- Feb 2023
Whewell was one of the Cambridge dons whom Charles Darwin met during his education there, and when Darwin returned from the Beagle voyage he was directly influenced by Whewell, who persuaded Darwin to become secretary of the Geological Society of London. The title pages of On the Origin of Species open with a quotation from Whewell's Bridgewater Treatise about science founded on a natural theology of a creator establishing laws: But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this—we can perceive that events are brought about not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular case, but by the establishment of general laws.
- Nov 2022
Could be interesting to apply this sort of process to a variety of texts over time. A draft of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein comes to mind.
How to view this through the lens of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? particularly as this was the evolution of an idea by the same author over time...
The only diagram or image in The Origin of Species, a tree depicting divergence (source)
Darwin's On the Origin of Species only contains one diagram, a branching tree diagram which shows divergence of species.
he was working on the same theme with Stefanie Posavec. They completed their piece some time later, depicting the changes as lovely branching trees — a kind of homage to Darwin’s lone diagram in the book.
Greg McInerny of Microsoft Research and Stefanie Posavek created a version of Darwin's On the Origin of Species that displayed variations between the editions as a branching tree diagram, a nod to the only diagram which appeared in Darwin's original work. .
Fifty years ago, coinciding with the centennial of the release of Darwin’s manuscript, author Morse Peckham collected all six editions into a single “variorum” text. Peckham painstakingly created a reference system that denotes the modifications and changes between editions. The text was created by Peckham’s careful enumeration of every sentence from every edition, copied onto index cards; from these cards, he carefully assembled them into a final text.
- evolution of knowledge
- version control
- digital humanities
- card index for writing
- Stefanie Posavek
- Greg McInerny
- On the Origin of Species
- variorum text
- index cards for outlining
- card index for version control
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
- Thomas Kuhn
- Morse Peckham
- information visualization
- tree diagrams
- paradigm shifts
- index cards
- Charles Darwin
the phrase “survival of the fittest” — usually considered central to the theory and often attributed to Darwin — instead came from British philosopher Herbert Spencer, and didn't appear until the fifth edition of the text.
- Nov 2021
For if I wait out the uncomfortable night by the river,I fear that the female dew and the evil frost togetherwill be too much for my damaged strength, I am so exhausted, and in themorning a chilly wind will blow from the river; 470 but if I go up the slopeand into the shadowy forest,and lie down to sleep among the dense bushes, even if the chill andweariness let me be, and a sweet sleep comes upon me,I fear I may become spoil and prey to the wild animals.’
There's something about the description here that reminds me of the closing paragraph of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of the Species (p 489):
It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, [...]
Both authors are writing about riverbanks, life, and uncertainty.