By Joseph Le Conte
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1898
Subjects: History of ideas and intellectual history
Joseph Le Conte was the first geologist, natural historian and botanist to be appointed to the University of California in 1869. He founded the successful palaeontology program at Berkeley and acquired important collections of fossils. He also lectured and wrote on evolution, of which he was the leading American proponent. This book, first published in 1888 but revised and expanded in the second edition reissued here, is his attempt to reconcile his evolutionist convictions with his religious faith. Such a synthesis, he felt, was impeded by dogmatism on both sides, and he makes a case for 'a combining, reconciling and rational view.' He considers three questions: What is evolution? Is it true? and What then?, intending to address 'the intelligent general reader' without being superficial or unscientific. Concepts such as 'neo-Darwinism', 'materialism', and 'design' make their appearance in this wide-ranging book, whose concerns remain surprisingly topical today.
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