Chapter 1 – Variation Under Domestication

Let’s start the book debate.

I’ll throw out some initial questions. If you would like to add some more, feel free to add them.

What is Darwin’s point of chapter 1?
Does well does he support his case?

Since we don’t have a thread for the introduction, any comments about it can be included here.

I like this quote at the beginning of the work:

“To conclude, therefore, let no man upon a weak conceit of sobriety or an ill-applied moderation think or maintain that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or the book of God’s works, divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both.”
– Bacon

In chapter 1, Darwin’s main point is that plants and animals under domestication demonstrate descent with modification. The evidence is clear on this. So, this serves as a strong argument to open up the book.

In the chapter, he lays the foundation of his theory. Only inheritable changes are important, the changes are random, and that through man “selecting” what he wishes, the animals/plants can be molded through successive generations to something different from the original stock. “Breeders habitually speak of an animal’s organisation as something quite plastic, which they can model almost as they please.”

He acknowledges that he does not know the cause of the modifications and offers some possible causes (changes in reproductive system).

He brings up the concept “correlation of growth”. Though I’m not entirely clear what he means by this. My take is that a change at one place can affect a change at another place.

Overall, I think he presents his case well in chapter 1.