Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Descent of Man

This book contains a wealth of facts, compiled during Darwin's life on matters which were highly controversial at the time. His prior book, Origin of Species, provided the scientific framework for thinking that mankind might, in some way, be a descent from the animal kingdom. For personal reasons, there was some doubt, at the time, whether it would ever be diplomatic to admit such a thing to the human beings themselves, right in their very faces. The title which Darwin placed on this book showed how easy it would be to imagine that the fundamental distinction was closely linked to the question of whom an individual might choose to have sex with, given the great parallels to a wide range of behavior in the animal kingdom.

Fan of this book? Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here.

Recent Forum Posts on Descent of Man

Writing skill

I would have to say that Darwin is one of the best persuasive writers I have read. Working in sales I have seen some interesting uses of persuasive speach, but none have compared in tone or verbage to the works of Darwin. He masterfully uses emotives combined with matter of fact statements to sway the reader to his conclusions. Unfortunately, this has a great deal to do with the fact that a great many people have ascribed to his views, however fallacious they may be. Not only is his evidence incomplete, but much of what he states as fact is, at best, assumption, and some is even obviously and admittedly biased. And the fact that he admitts his ignorance all the more draws sympathy from his audience, anothger point of genious that I have seen used to much lesser degrees in some disreputable salespersons I have observed. His detailed citations, as well as strong command of the english language, as well as others, gives the work a distinguishing air of authority. But, "Air", is just what it is.
It is not my intention to besmurch the character of the man, but it is known that he was a starch critic of religion, likely due to the hipocrasies he encountered through his own studies at the abby. However justified his criticisms of the church, the bias in his work is obvious, making it difficult to draw an objective conclusion from his presentation of evidence he openly claims are cited for the express purpose of supporting his claims, as well as omittions that discount them.
Apart from his biasses and errrant assumptions, I must credit the man with having developed a most interesting theory, although he did not come to it wholey independant of others, he shows great determination in researching ways to prove his theory. The principal itself carries a great deal of logic, but I myself have that the more I reseearched the topic, the more holes I found in both the theory of natural selection, and in the supporting postulates of this and other works. This book is the first instance where the term evolution comes into Darwin's work, while it did appear in the Origin of the Species, it was not untill a later edition, publish after the Descent of Man. Interstingly the Theory of evolution was originated by Bonnet in 1762 wich is now refered to as the Theory of Preformation to avoid confusion.
The underlying problem with the theory is the assumptions that one must make in order to accept it. When reading the text, consider what things you are being asked to assume to be true, and ask yourself if those things can be proved. In many instances the assumptions are quite logical, not neccesssarily proved, but they are highly plausable. In other instances the assumtions are quite broad, or rely on the acceptance as fact previously made assumptions. While taken in context within the text, the arguements appear quite believable, but because of the nature of the physical sciences, the body of information is so limitless as to allow for most any conclusion to be drawn from a small fraction of the facts available.
As to the Descent of man, there are many more questions to be answered before we can make any such bold assumptions as his being a descendant of a more rudimentary species. Frankly I have not seen sufficient evidence to support this theory, and given his ingenious talent for persuasive writing, I would not consider Charles Robert Darwin to be much of a scientist, but quite an excellent salesman. He makes a great pitch, but I'm no easy sell, I intend to do a lot more than kick the tires, I want to see under the hood, I want a test drive, and neither Darwin nor any of his predecesors have the gas to get this theory started, but only alot of polish to make it look good.

Darwin's writing skill

Although he is still the subject of much controversy, few people read Darwin's books anymore. This is a shame because Darwin is a writer of immense charm and great clarity. He writes as a scientist, keenly aware of what is known and what is not known, carefully weighing evidence on both sides of any argument. He moves slowly through the immense evidence at his disposal and like a good scientist, frequently and generously cites the work of others as he goes.

His books are long and probably neglected for that reason. However, Chapter 7 of this book "On the Races of Man" is something everyone could read with profit.

humans vs animals

i can clearly see where this would be a fact... if one could ponder of how people are born into this earth. they are birthed "live"... much like all other warm blooded animals are birthed "live" and instead of from eggs like a chicken.

No Subject

I for one am not fond of his work on the Decent of Man. Though that is my personal oppion, but how could he call man, different species, upon their color and location?

Post a New Comment/Question on Descent of Man

Quizzes on Charles Darwin
Related links for Charles Darwin

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Charles Darwin written by other authors featured on this site.

Sorry, no links available.

Charles Darwin

Sorry, no summary available yet.