The British naturalist, Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, on the same day as Abraham Lincoln, on February 12, 1809. Charles Darwin was the second son and fifth child of Susannah Wedgwood and Robert Waring Darwin. Charles Darwin was born into a relatively wealthy family, since his mother was from a family of affluent pottery manufacturers and his father, at the time, had flourishing medical practice outside of London.
Eventually, Charles Darwin became famous in 1859 due to his theories of natural selection and evolution.
Like several scientists previous to him, Darwin assumed that every life on Earth developed gradually or evolved over millions of years from a small number of common ancestors.
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the generally held the concept that all life, like the bananas and the birds, as well as the flowers and the fishes, have descended from a common ancestor and, therefore, related with each other. Darwin’s general theory reasons the evolution of life from non-life and stresses an entirely undirected or naturalistic “descent with modification,” that is, complex living things naturally developed from more primitive ancestors in due course (All About Science, n.
In short, as unsystematic genetic mutations go off within an organism’s genetic code, the favourable mutations are preserved for the reason that they support the organism’s continued existence; this process is known as “natural selection” (All About Science, n. d. ). Accordingly, these beneficial mutations are passed on to the future generations and in due course, the mutations accumulate resulting to not just a modification of the original organism, but an entirely different creature.
Basically, evolution occurs by means of the following progressions of natural selection: individual organisms within a particular species may demonstrate a wide range of distinction on account of divergences in their genes; competition, disease, and predation cause the organisms to die; organisms with attributes most appropriate to the environment are more expected to survive and successfully breed; and the genes that have facilitated these organisms to endure are then passed on to the next generation, and if the surroundings is changing, the outcome is that various genes are expected to be more prolific in the following generation and, in view of this, the organism evolves (The Free Dictionary, 2009).
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is somewhat a young prototype in view of the fact that the evolutionary worldview is as old as ancient times. The system of never-ending development in the living organisms can be traced as far back as Lucretius in the 1st century BC, although it did not receive general approval until the 19th century, following Charles Darwin’s works, along with English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, French naturalist Jean Baptiste Lamarck, and Scottish geologists Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Lyell (The Free Dictionary, 2009). Moreover, ancient Greek philosophers such as Anaximander have previously suggested the evolutionary descent of man from animal and the development of life from non-life (All About Science, n. d. ).
The modern theory of evolution, identified as neo-Darwinism, fuses Darwin’s theory with biologists Hugo de Vries’s finding of genetic mutation and Gregor Mendel’s theories on genetics (The Free Dictionary, 2009). I. Natural Selection Charles Darwin simply conveyed something unique to the previous philosophy, which is the conceivable system called “natural selection. ” Darwin identified “natural selection” that acts on randomly occurring variations with the most important role in evolutionary change. To illustrate, natural selection acts to accumulate and preserve slight beneficial genetic mutations; a member of a species, for instance, grew wings and learned to fly, its descendants would eventually inherit that development and also pass them on to their descendants.
In contrast, the disadvantage or inferior members of the same species would slowly become extinct, leaving only the advantaged or superior members of the species. Basically, natural selection is the naturalistic counterpart to domestic breeding, seeing that breeders get rid of unattractive qualities gradually in due course. In the same way, natural selection progressively eliminates substandard species eventually. Therefore, Darwin’s theory suggests that through natural selection the functional advantages that allow species to participate better in the wild are preserved. II. Slowly but Surely Darwin’s Theory of Evolution emphasizes a slow gradual progression.
Darwin noted down, “Natural selection ensues only by taking advantage of minor successive variations; she can never take a sudden and giant leap, but must progress by sure and short, although slow steps” (All About Science, n. d. ). Accordingly, Darwin agreed that if it could be established that any complex organism existed, which could not possibly have been created by various, consecutive, minor modifications, his theory would completely collapse. Contradicting Views Darwin’s assumptions along with other succeeding theories that are founded on the idea of natural selection have been subjected to numerous controversies. When Darwin first came out with his theory, he confronted a great deal of resistances, particularly people from the Creationists which have religious or a theological basis for their arguments (Buzzle, 2009).
Darwin’s theory of evolution rises against their long established beliefs and systems of spiritual thought. Creationists strongly believe that God or other supernatural being had a hand in creating humans and other living beings on Earth. Numerous people strongly opposed the concept of evolution in view of the fact that it conflicted with their religious beliefs. For that reason, Darwin’s work had an incredible impact on religious communities. Because Darwin was a hard working, systematic, reserved scholar who concerned himself with the emotions and feelings not only of his family, but also his peers and friends, he stayed away from talking about the sociological and theological views of his work.
Nevertheless, other writers expectedly made use of his theories to support their individual theories concerning humankind. Moreover, it has been alleged that Darwin renounced his evolution theory on his deathbed. Soon after Darwin’s death, evangelist and temperance campaigner Lady Elizabeth Hope said publicly that she witnessed the former’s renunciation when she visited him at his deathbed (Lucidcafe, n. d. ). Lady Hope’s story subsequently spread following its publication in a Boston newspaper. Nonetheless, her story was contested by Darwin’s daughter Henrietta who asserted, “I was present at his deathbed, and he never retracted any of his scientific views” (Lucidcafe, n. d. ).
Darwin’s theory of evolution holds that variation within species arises at random and that the extinction or survival of each organism is determined by the latter’s ability to adjust to the environment. Darwin came to realize that any population consists of creatures that are all relatively diverse from each another. Those creatures having a variation that provides them advantages to stay alive long enough to effectively reproduce are the ones that pass on their characteristics to the following generation. Consequently, the particular population evolves as the advantageous characteristics become more widespread. In view of that, Darwin’s theory had greatly impacted numerous religious thoughts, and while succeeding findings from other experts have accepted Darwin’s theory, religious conflict today still continues.
All About Science. (n.d.). Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution – A Theory in Crisis. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://www.darwins-theory-of-evolution.com/
Buzzle. (2009). Charles Darwin: The Theory of Evolution. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/charles-darwin-the-theory-of-evolution.html
Lucidcafe. (n.d.). Charles Darwin. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://www.lucidcafe.com/library/96feb/darwin.html
The Free Dictionary. (2009). Evolution. Retrieved June 9, 2009, from http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Darwin%27s+theory+of+evolution