Who was he: Charles Darwin originated the theory of evolution. Throughout his mature life, he devoted himself to research, experimentation and his journal that was soon to become On the Origin of the Species. Darwin's theories, when taken together, have come to be called Darwinism.
Darwin had the support of other well-known scientists such as Charles Lyell and Richard Owen, who helped with many aspects of his research once he returned to England from a five-year trip aroad the coast of South America. In a short time, Darwin had many followers who believed as he did. The theory of evolution was fully grounded in the scientific community and getting ready for worldwide acceptance.
Charles Darwin's last great work revolved around the earthworm. Darwin gave many lectures and received many distinguished awards. Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882 and was buried at Westminster Abby with other distinguished scientists.
Today, however, Darwin is under sustained attack. His theory suggested gradual evolution over thousands and even millions of years. But fossils of the intermediate evolutionary types that Darwin postulated have never been unearthed.
Darwinism has thus undergone several theoretical changes. Now it is said that perhaps evolution takes place when a species is under considerable stress and only a few individuals are left. Random changes are then easily transferred from one to another and the entire group is thus easily influenced from a physiological standpoint. This differs from Darwin's initial hypothesis and has problems of its own.
Some scientists postulate that evolution occurs as a combination of large leaps and subtle changes. This would seem the most recent position of Darwinists. And yet at the same time the problem remains that finding "missing links" in the fossil record has proven difficult if not impossible. This has led to challenges that Darwin's theories are dogma rather than science – philosophy disguised as analysis.
Those critics who are motivated by religious considerations tend to believe that Darwinism has been adopted as a kind of State religion in order to negate the possibility that God created human life. While many criticisms of "creationists" have been refuted, it is equally clear that proponents of Darwinism have not done much better in establishing the scientific basis for their arguments.
Background: Susannah Wedgwood Darwin gave birth to Charles Robert Darwin at their family home, the Mount House, on the 12th day of February 1809. Darwin was the son of a wealthy doctor and financier, Robert Darwin.
By 1925, Charles Darwin was working as an apprentice doctor alongside his father treating the poor in Shropshire and began to formally attended the University of Edinburg Medical School. Darwin found the studies to be boring and the surgeries depressing.
Therefore, Darwin neglected his studies and spent time learning taxidermy. In his second year he joined the Plinian Society, a group of students involved in natural history. This bored him as well. Darwin was able to classify plants and worked with the University Museum, which was one of the largest museums in all of Europe.
Darwin's father was quite irritated with his son for neglecting his medical studies. He decided to send him to Christ's College in Cambridge in 1828 for his Bachelor of Arts Degree, in preparation to become parson of an Anglican church.
Eventually, Darwin focused on his studies at Christ's College and did quite well on his final exam, ranking tenth out of 178 candidates for the ordinary degree. Upon entrance into the college, Darwin was not qualified for the more advanced Tripos group, thus he registered for the ordinary degree.
Darwin finished his final exam in January of 1831, but he was required to stay on until June to study further. During those days following his exam, Darwin enjoyed learning via reading Paley's Natural Theology and Humboldt's Personal Narrative, which involved Humboldt's travels for the purpose of scientific research. The idea fascinated Charles Darwin, and he began to crave having his own personal experiences while traveling the world.
In December of 1831, Darwin began his work on the ship, The Beagle. His father reluctantly gave permission for the two-year trip to map the coastline of South America. The trip lasted five years. Darwin was seasick a big part of the time and knew only a little of what he needed to know to do his job.
While the crew of The Beagle worked at surveying and mapping the coast, Darwin would go inland and work on aspects of natural history, such as the geology and zoology of each region. While on the voyage, he began to theorize about the origin of various species, concluding that there was an evolutionary connection between various types. Charles Darwin brought fame to the Galapagos Islands. This was the beginning of all his future thinking. The rest is history – though increasingly controversial.
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