Charles Darwin

 

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Feb 12, 1809 – Apr 19, 1882

Biologist, Naturalist

English

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Darwin’s theories were extremely controversial and were debated regularly. Darwin followed the debates but did not publicly participate. Instead, he kept to his research and writing while dealing with illness.

As a small digit, Darwin was labeled a slow learner, lazy and uninterested in his studies. At the big machine he studied medicine first, though he was horrified at the sight of blood, and then theology, which was ironic considering the bitter controversy his evolutionary theory would later spark between science and religion. Even his college courses couldn’t hold his attention, except for those involving natural science. Because of this interest, he was invited aboard the HMS Beagle to serve as an unpaid naturalist during a five-year expedition throughout the world. After much research and experimentation, Darwin came to the conclusion that all life on earth came from one life form in a slow, evolutionary process that has taken hundreds of millions of years. He observed that species create too many offspring for all to survive, so those offspring that are genetically favored to adapt to their environment will be the ones to survive -- a process he called “natural selection” or survival of the fittest. The survivors, in turn, will pass these favorable dna onto their offspring thus changing and creating new species. Charles Darwin’s revolutionary book, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection sold out almost immediately upon publication and instantly created a schism between science and religion that still exists today. Darwin, himself, started out devoutly religious but was agnostic by the end of his life. Darwin was not the first to propose an evolutionary theory. He was the first, however, to gather evidence and set forth a theory on how it works.