The Autobiography of Charles Darwin


Darwin Meets Newton: Evolution and the Mass of the Galaxy

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Science and technology have been around since the beginning of time. Since the 17th century science has been playing a significant role in changing people’s perspective of viewing the world. Amongst various scientists, Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin were two of the most influential figures in the history of science. Although born 200 years apart, Newton and Darwin were both Englishmen who provided a great contribution in the field of physics, mathematics and biology. Newton was famous for his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. In his book he talks about the laws of motion. On the other hand, Darwin was well-known for his contribution on theory of evolution. People during the 17th century believed in things without any evidence and hypothesis. However, scientists like Darwin and Newton followed the rule of observing and experimenting. They were held by the fact that nothing in the universe can be claimed as truth without a proof. This idea led scientists like Newton and Darwin to stand out from the rest of the world.

Sir Isaac Newton was born to a wealthy family. While he was pursuing his degree in The University of Cambridge, the university shut down as the precaution against the Great plague. Although he was not considered a good student, his 18- months stay at home triggered curiosity in him, regarding the Earth and the planetary motions. Before Newton’s discoveries, scientists Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo formulated that the universe was heliocentric. People believed this fact based on Aristotelian philosophy rather than scientific evidences. Newton did not really contradict the past speculations regarding space and science, however he was the first to clarify and demonstrate that hypothesis was right scientifically. He evidenced the theory of the universe being centered by the sun to be right by using his law of gravitation. He demonstrated that the sun’s gravity held the planets position. By clarifying what gravity is and demonstrating how it functions with the nearby planetary group, he had the was able to verify that the planets were held set up by the gravity of the sun. His law refuted the conviction that planets were held in movement by an invisible shield. Newton used his calculations to prove that the path of the planet to be long ellipses. With his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravity published in 1687 in Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Newton outlined his understanding of motion. He created conditions that helped demonstrate that an object was pulled in to different object because of a particular force known as gravitational force. This reality does not just give proof that why an apple falls on the ground but additionally clarifies why planet moved in the circle. History’s another prodigious science hero was Charles Darwin. Darwin was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, well known for his influence on the theory of evolution. His work provocated the traditional belief of the people during his time and change their view about evolution. Before Darwin, people in England acknowledged thoughts that organism were not connected. They believed that species was fixed, immutable and created by God. Darwin’s theory on the Origin of Species challenged this belief. In his book, he explained that species are not made by a special power but rather by the process of evolution known as Natural Selection. Organisms that can adjust and tolerate the changes in environment, will have higher multiplication rates and they would pass their favored traits over generations. In this way, adaptation progressed over numerous generations and made creation of new species possible. sit Newton, Darwin’s curiosity began with questions. While he was travelling on the HMS Beagle to various islands, he observed numerous characteristics of organisms that made him question about the origin of life. With an assortment of characteristic examples, including birds, plants and fossils, Charles Darwin demonstrated the progressive hypothesis about the origin of living creatures that was in opposition to the mainstream perspective on different naturalists at the time.

Greek philosopher, Aristotle was an extremely ardent onlooker of life. In any case, he believed that creatures can breed and reproduce, yet were fixed. He saw the species as constant. People during that time saw every species as made by God, and these species stay fixed throughout. The religious outbreak occurred after the Great transformed this understanding in the people. A European philosophical movement expanded through the American colonies. Enlightened philosophers highlighted a technical and logical interpretation of the world, while limiting religious conviction. For a long time, the greater part of the Christians considered Bible to be the essential wellspring of learning. However, in the seventeenth century another development rose in the Europe that tested the Christian perspective on the world, The Scientific Revolution. It was when individuals were looking toward considering better approach for viewing world. Amid Renaissance the rising intensity of science constrained the Catholic Church to punish defiant scientists. Them since they prevented the heavenly nature from claiming Jesus. Newton and Darwin had the ability to change this perspective of individuals.

Newton and Darwin lived their life in a similar way. Newton and Darwin carried on with their life in a similar way. They were the two alumni of The Cambridge University and members of the Royal Society. Above all, they published books that changed the way in which the world was understood. Their book tested religion with logical research. The world we are living in present would never be the same without the extraordinary commitment of Newton and Darwin. This sublime breadth of science, from becoming more acquainted with the developments of bodies to thinking about the presence of life forms make science a unique.

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The Creation of Humans: the Creation Or Evolution

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, my high school years were full of denouncing and correcting facts about the church from my peers. As a student interested about the natural world through the fascinating scope of biology, I have been forced to polarize between the explanations of science or the faith of religion on multiple accounts. Though my biology teachers seemed to be so adamant that humans evolved from apes, I was unable to adhere to their relentless comments demanding for concrete proof that it was God who created mankind through Adam. As I oscillated between the two opposing arguments, my immature brain started to undergo a phase in which I slowly started to question the intangible. If the theory of evolution created by man indeed explained how we, as humans, were created, then it seemed like my testimony in the church was all disproved by science. Prayerful studying as well as the help of Professor O’Neill led me to many answers to my question, but not after many, many years of being lost, unable to find any answers. The fact is that evolution and God coexist; it is the combination of the two that made the Plan of Salvation work. I was thankful that there exists an answer to my concern, but I was perplexed at mankind for choosing to dismiss God, the true mastermind of life who makes life work. In the case of how we were created, choosing to believe either science or religion is pure ignorance, as the combination of the two strengthens my testimony of the church.

