Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species has been voted the most influential academic book ever written, hailed as “the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter” and “a book which has changed the way we think about everything”.
After a list of the top 20 academic books was pulled together by expert academic booksellers, librarians and publishers to mark the inaugural Academic Book Week, the public was asked to vote on what they believed to be the most influential. With titles in the running including A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Darwin’s explanation of his theory of evolution was the public’s overwhelming favourite, with 26% of the vote, said organisers.
Professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Glasgow called Darwin’s 1859 study “the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter”. “Darwin used meticulous observation of the world around us, combined with protracted and profound reflection, to create a book which has changed the way we think about everything – not only the natural world, but religion, history and society,” he said. “Every researcher, no matter whether they are writing books, creating digital products or producing artworks, aspires to produce something as significant in the history of thought as Origin of Species.”
Yeah religious conservatives are going to lose their shit over this.
I can personally attest to the influence of this book in my life, and even in my daughter's life.
They say that the best way to create an Atheist is to have them read the Bible. However it is not the only book with that kind of power.
Quite a few years back when my daughter was attending that uber fundamentalist church in Georgia, and coming home with these crazy ideas about evolution, rather than argue about it everyday with her I challenged her to read this book instead.
To her credit she did exactly that, and it did indeed change her mind completely.
Now she is not only a strong supporter of Evolution, and of science in general, but she is an even more ardent Atheist than her old man.
So yes, this book is powerful indeed.
Perhaps THAT is why the Religious Right fears it so.