Buttle's World

8 September, 2009

The Evolution of Darwin’s Book

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 21:52

This is a really impressive project. People who write software will get the idea right away. For those of us who don’t, it’s a way of looking at the revisions in the editions of On the Origin of Species.

We often think of scientific ideas, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, as fixed notions that are accepted as finished. In fact, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species evolved over the course of several editions he wrote, edited, and updated during his lifetime. The first English edition was approximately 150,000 words and the sixth is a much larger 190,000 words. In the changes are refinements and shifts in ideas — whether increasing the weight of a statement, adding details, or even a change in the idea itself.

Here, in animated, graphical form is the difference between science and dogma: science corrects itself and expands. Dogma is, well, dogmatic.

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