Attempting to discover if scientific reasons were the only explanation to the creation of humans, I started my quest to find the truth by researching what my biology teachers believed in. Charles Darwin, through his book titled On the Origin of Species, introduced the theory of evolution through the process of natural selection. Despite controversial reviews worldwide, Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution has revolutionized the way scientists viewed the world. This led to many theories regarding the creation of man, with Darwinian evolution being its centerpiece (William). The events of the Monkey Scopes Trials in 1925 exacerbated the contentious issue of evolution vs. religion, breaking a Tennessee state law that bans the teaching of any theory that contradicts the creation taught in the Bible at school ( Humans evolving from a common ancestor from apes, according to evolutionists, was well supported with evidence. From the proof that we share over 99% of our DNA with them, to very similar anatomical structures, and to all the fossil records, it is no surprise that such a theory was created. The fossil evidence provided proof that the Ardipithecus ramidus, which lived 4.4 million years ago, was the earliest humanoid with bipedal features who started the ancestry towards human creation. The Homo habilis displayed brain development that supported the act of speech, nicknamed The Handy Man due to its use of tools. Finally, the Homo erectus, which lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago, was the organism that travelled across Africa to Southeast Asia complete with nearly identical features to humans, making it one of our own species ( However, despite learning all of that in school, I have yet to wonder if society was being nothing more than just a dogmatic slave to scientific evidence. There must have been plenty of holes to that theory and the sudden jump from an ape-like creature to us, a human, perplexed both me and Professor O’Neill. Another undeniable explanation must exist.

Eventually, amidst my search for the truth, I have found that it was ignorant to shun the topic of evolution altogether. Though the church has officially declared that they have no official stance on evolution, plenty of general authorities have provided insight as to how evolution can tie in with creation (Smith). Joseph Fielding Smith, an apostle who gave a speech during General Conference in 1930, stated that the idea of “pre-Adamites” was false and that there was no death of mankind before Adam. In the 1950s, he wrote “Man, His Origin and Destiny”, an anti-evolution book published while the dispute of evolution was still highly controversial (Keeler). In the Holy Bible’s book of Genesis, it states, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” (King James Version, Gen. 1.27).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cultivates its beliefs on revelation through the living prophet. Humans, created in the image of God, have been given a mortal vessel to house the spirit. In the Book of Moses Chapter 3 verse 4-7, it reads “And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.” After a brief conversation with Professor O’Neill, I realized that finding out the specifics of where we came from did not matter, since it was after God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” that we became humans. We could have been monkeys, or fish, or singled celled organisms, or all of the above before we became human. According to the BYU magazine, religion and evolution answers two separate questions that are both correct. Religion answers the reasons why we are here on this Earth while evolution provides a mechanism that allows the changes to take place (Evans). Having found a satisfactory answer, my reflection about this experience led me to view society and the world around me differently.

The debate surrounding evolution and religion has lasted well over a century, with mankind hypothesizing explanations about how we became who we are. My experience, fighting at the vanguard of this battle of creation, led to confusion regarding the purpose all of this was. Innately curious by nature, it seems as though we want to uncover the truth about everything, and we will not stop researching, debating, and sacrificing everything until we find it. According to my faith in the church, there are such things that we, with our mortal bodies, cannot comprehend since God’s omnipotent mind is far beyond our grasp of understanding. Despite that, mankind today still relies on concrete facts and explanations rather than an unknown, external influence in the form of God. Miraculous things, like how perfect our bodies came to be, are beyond the scope of what science can explain. Can we, as people of faith in religion, find peace with people of science, especially when they seem to be unable to find faith without undeniable, concrete proof? We, as a society, must come to an agreement that there exists intangible things and events that we will never be able to explain in a lifetime. As Len Scott, a dairyman questioned about what he believed about human creation, stated, “I don’t understand it, either; neither do I really understand the hereafter nor the preexistence. But where knowledge ends, faith must take over,” (Harrison).

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The One of Most Popular Scientist – Charles Darwin

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

I have been raised as a faithful Christian and I was open to radical ideas and thoughts, for my family had heavily participated in the Enlightenment; Erasmus Darwin, my grandfather, had published a book which put out a radical concept – that one species could shift from one to another. Bending to the wishes of my parents, I went to Edinburgh to learn medicine. I was a terrible doctor, as I was terrified by blood; however, Edinburgh attracted speakers with controversial ideas that would not have been accepted anywhere else and I listened to them talk about ‘transmutation’, a proto-evolution idea. Giving my dream to be a doctor, I went to be a priest at Cambridge. I wasn’t content in this direction; however, I had time to pursue my real ambition: biology. After graduation in 1831, a friend recommended me as a ‘naturalist’ for a voyage on the HMS Beagle.

For the next five years, as I traveled to multiple continents, I spent my time collecting specimens, studying geographic variations, and drawing conclusions. The ship made stop at the Galapagos after visiting South America. Influenced by the ‘Principles of Geology’, I studied the wildlife, but I didn’t conclude anything here. When I came home, I conversed about my findings to others and began writing about the travel. As I was writing,I realized that animals more suited to their environment survived longer and had more offspring than those who were less suited for that environment. Nature used this process I coined ‘Natural Selection’.I decided to collect evidence before presenting these ideas.

In 1858, my theory of evolution was put forth to Britain’s Natural History council, the Linnean Society. Still shrouded in doubt, I published my theory of evolution. I was scrowled at by the Church and from multiple difference magazines. Several people were upset by the book’s underlying idea: people shared an ancestor with apes, though it was only hinted at. My ‘Origin of Species’ became a hit around Europe. As time went on, I strengthened my case. By countering critics, I built a solid case and I coined the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’, which, unlike ‘natural selection’, doesn’t imply a divine being being involved. In ‘The Descent of Man’, I presented the idea about our human ancestor. The book disturbed the church once again. However, my ideas had received popularity, but Victorian society was still concerned about the ideology that people shared an ancestor with monkeys, but many people had accepted this vision and became Darwinists.

