Charles Darwin – Theory of biological evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin
Full nameCharles Robert Darwin
DOB12 February 1809
Died19 April 1882
ProfessionsNaturalist, geologist, biologist
Known forTheory of evolution

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist and biologist known for his theory of evolution and his understanding of the process of natural selection. In 1831, he embarked on a five-year voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle, during which time his studies of various plants led him to formulate his theories. In 1859, he published his landmark book, On the Origin of Species.

Although the evolution of homo-sapiens from apes is commonly accepted now, Charles Darwin was chastised when he initially proposed his groundbreaking theory of evolution in the nineteenth century. Almost everyone in the world, including the Church, mocked his concept.

It was unaccepted for a long time until it became the new dogma. The DNA studies confirmed his theory of evolution and refuted the prevalent religious beliefs at the time. Charles Robert Darwin was born into a wealthy family in Shrewsbury and intended to follow a medical career before abandoning it to pursue his passion of being a naturalist.

Charles Darwin formulated the hypothesis that all species evolved from common ancestors and that the branching pattern of evolution arose from a process he dubbed “natural selection” after years of diligent study.

His five-year expedition on the ‘HMS Beagle’ changed his life forever, establishing him as a world-renowned geologist. His most famous work, ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,’ was published in 1858. He wrote ‘The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex’ in 1871, which looked at human evolution and sexual selection. In 1881, he released his final book ‘The Formation of Vegetable Mould, by the Actions of Worms’ in which he examined earthworms.

Charles Darwin Childhood & Early Life

Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February 1809, in The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, to Robert Darwin and Susannah Darwin. His father was a doctor and financier by profession.

He had an interest in exploring outdoors as a child. He acquired his primary education at the ‘Anglican Shrewsbury School,’ and then moved on to the ‘University of Edinburgh Medical School,’ where he received his secondary education.

Charles Darwin learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone after being dissatisfied with the teaching techniques and having an interest in the subjects presented. He joined the ‘Plinian Society,’ a student natural history organization. On March 27, 1827, he made his first presentation at the ‘Plinian,’ arguing that the black spores seen in oyster shells were actually the eggs of a skate leech.

Charles Darwin came from a long line of scientists: Dr. R.W. Darwin, Darwin’s father, was a medical practitioner, and his grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, was a noted botanist. Susanna Darwin, Darwin’s mother, died when he was just eight years old.

Charles Darwin Education

Charles Darwin enrolled in the University of Edinburgh alongside his brother Erasmus in October 1825, when he was 16 years old. He enrolled at Christ’s College in Cambridge two years later.

His father thought he would follow in his footsteps and become a doctor, but Darwin was sick to his stomach at the sight of blood. Darwin’s father proposed that he study to become a clergyman instead, but he preferred natural history.

Botany lecturer John Stevens Henslow became Charles Darwin’s tutor while he was at Christ’s College. Henslow recommended Darwin for a naturalist position onboard the HMS Beagle after Darwin graduated from Christ’s College with a bachelor of arts degree in 1831.

Captain Robert FitzRoy’s ship was to embark on a five-year survey voyage around the world. For the aspiring young naturalist, the trip would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

The HMS Beagle set off for the circumnavigation of the globe on December 27, 1831, with Darwin on board. Darwin collected a number of natural items on his journey, including birds, plants, and fossils.

Charles Darwin collected numerous specimens of birds, plants, and fossils along the way, which he attached to a copy of his journal and mailed to Cambridge. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allowed him to closely observe botany, geology, and zoological principles.

Charles Darwin in the Galapagos

He got the unique opportunity to closely study principles of botany, geology, and zoology through hands-on inquiry and testing. Darwin was particularly interested in the Pacific Islands and the Galapagos Archipelago, as well as South America.

Charles Darwin began writing up his observations in the Journal of Researches, which was first published as part of Captain FitzRoy’s wider narrative and then edited into the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle.

The voyage had a profound impact on Darwin’s understanding of natural history. He began to create a new hypothesis regarding the genesis of living organisms, which was at odds with what other naturalists thought at the time.

Charles Darwin Theory of Evolution

Charles Darwin

Darwin’s theory of evolution stated that species thrived and reproduced through a process known as “natural selection,” in which those that successfully adapted or evolved to meet the changing requirements of their natural habitat thrived and reproduced, while those that failed to evolve and reproduce died out.

