Lucretius on Creation and Evolution: A Commentary on De rerum natura Book 5 Lines 772-1104

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Lucretius' account of the origin of life, the origin of species, and human prehistory is the longest and most detailed account extant from the ancient world. It gives an anti-teleological mechanistic theory of zoogony and the origin of species that does away with the need for any divine aid or design in the process, and accordingly it has been seen as a forerunner of Darwin's theory of evolution. This commentary locates Lucretius in both the ancient and modern contexts, and treats Lucretius' ideas as very much alive rather than as historical concepts. The recent revival of creationism makes this study particularly relevant to contemporary debate, and indeed, many of the central questions posed by creationists are those Lucretius attempts to answer.