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The Evolution of Darwinism Movement Through the Years

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

In 1859, Charles Darwin had published On the Origins of Species, which talked about the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. Thinkers at the time had applied Darwin’s discoveries to human society; one of them being Herbert Spencer who was the proponent leader of the movement. He believed that social justice consists of individuals making whatever they can of their lives. He acknowledged that people are naturally unequal, resulting in people either succeeding or failing in life due to their own efforts. The catchphrase ‘survival of the fittest’ had spawned from this ideology: those who adapt appropriately to social environments will therefore do the best. Herbert Spencer had saw this as the natural order of things. A contemporary of Spencer was Samuel Smiles, and he turned Social Darwinism into a quasi-religion. He believed that it is within the capacity of the individual to improve themselves, and humans succeed according to our efforts. One of his most famous quotes comes from his book Self Help:’The healthy spirit of self-help created amongst working-people would, more than any other measure would, raise them as a class’. This means that the poor would try their hardest to move up the social ladder, if they are not given any help to do so,as they would only have themselves to blame. Smile’s book was released in 1859 and sold 150,000 copies, conveying that there were some people who had agreed with him and his views were fairly popular at the time. However, the peak of Darwinism definitely occurred with the presence of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in the United Kingdom. The want for privatisation and much more under her government linked to Social Darwinism, as it conveyed ‘survival of the fittest’. In an deregulated society, dynamic people will succeed and the lazy people will fail and get what they deserve, which is very little. Additionally, there was also the belief that Welfare had become excessive- creating a dependency culture.

Social Darwinism had started to grow in popularity throughout the rest of Europe, as people witnessed the expansion European imperialism. Darwinism was used to justify the idea of there being a superior race, and they were part of it and that it was their duty to help civilise the people that were part of the weaker race.’Social Darwinism could be harnessed to the explanation and justification of imperialist policies.’ An example of this is Napoleon III, who after the success of The French Revolution deemed France and French culture superior to others and thought that it was their responsibility to spread this way of life around the world, with their targets primarily being those with a different race to them.The idea was because they had discovered this new ideology at the time, which was liberalism, they had won the race and biological battle with others, and was in the lead, as they were at the forefront of this belief of ‘survival of the fittest’.

The theory of evolution was applied evolution to the social and economic actions of imperialists. Imperialists could therefore claim that they were just following natural law and that it was science, if any were to criticise imperialism, and label as unethical. To imperialists at the time, taking control of other civilisation had meant that they were contributing to the forwarding of human evolution and that it was the natural order of things. This would have helped many Europeans support the movement, as most were traditional conservatives, meaning they believed that it is a part of human nature for there to order and hierarchy in society, further exhibiting that those at the top of society have a duty to keep those at the bottom of society in check- imperialism would be used to do so, therefore gaining less backlash. In short, Social darwinism gave imperialism some sort of scientific legitimacy, and was used justify notions of racialism and the idea of ‘the white man’s burden.’

To amplify this idea that social darwinism was used as an excuse to colonise was the fact that the theory of evolution was never intended to be applied to race and biology. Darwin was more concerned with competition between species, rather than in a social context with humans. Darwinism had been rejected by most legitimate sociologists, emphasising this idea that it was never meant to be applied in a social context.

Darwin inspired eugenics had played a crucial role in inspiring Hitler and his followers. Darwinism justified and encouraged the Nazi views on both race and war. The dismissal of the Christian belief that all humans come from Adam and Eve, suggests the holocaust would not have happened as there would have not been this view of the superior race. Nazis claimed that their actions were not mainly because they hated the Jewish race, but because they did not want them polluting their superior race. Hitler had claimed that Jewish people should be eradicated as ‘in the long run nature eliminates the noxious elements’, ostensibly claiming that Jewish people are inferior, and that they are just hurrying up the pace of their extinction, as it was inevitable. Hitler had also argued that due to this, the government should apply the ‘laws of nature’ mainly being ‘the survival of the fittest’, and promote the elimination of the inferior races. Hitler had been very fearful of the Aryan races breeding with other races. The resulted in the creation of the ‘final solution’, which was that inferior races had to be eliminated so that future generations of the aryan race would always be grateful for the improvement of humanity. In a speech hitler had stated: ‘The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place.’ Hitler even went as far as comparing inferior races to animals ‘the Jews, labelled subhumans, became onbeings.’

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Evolution & Cambrian Explosion

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Evolution and Cambrian explosion


After the publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution there were lots of debate on his theory versus theory of creationism. According to Darwin all species adapted according to environment needs and they still developing according to environment. There are lots of scientific evidences that supports Darwin’s theory of evolution but also there are some scientific study that place doubt on theory of evolution as explained by Darwin. Biologists found hundreds of species that are changing through the time. Micro-organisms become unaffected to drugs; insects have become though to chemical pesticide and weed plants have become resistant to herbicide. Species changing their body forms physically and chemically in response to environment change. “fit will survive more” is a rule of environment. The more fit you are, more you will survive.

Darwin’s finchesDarwin’s finches are one of the great evidences that supports his theory of evolution by natural selection. The Galapagos islands is home of 26 species of birds. 14 species of birds know as Darwin’s finches. Darwin’s finches are considered as fastest evolving species because the quickly change their deeds and appearance according to change in environment. According to Darwin diversity of one species in an island is unique things. They are belonging to one singular group with same kind of appearance, but the only difference is beak. Later he observed that it depends on food what they eat. Some of them species depends on seeds and plants and some are depending on insects.

Cambrian explosion

Cambrian explosion is an event happened 540 million years ago and lasts for 20,25 million years. Before Cambrian explosion most of the life forms were simple. The Cambrian explosion refers to the sudden appearance in the fossil record of complex animal with mineralized skeletal remains. Almost every metazoan phylum with hard part appeared in Cambrian era. After Cambrian explosion all life forms starts to become more complicated. However, many major groups of organisms appeared within span forty million years.


In the last, Cambrian explosion is era in which most of the diversity of organisms is appeared. Cambrian explosion is under study. After study and some scientific evidence, it can be hypothesis that can disprove the theory of evolution. Although we have theory of evolution with some exemptions, but still it is popular theory that prove how we are originated and developed to humans.


