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In the Light of Evolution Volume III: Two Centuries of Darwin
FIGURE 13.1 Charles Darwin, circa 1854 (courtesy of Professor G. Evelyn Hutchison).
Origin of Species in 1859 (Darwin, 1859, 6th ed.) (and, indeed, until the end of his life), Darwin relentlessly pursued empirical evidence to corroborate the evolutionary origin of organisms and to test his theory of natural selection, which he saw as the explanatory process accounting for the adaptive organization of living beings and their diversification and change through time.
Why this disparity between what Darwin was doing and what he claimed? There are at least 2 reasons. First, in the temper of the times, “hypothesis” was a term often reserved for metaphysical speculations without empirical substance. This is the reason Newton, the greatest-ever theorist among scientists, had also claimed, hypotheses non fingo (“I fabricate no hypotheses”). Darwin expressed distaste and even contempt