Anniversary of Publication of Origin of Species


One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Publication of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin: A (Very) Brief Comparative Comment        

On 24 November 1859 the first edition of Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species (shortened title) was published. The 150th anniversary of the publication of this historic and path-breaking book deserves a commemoration. Among books published in the 19th century in terms of influence but definitely not in terms of scientific accuracy – only Karl Marx’s and Frederick Engels’ ( non-scientific) Communist Manifesto first published 11 years earlier in February 1848 can be said to vie with Darwin’s scientific masterpiece. Since influence and scientific accuracy are (very) different I will make explicit my view that Marx and Engel’s work –at least in comparison with those of
Darwin-is not scientific and this not withstanding the claim by many Marxists about the ‘scientific’ nature of Marx’s theories. I should add as an important aside that quite a few right-wing economists the world over have,-it seems to me- ‘appropriated’; the rhetoric of Marxists’ (mainly but not entirely of ‘old’ times) assertion by claiming the ‘scientific’ nature if not the ‘truth’ of ‘one economics’ (i.e. of the Chicago school kind).            

Professor Peter Gay in his biography of Sigmund Freud, Freud: A Life for Our Time claims that Freud’s (not that scientific) Interpretation of Dreams, first published forty years later to the month in November 1899, did not receive that much attention, interest and controversy and did not sell that well in comparison with Darwin’s Origin. When I mentioned Gay’s ‘stretched’ comparison to the late Professor Andrew S. Watson (formerly of the University of Michigan Law School) who was a psychiatrist and a Freudian, he said with a wry smile and in acknowledgment of Darwin’s superior work: ‘it is very difficult to compete with that book (of Darwin)’ which briefly and simply sums up Darwin’s contributions to the history of sciences and intellectual history have been greater than those of Marx or Freud.         

Dr. Myint Zan
Associate Professor
School of Law
Multimedia University           


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