  1. Bicknell, R. D. C., & Paterson, J. R. (2018). Reappraising the early evidence of durophagy and drilling predation in the fossil record: implications for escalation and the Cambrian Explosion. Biological Reviews, 93(2), 754.
  2. Lee, M. S. Y., Soubrier, J., & Edgecombe, G. D. (2013). Rates of Phenotypic and Genomic Evolution during the Cambrian Explosion. Current Biology, (19), 1889.
  3. Levinton, J. S. (2008). The Cambrian Explosion: How Do We Use the Evidence? BioScience, 58(9), 855.
  4. Otgaar, H., & Howe, M. L. (2014). What kind of memory has evolution wrought? Memory, 22(1), 1–8.
  5. Chen, P., & Ruffini, R. (2015). Did gamma ray burst induce Cambrian explosion? Astronomy Reports, 59(6), 469–473.
  6. Ryan, F. P. (2006). Genomic creativity and natural selection: a modern synthesis. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 88(4), 655–672.
  7. Ellegren, H. (2005). Dispatch: Evolution: Natural Selection in the Evolution of Humans and Chimps. Current Biology, 15, R919–R922.
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The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Human Intelligence

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the book “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin, Darwin discusses how humans evolved into the most dominant specie to ever exist. We have grown intellectually at an astonishing rate. We have used our curiosity and imagination in very unique ways to find and build ways to help us adapt to the environment. Humans used these two components to build tools that helped us grow intellectually and most importantly, survive. Darwin’s examination of our use of tools and inquisitive imagination shows how powerful they are in the evolution of mental powers.

At the age of 22, Charles Darwin was invited to travel in the HMS Beagle as a naturalist. He spent 5 years traveling the world while collecting a ton of notes and observations about animal and plant life. This voyage was the best opportunity he had in his life. It helped him gather evidence to support his theory on evolution. However, Darwin waited more than 20 years before publishing his theory. He knew that the public would ridicule his radical ideas. In 1859, he published his book “On the Origin of Species”, but he didn’t publish his ideas of human evolution until 1871 when he released his book “The Descent of Man”. It sparked a ton of controversy because he literally argued that humans were animals. This also led to religious and science implications as expected. In his book, Darwin challenged the way society thought about religion by taking a more scientific approach. He published a gargantuan amount of evidence that he has gathered his whole life to argue how we have evolved as human beings.Darwin explains how humans relied on cognition for survival. We built stone tools in which we used to scavenge meat. We invented many tools, traps, weapons and we were capable in using them creatively in a variety of ways which includes obtaining food, defending ourselves and killing or catching preys. Darwin mentions a couple of inventions such as the rafts or canoes that we used for fishing or traveling to close-by islands which were “direct results of the development of his powers of observation, memory, curiosity, imagination and reason” (Darwin 84).

Humans were very creative and inventive. Humans had an incredible sense of curiosity that allowed them to be as ingenious as they are today. For example, Darwin took a stuffed and coiled-up snake into the monkey-house to test how the monkeys would react to seeing a snake surrounding their area. At first, they were frightened and even cried. However, after a while, all the monkeys gathered in a circle and started staring at the snake. They later approached the stuffed snake and examined it. Darwin attempted this experiment again, but this time with a real living snake. The results were quite shocking: one of the monkeys immediately ran to the compartment in which the snake was placed and opened the paper bag a little to peak in and see what’s inside, but after he peaked, he immediately ran away. This monkey took a ton of risks. What if the snake bit and killed him? The monkey wanted to know why there was a foreign object in his surrounding and he wasn’t afraid to go up to it. His curiosity outweighed his fear from the foreign object. Darwin emphasizes that this is one the big reasons why humans have become more advanced than any other specie on earth.

To this point, Darwin discussed the power and impact of curiosity on mankind and how it pushes us to go into zones that we are not familiar or comfortable with. However, there is a key component that is still missing and that is imagination. Curiosity without imagination is worthless. As Darwin puts it “The imagination is one of the highest prerogatives of man. By this faculty he unites former images and ideas, independently of the will, and thus creates brilliant and novel results” (Darwin 121). Darwin provides specific examples that demonstrate the effectiveness of imagination such as elephants in India that break branches off from trees to use them to drive away the flies. Another example are monkeys which had weak teeth, used stones to break open nuts. Furthermore, Darwin asserts that they even hid the stone and not allow anybody else to touch it. This demonstrates how monkeys used their imaginations to condition themselves to seeing stones as a symbol of a tool that they frequently used as an alternative to break open nuts due to the fact that they have weak teeth. This shows how our imagination have given us the chance to adapt in our environment very creatively.

As a result of our incredible development in imagination and curiosity, we have been capable of learning quickly and thinking outside of the box. As an example, Darwin talks about the monkey which was taught to open the lid of a large box with a stick. After the monkey learned this specific skill, he was able to use the same tool as a lever to move heavy bodies. This demonstrates how monkeys were proficient in critical thinking. They did not use the same tool for the same exact job, but rather applied the knowledge that they’ve learned to create new purposes or uses for the tool. Adding to his argument, Darwin claims to have seen an orang using a blanket or straw to cover and protect herself when she thought that she was going to be whipped. This is yet another example proving how our creative thinking has allowed us to thinkoutside the box. Imagine that the orang did in fact get whipped, the use of a foreign object could have protected herself from serious injuries, or possibly death. The orang can now mate and reproduce because the whipping could not have severely impacted her fitness by using protection. The blanket or foreign object represents an adaptation that we have created to help us thrive in the world we live in.

At this point, you might be thinking “well how the heck were humans able to evolve into the beasts they are today?” “What made them have this much power if they all were animals?” Well Darwin and recent scientific evidence may have a couple of answers for you. Darwin states that “Man could not have attained his present dominant position in the world without the use of his hands” (Darwin 88). Humans had some physiological advantages that carried them through evolution. One of the biggest physiological advantages that humans have is the precision of their hand. Our use of tools, imagination and curiosity, as discussed earlier, have all contributed to what Darwins calls “the perfect hand”. Darwin asserts that hammering with precision, throwing with incredible aim and forming a barbed spear all require an exquisite development of the hand. However, this development did not happen in the span of a few years, but rather thousands and thousands of years. Ever since humans have started building and using tools, they have been developing their hands to adapt to such conditions. Constantly relying on the hand for adaptation and survival has allowed it to become stronger and evolve throughout the years.

