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Utterly delightful book. You'll find yourself chuckling at Beverley's droll wit and incisive commentary against Darwin, on nearly every page. For this guy is the David Berlinski of the late 1860's. The book satirizes Darwin, and with good reason, as you'll see if you read the book (free download as pdf or epub right here in Google Books).
Beverley extensively quotes Darwin (with page citations, so you might have to search on the words in your copy), then demonstrates how Darwin contradicts himself. For essentially, Darwin's 'Natural Selection' is the Greek Goddess Nature, and Origin of Species is a panegyric to her. Ooops.
But Darwin was not alone. Rather, the argument he advances had already accumulated a huge pile of proponents, for up to 100 years prior; Darwin was a fan of, some among them. Beverley calls this group the Transmutation School, and covers their 'star' arguments. He thus provides important background: you'll never understand neo-Darwinism's weird changes, without it.
For the others in the School, were primarily advancing behavioral or environmental causes for, Transmutation; you won't believe how weird their ideas, until you read them. Hence the neo-Darwinian position is an attempt to divorce from the behavioralist/environmental weirdoes in the 'school', and throws out the baby (that SOME version of behavioralism/environment logically accounts for mutation or change) with the bathwater (the weird contentions that soil or water or 'x' birthed all existence all by itself, or that continual exercise (or lack thereof) created eventual mutations/atrophies).
So Beverley is very au courant for his time. Pity he's not alive now, but 'nature' (lol) has given us David Berlinski, who surely must be the evolved (sic) progeny of Beverley. So read this book for the sheer elegance of the discourse.
Conversely, if you're a neo-Darwinist, you will hate this book; for the Darwinian errors remain today, despite all our scientific advance; 150 years without any more evidence than was to be had, back when Beverley wrote. Ouch.
Only difference is, kids starting with my generation (1950's) were force-fed Darwin as the canon of science from kindergarten forward, so we've been inculcated like good little communists, to believe in it. So of course, when the feet of clay in dogma -- here, 'scientific' dogma -- are exposed, well.. there will be a backlash against 'science'. For we were taught to believe in it while kids, and now we see it's all a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Worse yet, we see that 150 years ago it was KNOWN to be smoke and mirrors, yet the material was force-fed to our kids as 'scientific'? Ouch.
PS: warning, this book was written at a time when the white guys thought that the black guys were inferior. So several references about 'evolution' presume that black or colored skin represented a more-primitive state. I can't tell if Beverley himself believes that, or whether he's bringing up that erstwhile 'doctrine' as part of his satire. Most of the references are quotes of the Transmutation school, it seems. In any event, remember that in those days, newly-minted craziness like Feuerbach and Marxism, Joseph Smith and Spiritism, bleeding people by leeches, and the idea that the soil or water was the agent/source of all life forms (a prior version of evolution, closely tied to pantheism) -- all these wacko ideas, were fashionable. So it's not surprising that mindless melanin -- here its lack -- would be assigned magical powers, too. Right alongside phrenology and the Khazars, lol.
We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.
 

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