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July 1960

Darwin on the Origin of Species
by Asa Gray

We cling to a long-accepted theory, just as we cling to an old suit of clothes … New notions and new styles worry us, till we get well used to them, which is only by slow degrees …

Such being our habitual state of mind, it may well be believed that the perusal of the new book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” left an uncomfortable impression …

[But] surely the scientific mind of an age which contemplates the solar system as evolved from a common, revolving, fluid mass,—which, through experimental research, has come to regard light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity, and mechanical power as varieties or derivative and convertible forms of one force, instead of independent species,—which has brought the so-called elementary kinds of matter, such as the metals, into kindred groups … the mind of such an age cannot be expected to let the old belief about species pass unquestioned.

Vol. 6, No. 33, pp. 109-116

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