Moving on from Darwin, scientific evidence proves that one of the main reasons why humans have become so intelligent is because of our extremely well developed cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is a layer in the human brain that allows us to create tools, acquire complex skills, use language and live in social groups. In animals, the cerebral cortex is smooth. However, in humans, it is wrinkled and folded. As a result, the wrinkles and folds create a much larger surface area and size which increases the capacity for thinking, remembering and learning. The cerebral cortex has grown so much that it covers about 80% of the brain’s weight. This explains why humans are capable of storing a massive amount of information in their brains.

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A Role of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Darwin’s Origin of Species and its Influence on Literature

The question of the origin of life, the human form and its characteristics is one that has been debated and pondered upon by thousands of philosophers for aeons. Creationism and Evolution are the most popular and important theories to date. There are, however, thousands of posterities to these two core premises.

To the same effect, Charles Darwin had purported a myriad of theories that stemmed from the broad concept of Evolution. One such immensely important theory is the Origin of Species. The theory pre-dominantly states that, individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and less likely to reproduce; individuals more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and more likely to reproduce and leave their heritable traits to future generations, which produces the process of natural selection. Along with this hypothesis Darwin also proposed many other inferences such as despite periodic fluctuations the population mostly remains the same and that variations accumulate over time to form new species.

Darwin wrote the first edition of the Origin of Species in 1858. It was written shortly after the Protestant Reformation which had made the Bible largely available to the common masses, popularising creationism in the already overzealous religious fanaticism of the people.

The Origin of Species theory drew a lot of interest from writers. There were multiple perspectives and opinions published by authors who either entirely disagreed or incorporated their own discernment into their work.

However, Darwin’s book also caused an influx of science fiction in the Victorian era. Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Charles Kingsley and Edgar Rice Burroughs to name a few were pre-eminent writers of the genre. They dealt vastly with the concept of God and man and the consequent struggle for power between them. Authors such as Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, Alfred Lord Tennyson and George Bernard Shaw were, to some extent, influenced by Darwin’s theory. This influence is unambiguously mirrored in their published work.

Natural selection is the most widely explored concept of Darwin’s theory in the Victorian Age. Tennyson in his poem, In Memoriam, wrote,” fifty seeds and only one to bear” depicting the competition nature faces from death and the eternal struggle for survival.

The Mill on the Floss also elucidates on the same concept, however, the perspective and context are altered. The importance of good breeding and origin are rendered through the character of Deronda. There are two turning points in his search for his family origins, the first one is meeting Mariah with her search for her lost mother and brother, and meeting his mother who is believed to be dead. The discovery of his mother’s identity-Leonora Halm-Eberstein, adds the final piece to the puzzle of his origin. He is a Jew. He can now be fully accepted by both Mariah and her whole family.

H.G. Wells, on the other hand, completely refutes the Darwin’s natural selection and survival of the fittest theory in his book, The Time Machine. He presents the ultimate and absolute degeneration of man, wherein, the rich devolve into helpless fools and the poor into subterranean cannibals. Wells aimed to propagate his theory, natural selection and careful, guarded procreation does not guarantee an unspoiled population and that circumstances and situations inevitably change as time goes on.

Darwin’s theory had been fragmented and devoured separately by authors in the Victorian period. Books such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde too have allusions to the theory showing that almost all writers of the time had their own individual opinions on the novel concept. The discussions and debates on Darwin’s theory became so popular and well-known that it led to the conception of the Social Darwinism construct.

The Origin of Species theory and the entire concept of evolution was utterly neoteric. In a time when the only available answer to the question of our origin was God, the idea of man as a self-evolved species was predictably hard to absorb.

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Main Aspects of the Origin of Species and the Theory of Survival

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The reactions to the publication of The Origin of Species by means of Natural selection in 1859, was a defining moment in the history of science. Even more so the book had an effect on the general public the likes of which have never been seen since. The years following The Origin of Species publication were to be ones with much debate as the book came to be read by the various classes across the Empire. More so debate would spring up in the unlikeliest of places, especially within the Established Church as liberal and conservative elements struggled to define the role of God in nature. Similar events were to take place within the minds of the general public as they read more of Darwin’s work, discovering that the world may not be as planned as implied within religion and subsequently theories such as Survival of the Fittest as it related to Humanity made sense to the common man. While the affects were not as immediate as perhaps often described in the grand narrative of scientific history, it was nonetheless a spark which ignited debate and would ultimately result in the proper establishment of independent science.

When Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of natural selection was published in 1859 it is arguable to say that the affect it had on not just scientific understanding, but more so on the general populace as a whole could hardly have been fully grasped. Darwin’s Origin of Species was truly a book of its age. An age in which science was fully starting to come to stand on its own, and even more so an age which saw the beginning of education for the masses. This was to play a large part in the reception, adoption and ever-growing sympathy of the essential argument Darwin was going for in the Origin of Species. However at the same time it should also be understand the while Darwin may have been among the first to put the theory of an origin of species being via natural selection, the essential components of his theory was largely to an extent accepted within much of the scientific community. This will be explored when we look deeper into the historical context in which the book was published, which will aid in understanding why various parts of society responded differently than others. To that end though we shall analyze the various reactions which took place within the first couple of years following the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, focusing primarily on the reactions of the; the General Populace, the Established Church and the Scientific Community.

Before the reactions to the Origin of Species publication can be assessed it is important firstly to spend a little bit of time seeking to understand the common notions of evolution and science as it had come to be since the first forays into Evolutionary theories in the 17th century. Throughout much of History up until the begin of the 17th centuries science had been intertwined strongly within the religious cultural framework of most European societies. However in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and the subsequent wars that followed, the binding of the two became to an extent loosened and weakened. Indeed also coinciding with these events were various strains of thought, most commonly during this period originated in the Protestant British Isles and Northern Europe, that sort to seek at first to understand the place of humanity in the world. While there was no single person or natural philosopher that is solely responsible for this, it is possible to begin to see where thought is going within the thought of Church of England Archbishop James Ussher, who sort to discover the true age of the Earth. Subsequently Ussher came up with a theory that placed the earth at around 6-7000 years old. While it is possible to jest at the very idea in modern times that it would even be conceivable to judge the true age of the earth, this was to start thought in direction of trying to understand the world better.

Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, was the first to specifically place Homo Sapiens (A name he coined) within the same category as Primates. Linnaeus is an important figure in the history of science as he among the first to attempt to construct a list of all beings categorized within logical and sensical grounds within his book, Systema Naturae . While Linnaeus didn’t mention concepts such as evolution exactly, it is undeniable that through the process of seeking to classify all known plants and fauna in his region the result would lead to similarities being noticed and cause for more scientific inquiry. Among the first to question such reasons was Leclerc, the Comte de Buffon. Buffon argued that various regions are home to unique builds of certain species. Buffon was not an evolutionist in the sense it has come to mean, although similar in certain ways he did believe that not only did many animal types have common ancestors but that at the same time that there was a type of spectrum which affected how an animal is in certain regions and climates. This would result in concepts that would lead in towards evolution yet were more of a form of transformation, in that local conditions would transform and alter animals. Charles Darwin’s own grandfather Erasmus Darwin would himself come onto the scene in 18th century in which in his work Zoonomania,where he stated his belief in that the world may be much older than previously established via the Bible. Erasmus Darwin also believed in the idea of sexual selection in regards to an early form of evolution of a species, however it never left the theoretical stage due to his inability to provide evidence for this.

The Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, unlike his predecessors, was the first to openly argue for the involvement in nature and the environment as a force that can change nature. Lamarck’s theory however was based upon the natural progression of naturally acquired characteristics that are passed on via the young, characteristics that ultimately were proven to be fails in their adherence of future generation. Although Lamarck may have been wrong however his work helped create arguably more so than most natural scientists previously, an environment that would aid in the further development in regards to the theory of evolution. Subsequently Lamarck’s debated with fellow Frenchman Cuvier, although they agreed on the fact that previous forms of some animals had indeed become extinct, though via means of catastrophism rather than naturally. It is important to note that a common thread was the search for perfection in general, not survival of the fittest via natural selection as would come in from the Origin of Species. Therefore even though this subject could be an essay on its own, it should be strongly stressed that the ideas Darwin proposed while extreme and somewhat groundbreaking, adhered essentially to principles that were common in many scientific circles and which had been developing over the course of previous centuries. In the words of Evolutionist Ernst Mayr, “Up until 1859 all evolutionary proposals endorsed linear evolution, a teleological march toward greater perfection”

Arguably one of the most important reactions to The Origin of Species was that of the British public. Notoriously shifting in their views key to the success of Darwin’s work would be that sector of society, and in that regards he was largely successful. As noted by various historians, scientists and even Psychologist such as Kevin J. Flannelly, in his work on the development of religious and cultural belief, Darwin’s book was generally very well received by the general public at large. Part of the reason for this was due to the style of writing Darwin utilised. Indeed The Origin of Species was meant to be a book for general reading and hence it was constructed to be easily understand with common examples and an appeal to reason throughout. The popularity of Darwin’s theory in the general public grew larger over time, especially in the wake of the Oxford debate of 1860. Various figures such as Huxley and Lyell in their own works and commentaries on Origin would breach the gap between Darwin’s theory as it related too animals and eventually humanity as a whole. Although there is little direct evidence regarding the publics initial reaction, the newspapers of the times are a great source for getting an idea of common thought. Within the various news outlets of the time there were numerous commentaries and cartoons done on the work, mainly making fun of various aspects. However most of the criticism against Darwin would come later when he would come to question the origins of man in his 1871 book The Descent of Man. The 1850’s were a time of exploration and desire for learning, and thus upon the entrance of The Origin of Species into the public sphere the public readily consumed. Another noticeable impact of the Origin of Species was that although Darwin didn’t provide scientific proof for all of his arguments, it was never meant to do so and thus what would have affected it within scientific circles only aided in allowing the general public to come to their own conclusions about certain elements to it. This could be seen as an important moment in regards to the growing secularisation of the public and scepticism, especially encouraged by the reaction of the clergy which in certain ways only encouraged the authoritative position from Clergy to ‘Scientists’.

Following naturally from general public is that of the reaction of the Clergy, specifically that of the Church of England. Whereas the theory was acknowledged and thought to be somewhat workable within the Roman Catholic faith in later years , the Protestant faith in England was built upon a strong understanding of biblical truth. Therefore the Established faith saw Darwin’s theory, and even more so the concept of Survival of the Fittest, to be an attack on the entire identity of Protestant Britain. The main opposition to the theory of survival of the fittest, was that it was an entirely atheist and nihilistic concept due to nature taking the role of the Christian understanding of God. While many clerics came out to attack the works of Darwin, it should also be noted that at the same time liberal elements of the Church supported the position of Darwin. Most notably a group of Anglican clerics and laymen produced a work titled Essays and Reviews. In this work written a mere four months after the publication of Origin of Species, the authors not only argued largely in favour of Darwin’s theories, but even more so they argued that much of the events in the Bible didn’t take place as described and are meant to be understood more loosely. Indeed it should also be understood that too Darwin, at least at first, there was no cause for a disagreement between Christianity and what he was proposing.

One of the foremost reactions to Darwin’s Origin of Species came in the form of a review from Church of England bishop Samuel Wilberforce, the son of the famous abolitionist and MP William Wilberforce. Wilberforce is an excellent example of a measured approach to the entire situation which seemed appreciative of the effectiveness of Darwin’s style, stating that;

The essay is full of Mr. Darwin’s characteristic excellences, It is a most readable book; full of facts in natural history, old and new, of his collecting and of his observing; and all of these are told in his own perspicuous language, and all thrown into picturesque combinations, and all sparkle with the colours of fancy and the lights of imagination. It assumes, too, the grave proportions of a sustained argument upon a matter of the deepest interest, not to naturalists only, or even to men of science exclusively, but to every one who is interested in the history of man and of the relations of nature around him to the history and plan of creation.

