Theories explaining biological evolution have been bandied about since the ancient Greeks, but it was not
until the Enlightment of the 18th century that widespread acceptance and development of this theory
emerged. In the mid 19th century english naturalist Charles Darwin - who has been called the "father of
evolution" - conceived of the most comprehensive findings about organic evolution ever1. Today many of
his principles still entail modern interpretation of evolution. I've assessed and interpreted the basis of
Darwin's theories on evolution, incorporating a number of other factors concerning evolutionary theory in
the process. Criticism of Darwin's conclusions abounds somewhat more than has been paid tribute to,
however Darwin's findings marked a revolution of thought and social upheaval unprecedented in Western
consciousness challenging not only the scientific community, but the prominent religious institution as
well. Another revolution in science of a lesser nature was !
also spawned by Darwin, namely the remarkable simplicity with which his major work The Origin of the
Species was written - straightforward English, anyone capable of a logical argument could follow it - also
unprecedented in the scientific community (compare this to Isaac Newton's horribly complex work taking
the scientific community years to interpret2). Evolutionary and revolutionary in more than one sense of
each word. Every theory mentioned in the following reading, in fact falls back to Darwinism.
DARWINIAN THEORY OF BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION
Modern conception of species and the idea of organic evolution had been part of Western consciousness
since the mid-17th century (a la John Ray)3, but wide-range accept...
... middle of paper ...
...his results merely by observing that which was available.
Following Lyell's teaching, using modern observations to determine what occurred in the past, Darwin
developed theories that "only made sense" - logical from the point of view of the human mind (meaning it
was based on immediate human perception) but decidedly illogical from a purely scientific angle. By
perusing the works of Malthus did Darwin finally hit upon his theory of natural selection - not actually
questioning these conclusions because they fit so neatly into his own puzzle. Early development of logical,
analytic scientific theory did not occur u!
ntil the advent of philosophe r Rene Descartes in the mid-17th century ("I think therefore I am"35).
Natural selection was shown to be sadly lacking where it could not account for how characteristics were
passed down to new generations36.
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