; secondary sexual  characters variable--Species of the same genus vary in an analogous  manner--Reversions to long-lost characters--Summary.

    CHAPTER VI. DIFFICULTIES OF THE THEORY.

    Difficulties of the theory of descent with modification--Absence  or rarity of transitional varieties--Transitions in habits of  life--Diversified habits in the same species--Species with habits  widely different from those of their allies--Organs of extreme  perfection--Modes of transition--Cases of difficulty--Natura non facit  saltum--Organs of small importance--Organs not in all cases absolutely perfect--The law of Unity of Type and of the Conditions of Existence  embraced by the theory of Natural Selection.

    Week 4 - Leader:gribskov  (29 July)

    CHAPTER VII. MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTIONS TO THE THEORY OF NATURAL SELECTION.

    Longevity--Modifications not necessarily simultaneous--Modifications apparently of no direct service--Progressive development--Characters of  small functional importance, the most constant--Supposed incompetence  of natural selection to account for the incipient stages of useful  structures--Causes which interfere with the acquisition through natural  selection of useful structures--Gradations of structure with changed  functions--Widely different organs in members of the same class,  developed from one and the same source--Reasons for disbelieving in  great and abrupt modifications.

    CHAPTER VIII. INSTINCT.

    Instincts comparable with habits, but different in their  origin--Instincts graduated--Aphides and ants--Instincts  variable--Domestic instincts, their origin--Natural instincts of  the cuckoo, molothrus, ostrich, and parasitic bees--Slave-making  ants--Hive-bee, its cell-making instinct--Changes of instinct and structure not necessarily simultaneous--Difficulties on the theory of  the Natural Selection of instincts--Neuter or sterile insects--Summary.

    Week 5 - Leader: Reazur (5 Aug)

    CHAPTER IX. HYBRIDISM.

    Distinction between the sterility of first crosses and of  hybrids--Sterility various in degree, not universal, affected by close  interbreeding, removed by domestication--Laws governing the sterility  of hybrids--Sterility not a special endowment, but incidental on  other differences, not accumulated by natural selection--Causes of  the sterility of first crosses and of hybrids--Parallelism between the  effects of changed conditions of life and of crossing--Dimorphism and Trimorphism--Fertility of varieties when crossed and of their mongrel  offspring not universal--Hybrids and mongrels compared independently of  their fertility--Summary.

    CHAPTER X. ON THE IMPERFECTION OF THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD.

    On the absence of intermediate varieties at the present day--On the  nature of extinct intermediate varieties; on their number--On the lapse  of time, as inferred from the rate of denudation and of deposition--On  the lapse of time as estimated in years--On the poorness of our  palaeontological collections--On the intermittence of geological  formations--On the denudation of granitic areas--On the absence of  intermediate varieties in any one formation--On the sudden appearance  of groups of species--On their sudden appearance in the lowest known  fossiliferous strata--Antiquity of the habitable earth.

    Week 6 - Leader:  GREG (12 August)

    CHAPTER XI. ON THE GEOLOGICAL SUCCESSION OF ORGANIC BEINGS.

    On the slow and successive appearance of new species--On their different  rates of change--Species once lost do not reappear--Groups of species  follow the same general rules in their appearance and disappearance as  do single species--On extinction--On simultaneous changes in the forms  of life throughout the world--On the affinities of extinct species to  each other and to living species--On the state of development of  ancient forms--On the succession of the same types within the same  areas--Summary of preceding and present chapter.

    CHAPTER XII. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION.

    Present distribution cannot be accounted for by differences in physical  conditions--Importance of barriers--Affinity of the productions of the  same continent--Centres of creation--Means of dispersal by changes of  climate and of the level of the land, and by occasional means--Dispersal  during the Glacial period--Alternate Glacial periods in the north and  south.

    Week 7 - Leader:  Minming(19 August)

    CHAPTER XIII. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION--CONTINUED.

    Distribution of fresh-water productions--On the inhabitants of oceanic  islands--Absence of Batrachians and of terrestrial Mammals--On  the relation of the inhabitants of islands to those of the nearest  mainland--On colonisation from the nearest source with subsequent  modification--Summary of the last and present chapter.

    CHAPTER XIV. MUTUAL AFFINITIES OF ORGANIC BEINGS: MORPHOLOGY--EMBRYOLOGY--RUDIMENTARY  ORGANS.

    Classification, groups subordinate to groups--Natural system--Rules and  difficulties in classification, explained on the theory of descent  with modification--Classification of varieties--Descent always used in classification--Analogical or adaptive characters--Affinities,  general, complex and radiating--Extinction separates and defines  groups--Morphology, between members of the same class, between parts of  the same individual--Embryology, laws of, explained by variations not  supervening at an early age, and being inherited at a corresponding  age--Rudimentary Organs; their origin explained--Summary.

    Week 8 - Leader: Jiajie (26 August)

    CHAPTER XV. RECAPITULATION AND CONCLUSION.

    Recapitulation of the objections to the theory of Natural  Selection--Recapitulation of the general and special circumstances  in its favour--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.  

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