Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:October 2010
Original Publication Year:1894
Subjects: Philosophy of religion , Evolutionary biology
The Lowell Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1836, supports an annual series of distinguished lectures. Henry Drummond, the influential Scottish scientist, Free Church minister, explorer and evangelist published his Lowell Lectures as The Ascent of Man in 1894. This provocative book examines Darwinism in a Christian context. It describes the rise of man, who is considered the highest purpose of the universe, and his relations with the lower animals. In particular, it addresses the question of altruism and its role in promoting the survival of the fittest, which Drummond argues had been overlooked. Drummond claims, unlike traditional evolutionary theory, that the force of evolution is not only the struggle for life, but also the struggle for the life of others. His book, which aroused great interest in its time, remains of importance for historians and philosophers of science today.