Joined: Mar. 2007
I'm about one-third of the way through Robert Richards' biography of Ernst Haeckel, "A Tragic Sense of Life". I looked in the Acknowledgments to see if the author thanked Paul Nelson for his contributions, but didn't find it there. Ditto for the bibliography (which is 28 pp long, by the way). I guess we're still waiting for Paul to publish his contributions to Haeckel scholarship...
Anyhoo, I'm really liking the book. It is dense, heavily footnoted, and also heavy on the philosophy of science, so it is slow slogging. But it brings to life a period of time that I was not very familiar with, between the publication of The Origin of Species and the re-discovery of Mendelian genetics. In some ways it was an eclipse period for Darwin's theory, since without an understanding of the mechanism of heredity it was easy to take pot-shots at evolution. It also is a gripping biography. Haeckel set out to prove and enhance Darwin's theories after the death of his young wife, dedicating his life and work as a sort of memorial to her.
Finally it appears that we have Haeckel to thank (at least partially) for the modern-day antagonism between religion and evolution. Apparently he was quite polemical in both his written and spoken works. The targets of his ire were clergy and others who had no comprehension of the science, but who nonetheless spoke out against it (sounds familiar, eh?). He thus set the stage for a battle that continues today. Even Huxley, no shrinking violet when it came to insult, cautioned Haeckel to tone down the vituperation in his monographs. No such luck.
I'll post a full review when I finish the thing; it may be a few days.
In the meantime, the worldwide scientific conspiracy marches on with the announcement of WorldWideScience.
|The WorldWideScience Alliance website will provide visitors with free real-time search of national scientific databases, such as NRC-CISTI's collection, the collection of the Canadian Agriculture library (CAL), as well as the NRC-CISTI-Myilibrary eBook Loans collection, from around the globe. WorldWideScience will allow users to query from over 200 million pages of science and technology information that are not available through popular search engines. |
I clicked on their link for the British Library and spent an hour or so wandering about in there. I need to look at the rest of the site as well!
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
- Pattiann Rogers