It should be noted however that although Bishop Wilberforce goes onto criticize various elements of Darwin’s work, he does so in good faith as this is before the infamous oxford debate and also before the formal link between animal and man is more than hinted at in further works.

The scientific response at the time was quite different from the ones mentioned here, for as has been previously mentioned the scientific debate up until this time had been coming to similar conclusions regarding an evolutionary theory. The book also quite naturally aided in various factions beginning to appear, specifically Lamarckian with their adherence to the passing on of characteristics, although Darwinism as it became known created a strong beachhead for itself within the Scientific community of the British Empire. One of the strongest legacies of Darwin’s book within the scientific community is arguably how much it aided in firmly establishing a separation of religion and science. Indeed in the years following the publication of the work, the Church of England would go through a number of reforms as Liberal elements turned against the establishment which desired God to be at the heart of scientific reason.

The Oxford debate of 1860 is probably the most famous yet misunderstood results of Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species. Although the debate has been established in popular culture as a debate between religion and science which science was the victor, there are no actual surviving elements of the play and much of what survives is mere conjecture. Another important aspect of the Oxford debate is the fact that there were religious and men of science on both sides of the debate, indeed the Oxford debate if anything shows the clearest picture of the affect of the Origin of Species. The debate was also among the first times where Huxley and others brought in the idea of Human evolution into the public sphere, an action that would cause years of debate between Huxley and the palaeontologist Richard Owen.

By and large the reactions to Darwin’s Origin of Species were as varied initially as would any publication that challenged the establishment to an extent. The best similar example would probably be the nailing of the 35 theses by Martin Luther in the 16th century, and subsequently set alight a blaze across Europe that sort to challenge the old order. Indeed the similarities between the two characters are similar in their infancy, for both didn’t at first seek to tear down the Establishments. Indeed part of the reason Darwin didn’t bring up the topic of God in his earlier publications is for the simple reason that it really didn’t matter, the establishment could work within the theory of Evolution he proposed yet by fighting it the way they did they lost public support and eventually their role and influence over society. Therefore while there is truth to the idea of a revolution taking place as many prominent atheist such as Richard Dawkins may argue, however what is often left out is that the ideas put forth in Darwin were already commonly discussed within various scientific circles. What is amazing is that by making his theory common knowledge through the power of words, Darwin laid the foundation for the advancement of Scientists to the position once granted to Religion within society. If anything Darwin comes to prove his theory that would subsequently be named The survival of the fittest, as by getting the general public on his side his ideas had more currency than would have been otherwise possible.

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Charles Darwin’s Changing Religious Beliefs Throughout His Life

January 24, 2019 by Essay Writer

The term “agnostic” defines as a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God. Many individuals over the course of history have assumed this mindset in place of believing in religion, as they were unable to come to any sort of conclusion regarding the presence of a celestial being. One such person who identified as agnostic was Charles Darwin, the renowned scientist who wrote many highly acclaimed texts on various subjects and did extensive research on the ideas of evolution and natural selection. This was not always his religious stance, however. His life, as portrayed in The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, documents this very idea, particularly the “Religious Beliefs” chapter of the book. Many researchers and Darwin enthusiasts have also written scholarly essays on the subject matter. A deep analysis of this text and the essays prove that Charles Darwin’s beliefs changed dramatically over the course of his life due to many of his findings and contemplations.

Charles Darwin’s religious beliefs as a child and young man were extraordinarily different from those of his later life. As a young boy, he grew up a member of the Church of England and even attended an institution of the church. He was not enthused about school work, so Darwin’s father sent him to Edinburgh University in October of 1825, where he studied with his older brother. He went with the intention of pursuing a degree in medicine, but he was not well suited to this career. His father then suggested that he become a clergyman. This shows the true starting point of Darwin’s religious journey. Darwin liked this idea (with the exception of declaring his beliefs in the dogmas of the Church of England) and proceeded to read divine books carefully. He stated in his Autobiography, “I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our creed must be fully accepted” (49). He was extremely devout and considered himself to be well suited for the job. He held the Bible in very high regard and truly believed in the sacred text. He had yet to realize how senseless it was to say that he believed fully in what he later considered to be “illogical” and “unintelligible” (49). In order to pursue his degree, he attended the University of Cambridge. There, he was filled with a zeal for science through his studies of beetles, yet he still didn’t consider a scientific profession and remained deeply religious.

Darwin’s journey aboard the HMS Beagle was a crucial component of his religious transition after he left Cambridge University. Though many conclude that he started his voyage with already changed beliefs, this simply was not the case. He was invited to sail with captain Robert Fitz-Roy – who was looking for a naturalist to join him on the five-year scientific voyage – because of his affinity for traveling and geology. However, Darwin was a devoted orthodox member of the Anglican church, and becoming a clergyman was still a viable option for him. He had not yet gone through any religious shift and was not aware of his future stance on the topic. In fact, according to Frank Burch Brown’s essay entitled The Evolution of Darwin’s Theism, Darwin’s uncle suggested to Darwin that he should be allowed to pursue the voyage on account that “the enterprise would not in the future be ‘in any degree disrespectable to his character as a Clergyman,’ the pursuit of natural history being ‘very suitable for one of that profession’” (3). With the blessing of his uncle and his father, he heartily embraced the idea of traveling with Fitz-Roy.

