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Charles Darwin On Evolution

Charles Darwin was a British English naturalist of the 19th century whose scientific theory of evolution by natural selection became the foundation of modern evolutionary studies. Darwin at first shocked religion Victorian society by suggesting that animals and humans shared a common ancestry.

However, his non-religious biology appealed to the rising class of professional scientists, and by the time of his death evolutionary imagery had spread through all of science, literature, and politics. 

He collected the observation on animal distribution and the relationship between the living and extinct animals and finally that the present living animals share similarities to some extent not only between them but also with other species that existed millions of years ago and among which some have become extinct.

He is also known as the father of evolution due to his contribution to the establishment of the theory of evolution. His theory helped in removing all the conventional old believed which said that the formation of various species was a supernatural phenomenon or act of the Almighty. 

Darwin’s evolutionary theory of natural selection gave a more rational explanation of the formation of new species. Ad per natural selection, various species originated from a single species as a result of adaption to the changing environment.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is the foundation upon which modern evolutionary theory is built. The theory was outlined in Darwin’s seminal work on The Origin of Species, published in 1850, Although Victorian England and the rest of the world was slow to embrace natural selection as the mechanism that drives evolution, the concept of evolution itself gained widespread traction by the end of Darwin’s life.

Early life

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in the tiny merchant town of Shrewsbury, England. A child of wealth and privilege who loved to explore nature, Darwin was the second youngest of six kids. 

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

Darwin’s theory of evolution explained

Evolution by natural selection is one of the best-substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics, and developmental biology.

The theory has two main points, said Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. "All life on Earth is connected and related to each other," and this diversity of life is a product of "modifications of populations by natural selection, where some traits were favored in and environment over others," he said.
More simply put, the theory can be described as "descent with modification," said Briana Pobiner, an anthropologist and educator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who specializes in the study of human origins.

The theory is sometimes described as "survival of the fittest," but that can be misleading, Pobiner said. Here, "fitness" refers not to an organism's strength or athletic ability, but rather the ability to survive and reproduce.

For example, a study on human evolution on 1,900 students, published online in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in October 2017, found that many people may have trouble finding a mate because of rapidly changing social technological advances that are evolving faster than humans. "Nearly 1 in 2 individuals faces considerable difficulties in the domain of mating," said lead study author Menelaos Apostolou, an associate professor of social sciences at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. "In most cases, these difficulties are not due to something wrong or broken, but due to people living in an environment which is very different from the environment they evolved to function in."

In the first edition of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin speculated about how natural selection could cause a land mammal to turn into a whale. As a hypothetical example, Darwin used North American black bears, which were known to catch insects by swimming in the water with their mouths open:
"I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered, by natural selection, more aquatic in their structure and habits, with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale," he speculated.
The idea didn't go over very well with the public. Darwin was so embarrassed by the ridicule he received that the swimming-bear passage was removed from later editions of the book.
Scientists now know that Darwin had the right idea but the wrong animal. Instead of looking at bears, he should have instead been looking at cows and hippopotamuses.
The story of the origin of whales is one of evolution's most fascinating tales and one of the best examples scientists have of natural selection.

Natural selection
To understand the origin of whales, it's necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works. Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called "microevolution."
But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species, known as "macroevolution." It can turn dinosaurs into birds, amphibious mammals into whales and the ancestors of apes into humans.
Take the example of whales — using evolution as their guide and knowing how natural selection works, biologists knew that the transition of early whales from land to water occurred in a series of predictable steps. The evolution of the blowhole, for example, might have happened in the following way:

Random genetic changes resulted in at least one whale having its nostrils placed farther back on its head. Those animals with this adaptation would have been better suited to a marine lifestyle since they would not have had to completely surface to breathe. Such animals would have been more successful and had more offspring. In later generations, more genetic changes occurred, moving the nose farther back on the head.
Other body parts of early whales also changed. Front legs became flippers. Back legs disappeared. Their bodies became more streamlined and they developed tail flukes to better propel themselves through the water.
Darwin also described a form of natural selection that depends on an organism's success at attracting a mate, a process known as sexual selection. The colorful plumage of peacocks and the antlers of male deer are both examples of traits that evolved under this type of selection.

What did Charles believe?

The implications of his theory of evolution for religious faith? What did Darwin really believe about God? The Christian revelation? These questions were asked again and again in the years following the publication of Origin of Species 1859. They are still asked today by scholars, scientists, students, and religious believers.

The question has taken on new relevance in light of controversies over. The teaching of evolution and intelligent design in schools, the resurgence of fundamentalism as a political force, and the combative rhetoric of crusading secularists, many of whom take Darwin as an icon.

But Darwin did not reveal his personal beliefs, and reluctant to pronounce on matters of belief for others. His published writings are particularly reserved or altogether silent on religion.

His autobiography contains a short discussion of his religious view, presented as a gradual migration from Anglican Christian to agnosticism. But this was written toward the end of his life, and intended for the highly select audience of his family and immediate social circle. 

Myths and Darwin

The number of myths and legends about Charles Darwin and evolution seems to be growing and growing. 
One of the most common is that it is impossible to believe in God and evolution at the same time. This myth has perhaps been strengthened all the more by the anti-religious fervor of outspoken atheists. But the fact is, it is possible to believe in God and evolution. This is as true today as it was in Darwin’s time. Many people wrote to Darwin to ask him this question and he became rather tired of answering it. Yes, he would reply, of course, you can believe in both. And to demonstrate this he supplied lists of prominent scientists who did exactly that. 

Another widespread legend is that Darwin was so afraid of what the reactions to his theory would be that he kept it a secret for 20 years. On the contrary, when later answering claims that he exaggerated his originality in the Origin of Species, he replied that before publishing in 1859, “I formerly spoke to very many naturalists on the subject of evolution, and never once met with any sympathetic agreement”. This appeared in the sixth and final edition of Origin of Species in 1872.

Another myth is that Darwin either converted to Christianity on his deathbed (he was an agnostic) and/or recanted his evolutionary theory as he approached death. Both are quite untrue and his family wrote many letters denying these claims when they first began to circulate around 1915.

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