Something’s Missing From Comfort’s Version of On the Origin of Species

Genie Scott has the story:

Unfortunately, it will be hard to thoroughly read the version that Comfort will be distributing on college campuses in November. The copy his publisher sent me is missing no fewer than four crucial chapters, as well as Darwin’s introduction. Two of the omitted chapters, Chapters 11 and 12, showcase biogeography, some of Darwin’s strongest evidence for evolution. Which is a better explanation for the distribution of plants and animals around the planet: common ancestry or special creation? Which better explains why island species are more similar to species on the mainland closest to them, rather than to more distant species that share a similar environment? The answer clearly is common ancestry. Today, scientists continue to develop the science of biogeography, confirming, refining, and extending Darwin’s conclusions.

Likewise missing from Comfort’s bowdlerized version of the Origin is Chapter 13, where Darwin explained how evolution makes sense of classification, morphology, and embryology. To take a simple example, why do all land vertebrates (amphibians, mammals, and reptiles and birds) have four limbs? Not because four limbs are necessarily a superior design for land locomotion: insects have six, arachnids have eight, and millipedes have, well, lots. It’s because all land vertebrates descended with modification from a four-legged (“tetrapod”) ancestor. Since Darwin’s era, scientists have repeatedly confirmed that the more recently two species have shared a common ancestor, the more similar are their anatomy, their biochemistry, their embryology, and their genetics.

Comfort also has a mangled discussion of human evolution (Piltdown, Nebraska man, etc) as well as whale evolution and bird evolution.

You will love the way she ends the artcle…

(Hat Tip to Wilkins)


4 Responses

  1. According to Comfort, the version that will be sent out to students will have the full OoS. I don’t get the explanation though: it was too expensive to hand out the full version for free, so they abridged it. But the version they will hand out free to students will be unabridged.

  2. Makes about as much sense as his banana argument

  3. I did the post via email. That %20 seems to show up randomly in links when I do that – haven’t figured out why…

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