Charles Darwin SparkNotes | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin SparkNotes

The Origin of Species

Darwin turned wholeheartedly to the problem of evolution. Ever since his Beagle trip he had been convinced that the difference between what naturalists called 'varieties' and what they called 'species' was much less significant than previously thought. If pigeon breeders could create varieties as different as pouters, runts, and fantails, what would prevent nature from doing the same? And, given millions of years, wasn't it possible that a pigeon could be turned into something so radically different we would no longer be willing to call it a pigeon–or even a bird?

Darwin was not the first to have these kinds of thoughts. Seventy years before, his grandfather, Erasmus, had devoted a whole section of his book Zoonomia to the issue of evolution. In 1844, Robert Chambers anonymously published his controversial book, The Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, a sweeping history of the cosmos that came down strongly on the side of evolution, largely on the evidence of fossils (the 'vestiges' of creation). The book was flawed, but popular, and it brought the idea of evolution into the public eye. The opposition to evolution was still strong, but it included among its number a wide range of opinions, from those who thought that all species had been created at the beginning of the world in the same form as they now had, to those who thought that new species were being continuously created to fill new environmental niches, to those who thought that variation within species was within Nature's power but the creation of new species remained in God's hands.

Darwin had two things to contribute to this debate: a wealth of observations on adaptation, and, more importantly, a theory that could explain how new adaptations arose without the guiding hand of a divine Creator. His observations were gained by his own experience on the Beagle, his eight painstaking years of work on barnacles, and the advice and expertise of friends like Hooker. His theory was his own creation. Darwin solved the problem of evolution by pointing to a mechanism that depended on nothing but variation and chance: natural selection. Many more individuals were born than could be supported by the environment, which meant that some had to die. Which ones died? Obviously, those that were least well adapted to the environment. Given that there is variation in the population, and that that variation is heritable (i.e. can be passed from one generation to the next), it was clear that the most useful adaptations would be preserved. If enough of those adaptations were accumulated, a new species could arise.




Does Washington Know Best?

by Truedizzle

"Charles Darwin wisely noted more than a century and a half ago that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” Congress exudes confidence.
Suggesting that Congress and the president are ignorant of the fact that knowledge is highly dispersed and decisions made locally produce the best outcomes might be overly generous. It could be that they know they really don’t know what they’re doing but just don’t give a hoot because it’s in their political interest to centralize health care decision-making. Just as one example, how can Congress know whether buying a $4,000 annual health insurance policy would be the best use of healthy 25-year-old Joe Sanders’ earnings? Would he be better off purchasing a cheaper catastrophic health insurance policy and saving the...

Bird brainiacs: The genius of pigeons  — New Scientist
Before a visit from his friend the geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin wrote: "I will show you my pigeons! Which is the greatest treat, in my opinion, which ..

Penguin Classics The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches (Penguin Classics)
Book (Penguin Classics)
Modern Library The Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle Round the World (Modern Library Classics)
Book (Modern Library)
Heritage Press Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries Visited during the Voyage of HMS Beagle, under the Command of Capain Fitzroy, RN
Book (Heritage Press)

FAQ

hunter
How many people converted religion after Charles Darwin?

10 points to best answer guaranteed

The natural truths revealed by Darwin cannot conflict with true religion. Truth can never conflict with truth. If Darwin's findings caused someone to leave their religion, that religion wasn't teaching the truth in the first place. My Church has no conflicts with any findings of science, because its teaching is true.

Nimmy
The life of charles darwin?

I have to do a scrapbook on charles darwin for 7th grade science. Im looking for OTHER paragraphs to write about him. i already got his life story. his voyage on the beagle. his books. I just need 2 more paragraphs to write about him. Uhmm, well. Also if any of you know what "please include a list of atleast three references in proper MLA format means.. how do you put references in MLA format??? thanks :]

You may have already covered these points but did you mention that he and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day? That he, like most of his relatives, married a first cousin, Emma Wedgewood, of the family that makes the great pottery? That Darwin would probably have continued revising his magnum opus if Wallace had not sent him his own manuscript, reaching the same conclusion through a different path? That Darwin published on a wide variety of topics, including barnacles, orchids, and expression of emotions?

Related Posts