Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

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Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species, presents us with a theory of natural selection. This theory is his attempt at an explanation on how the world and its' species came to be the way that we know them now. Darwin writes on how through a process of millions of years, through the effects of man and the effects of nature, species have had an ongoing trial and error experiment. It is through these trials that the natural world has developed beneficial anomalies that at times seem too great to be the work of chance.

Darwin writes on how a species will adapt to its environment given enough time. When an animal gains a genetic edge over its competitors, be they of the same species or of another genus altogether, the animal has increased its chance of either procreation or adaptation. When this animal has this beneficial variance, the advantage becomes his and because of this, the trait is then passed on to the animals offspring.

The theory of natural selection is not limited to inheritable and beneficial variations of a species. It also relies a great deal on the population growth and death of a species. For a species to continue to exist it must make sure of a few things. It must first produce more offspring that survive. If this is not done then the species is obviously going to die off. It is also important for the species to propagate at such a rate as to allow for variance, for it is variance that will ultimately allow the animal to exist comfortably in his surroundings. In his studies, Darwin was led to understand that “…the species of the larger genera in each country would oftener present varieties, than the species of the smaller genera;” (p. 55). Thus the larger species would adapt while the smaller one would not. And to quote Darwin again, “…if any one species does not become modified and improved in a corresponding degree with its competitors, it will soon be exterminated.” (p. 102)

Extinction, although not as pleasant a concept as the idea of adapting to ones surroundings, plays just as large a role in natural selection as anything else. As one adaptation of a species proves beneficial, and as that variation begins to propagate, the original, less advantageous variant will die off. It is the unchanged species that are in immediate conflict with the species undergoing the natural adaptation that stand to suffer...

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...was one hundred percent. Sometimes his arguments fell a little flat and at other times he sounded a bit trite as if he were challenging others to come up with a better answer. And in some ways I hope he was. In the meantime, however, I think he could have done a better job.

I am an evolutionist. I have always been an evolutionist. For years now I have known the premise of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. And for years now I have blindly believed it. Having read his book, I can still say that I believe in evolution, and I believe in Darwin’s work. But if there was ever a doubt in my mind it was only because Darwin put it there. It is because of this that I truly think Darwin was fair in the utmost sense of the word. Had he not been fair, which he could have been, he could have made a most convincing argument. But he stated every question in his theories and did his best to rebut. And I feel that in his rebuttal, he was convincing indeed.

Work Cited

Darwin, C. On the Origin of Species. Harvard University Press. Cambridge. 2003.

Work Consulted

Desmond, A. & Moore, J. Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 1994
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