Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
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Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, stems from his book On the Origin of Species published in 1859, and seeks to explain the origin of life on Earth and the origin of different species. According to the theory, life began billions of years ago when a self-replicating molecule was organized by a group of chemicals, purely by chance. The basic premise is that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor. Everything from the animals in the sky, waters, and on land are all related, from plant life to humans. Darwin believed that living developed from non-living and puts great importance on descent with modification. More complex creatures have evolved from more simplistic ones naturally over time. Beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid in survival, when random genetic mutations occur. This happens when physical and behavioral changes occur at the level of DNA and genes. Darwin calls this process natural selection. These changes would allow for better survival and often more offspring being born. Generation after generation pass on the beneficial mutations. Once the organism passes on so many mutations, they accumulate and can form an entirely different organism. Natural selection can change the organism in small ways causing the change in color or size in population over time. Of course we know that evolution involves a variation of the original organism, but evolution is also creating an entirely different organism. This brings about the questions, “who are we?” and “where do we come from?” into discussion. Greek Philosopher Anaximander, theorized the evolutionary descent from animal to man, but Charles Darwin brought about natural selection. Darwin emphasized that evolution was a fact and natural selection was a theory to explain the mechanism of evolution. Natural selection stores and saves the beneficial, more advanced mutations. Once the member of a species developed the advanced genetic mutation, it would pass it on to its offspring, and so on. These advances could include height, size of claws or horns, color, or muscle structure. The members who did not inherit the advanced mutation would eventually die out. I’m guessing this is where we get the term ‘survival of the fittest.’ This would leave a more superior species to roam the Earth. This would help the species compete better in the wilderness. Natural selection gradually eliminates the less desirable, inferior species.
Darwin wrote, “..Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by short and sure, though slow steps. If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” (All About Science, 2002) Darwin’s theory is based on a system that has evolved slowly, piece by piece. If such a complex organ existed that showed multiple parts, all necessary for the system to work, his theory would ultimately fail.
Over many years, advances have been made in Science that puts Darwin’s theory in crisis. Even the cellular level has many complex systems that if one part didn’t work, the system would fail. The heart, ear, and eye are also complex systems, but were not thought of such in Darwin’s day. Although Darwin did state, “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” (All About Science, 2002)
The most common theory that we discuss from Darwin’s evolution is the suggestion that humans and apes originate from the same ape-like creature that was on Earth. The similarity in the skeleton structure of apes and humans suggest a strong confirmation for common ancestry. Homology is the resemblance of either anatomical or genetic features between species. Homology is at the forefront of evidence for evolution. The theory believes that through the advanced gene mutations man emerged to produce the diversities seen today. The ape evolved on a separate evolutionary pathway and continued to generate that species. The origin of man continues to be modified as new discoveries are made. These new findings bring about adopted revisions to theory and the old concepts that are proven incorrect are let go.
For many years scientists have studies Darwin’s theory. This theory has always been controversial. Many debates between scientists and theologians have taken place and is considered the bedrock of biology. His theory totally goes against the interpretation of the Bible. The theory challenges everything the social and moral order is based upon. The theory of Evolution is not about religion. The theory does not stop you from believing in God. There is definitely a struggle between science and religion when it comes to what to origin of life on Earth. Charles Darwin is an out of the box thinker. His theory helps for the people, who have only been taught one thing about the origination of human life, to also think outside the box. Science is neat because it starts out as an idea, then a hypothesis, and eventually a proven fact, if the scientist is lucky. Science is fascinating and the thought that we are on this Earth breathing, and eating, and reproducing all because of chemicals organizing into a replicating molecule, by chance is awesome! Many believe that the theory of natural selection is one of the greatest, yet misunderstood ideas ever brought to the attention on the human intellect. Darwin’s theory continues to be the centerpiece of modern biology.
Brennan, P. (2001). Evolution: Exploring Darwin’s Theory. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://login.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/409194166accountid=13931 Brigford, N. (2009). Evolution: Mutation. Young Scientists Journal. Retrieved from https://login.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview870490482?accountid=13931 Simon E., Reece J., Dickey J.