Charles Darwin discovered similarities among species all around the world, as well as variations based on specific places, via his observations and studies of birds, plants, and fossils, leading him to assume that the species we know today developed gradually from common ancestors.

Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection became known as “Darwinism” after his death.

Other naturalists at the time believed that all species were produced either at the beginning of time or over the course of natural history. In either case, they believed that species remained largely unchanged across time.

Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’ revolutionized how people thought about the origins of life. Until that time, the widely held belief was that all species were formed at the beginning of time or over the course of natural history. In all cases, the species was thought to have remained the same throughout.

Charles Darwin, on the other hand, noted parallels and differences between species all across the world, as well as variances dependent on geographical location. As a result, he came to the conclusion that they had evolved over time from common ancestors. He came to believe that species survived by a process known as ‘natural selection,’ in which those who successfully adapted to suit the changing requirements of their natural habitat survived, while those who failed to evolve and reproduce died.

Charles Darwin Origin of Species

Charles Darwin officially unveiled his groundbreaking theory of evolution in a letter read at a meeting of the Linnean Society in 1858, after years of scientific inquiry. In his best-known essay, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, he provided a full description of his idea on November 24, 1859.

DNA investigations offered scientific proof for Darwin’s theory of evolution in the following century. However, some individuals are still divided over its clash with Creationism, the theological belief that all of nature was created by God.

Charles Darwin social Darwinism

Social Darwinism is a set of late-nineteenth-century theories that use Darwin’s theory of evolution to explain social and economic concerns.

The hypothesis that human groups and races are subject to the same natural selection laws that Charles Darwin saw in plants and animals in nature is known as social Darwinism. According to the notion, which was prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the weak were diminished and their cultures were confined, while the powerful rose in power and cultural influence over the weak.

According to social Darwinists, human life in society is a battle for survival governed by “survival of the fittest,” a concept coined by British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer.

Natural selection working on population variations, according to social Darwinists such as Spencer and Walter Bagehot in England and William Graham Sumner in the United States, would result in the survival of the greatest competitors and continued population progress. Societies were considered as living organisms evolving in this way.

The theory was used to justify free market capitalism and conservative politics. Property control was supposed to be a correlate of superior and inherent moral virtues such as industriousness, temperance, and frugality, hence class stratification was justified on the basis of “natural” disparities among persons.

Attempts to transform society through governmental intervention or other methods would so obstruct natural processes; free competition and the preservation of the status quo were therefore in line with biological selection.

The impoverished were “unfit” and should not be helped; money was a symbol of victory in the struggle for survival. Social Darwinism was employed as a philosophical justification for imperialist, colonialist, and racist actions on a societal level, preserving confidence in Anglo-Saxon or Aryan cultural and biological superiority.

Expanded knowledge of biological, social, and cultural phenomena hindered, rather than reinforced, Social Darwinism’s key tenets during the twentieth century.

Charles Darwin Death

Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882, at Down House, his family’s house in London, after a lifetime of devoted research. He was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.

In The Evolution of Beauty, published more than a century later, Yale ornithologist Richard Brum attempted to resurrect Darwin’s lesser-known notion of sexual selection.

While Darwin’s original attempts to blame female aesthetic mating choices for evolution were questioned, Brum used his experience in birds to make a successful case, earning him a spot on The New York Times’ list of the top ten books of 2017.

Although Darwin’s theory of evolution has been modified over time, it remains fundamental to the study of the natural world. Darwin changed not only the way we see all organisms, but also the way we see ourselves.

Charles Darwin Quotes

  1. “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
  2. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
  3. “Animals, whom we have made our slaves, we do not like to consider our equal.”
  4. “Man tends to increase at a greater rate than his means of subsistence.”
  5. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts.”
  6. “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, a mere heart of stone.”
  7. “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”
  8. “Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”
  9. “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.”
  10. “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and weakest die.”
  11. “If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”
  12. “The survival of preservation of certain favored words in the struggle for existence is natural selection.”
  13. “Keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase, that each at some period of its life, has the struggle for life, and suffer great destruction. The war of nature is not incessant. The vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.” “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
  14.  “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”
  15. “A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives of approving of some and disapproving of others.”
  16. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”