Brown also raises the point that the idea of uniting a parish ministry with natural science was particularly appealing to Darwin, as it was suggested to him by Reverend John Stevens Henslow. Henslow, an extremely religious man who studied geology and botany, was one of Darwin’s professors at the University of Cambridge, whom he held in extremely high regard. Like Darwin in his younger years, Henslow also believed every word of the Bible to be the truth, despite being a man of science. Clearly, Darwin hardly started his journey believing in anything other than Christianity, and he hardly went for serious scientific purposes. In university, Darwin also found immense satisfaction of the works of William Paley, another highly religious man, who wrote the book Natural Theology. John Hedley Brooke provides some valuable insight into this in his essay, Charles Darwin on Religion. Darwin was engrossed in Paley’s descriptions of the adaptations of nature in relation to creation. Brooke states that based off of this, it is evident that Darwin truly believed in the idea that nature was made by a divine creator, and it was with this mindset that he began his historic voyage.

Darwin’s religious mentality changed drastically upon actually traveling on the Beagle and later while pondering the voyage. In the Autobiography, he described the voyage as “by far the most important event of my life and has determined my whole career” and “the first real training or education of my mind” (64). His love for science grew immensely over the five-year trip and he found pleasure in observing and reasoning. His discoveries regarding his opinions on religion, however, were far greater than any others. One such example is pointed out by Brooke in Charles Darwin on Religion, and that is that “he witnessed a degree of violence and instability in nature that jarred with the stable, “happy world” of William Paley’s Natural Theology” (68). Paley’s descriptions were once enthralling to Darwin, and to see them disproven was a large step in his journey out of Christianity. On the voyage, he also observed people of many different nations and their religious beliefs. Seeing this made him contemplate the validity of religions, both the popular and the niche.

This intense contemplation of the world’s religions that he saw on his trip is another key factor in Darwin’s shifting beliefs. Primarily, he began to view the Old Testament as false information. In the Autobiography, he revealed that he often asked himself, “is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, would he permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament,” and said that this idea is “utterly incredible” (71). He continued to reflect and came to realize the incredibility of miracles in relation to the laws of nature, the ignorance of man, and the lack of details and witnesses in Christian gospels. Because of these ideas, Darwin simply could not hold his previous religious beliefs. In the Autobiography, Darwin described the transition as happening very slowly, and in his article Darwin and Religion, John C. Green explains that it is because of the slowness of the process that Darwin “never felt that deep anguish of the spirit to which Christianity ministers” (716). In other words, abandoning Christianity was relatively painless for Darwin, as he had plenty of time to process his actions.

In his musings in the Autobiography, Darwin also contemplates the relationship between pain and pleasure in nature, and how that relates to religion. It was a brief, but fundamental observation that aided his transition. He could not see the presence of an omnipresent being in the everyday pain and struggle of certain species. He explained that the organs of animals were developed through natural selection – rather than by a creator – so that the animals that possess them are able to compete with other beings and increase their numbers. To Darwin, the theory of natural selection provided evidence of adaptation, but removed the idea of design and creation. Darwin revealed that animals choose to pursue life and adaptation through either suffering (pain, hunger, thirst, fear), pleasure (eating and drinking), or both (searching for food). Pleasure serves as a guide to most species for a variety of variables. However, there is still much suffering in the world that isn’t disputed, mostly occurring in lower species. They often suffer without improvement, and Darwin argued that “a being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose there be in sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?” (75) In saying this, he was wondering how God could possibly have created the world with as much suffering that there is. If God were to be prevalent in nature, it would not be like this, as the Bible claims that everything God touches is good.

By this time, Darwin was skeptical of religion, but he could not place his faith exactly. His religious transition came to a standstill. He speculated that if all men believed in the same God and method of creation, religion would be more valid. This uniformity is extraordinarily far from the case; however, and that is why forming a conclusion was so difficult for him. He explained that the feeling in his mind that was connected with the idea of God didn’t really differ from sublimity. Darwin also couldn’t comprehend one being having the ability to conceive the universe and every necessity it has. However, he still believed in the existence of some sort of creator. This creator, according to him, would have an intelligent mind similar to that of man. Thus, Darwin labeled himself as a Theist. He thought that religion was a tribal survival strategy; however, he still believed that God is the ultimate lawgiver. This belief was particularly strong when he wrote Origin of Species, but it fluctuated greatly and eventually became weaker.

The idea of Theism was not quite right for Darwin, however, and his beliefs shifted farther. A question was aroused in his mind: “can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?” (77) This question is a profound one, and Darwin simply did not have a concrete answer. He explicitly stated in the Autobiography, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things in insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic” (78). He had his beliefs on why Christianity isn’t superior, most of which revolved around the fact that he could not comment on many profound questions regarding the existence of a supreme power. According to scholar Howard Gruber, Darwin became a complete agnostic in 1840.

With his new conclusion in mind, Darwin pondered his status and examined how it affected himself and the world around him. He stated that a man who does not believe in God has complete control of his life and can follow whatever impulses he pleases. People, unlike animals, analyze and compare their feelings, desires, and recollections. It is crucial for them to find which of these will provide the highest amount of satisfaction. He went on to say that if they behave for the good of others, they will gain love and approbation which he deemed as the highest pleasure on earth. Sometimes reason tells humans to act in opposition to the opinions of others, which will cause them to lack approbation, but will then gain them the satisfaction of knowing that they pursued their own desires. Darwin himself followed the procedure of acting in opposition, and had no regrets in devoting his life to science.

Through analyzing his life, the grand nature of Charles Darwin’s religious shift becomes evident. He started his childhood and early adult life as a deeply religious being, progressed to becoming a Theist, and eventually proclaimed himself an agnostic. His voyage on the HMS Beagle was a truly eye-opening experience for him, and his accounts in the Autobiography allow for a unique perspective of his own opinions of the transition. Although his religious stance was an unpopular one for his time, Darwin’s agnostic beliefs were vastly beneficial to the fields of science, psychology, and sociology. He was able to make critical discoveries regarding the topics of natural selection, the origin of life, and evolution without the mental and physical obstacle of religion. The insight provided from this work was invaluable to the progression of science and life on Earth. The entire human population is indebted to Charles Darwin for his work and his audaciousness in converting out of religion.

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