WAS DARWIN WRONG?
An insight of Darwin’s theory of evolution
20th November 2013 Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who studied variation in animals and plants on a five year voyage around the world in the 19th century. He was born in 1809 and died in 1882, during his lifetime he managed to present his findings in his book, “On the Origin of Species”. Darwin’s findings caused a lot of controversy during his time and the present day, they were seen as conflicting with religious beliefs about creations of the world and the creatures in it.
Theory of Evolution & Natural Selection
The theory of evolution is one of the great intellectual revolutions of human history, drastically changing our perception of the world and of our place in it. Charles Darwin put forth a coherent theory of evolution and amassed a great body of evidence in support of this theory. In Darwin's time, most scientists fully believed that each organism and each adaptation was the work of the creator. Carl Linnaeus established the system of biological classification that we use today, and did so in the spirit of cataloguing God's creations. In other words, all of the similarities and differences among groups of organisms are the result of the branching process creating the great tree of life, were viewed by early 19th century philosophers and scientists as a consequence of omnipotent design. Darwin’s theory of evolution entails the following fundamental ideas. The first three ideas were already under discussion among earlier and contemporaneous naturalists working on the so called species problem as Darwin began his research. Darwin’s original contributions were the mechanism of natural selection and copious amounts of evidence for evolutionary change from many sources. He also provided thoughtful explanations of the consequences of evolution for our understanding of the history of life and modern biological diversity. 1. Species change over time and space. The representatives of species living today differ from those that lived in the recent past, and populations in different geographic regions today differ slightly in form or behaviour. These differences extend into the fossil record, which provides enough support for this claim. 2. All organisms share common ancestors with other organisms. Over time, populations may divide into different species, which share a common ancestral population. Far enough back in time, any pair of organisms shares a common ancestor. For example, humans shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees about eight million years ago, with whales about 60 million years ago, and with kangaroos over 100 million years ago. Shared ancestry explains the similarities of organisms that are classified together: their similarities reflect the inheritance of traits from a common ancestor.
3. Evolutionary change is gradual and slow in Darwin’s view. This claim was supported by the long episodes of gradual change in organisms in the fossil record and the fact that no naturalist had observed the sudden appearance of a new species in Darwin’s time. Since then, biologists and palaeontologists have documented a broad spectrum of slow to rapid rates of evolutionary change within lineages. The theory of evolution states that evolution happens by natural selection. Natural selection occurs when successful characteristics produce, by chance, mutations. Darwin’s process of natural selection has four components. 1. Variation. Organisms exhibit individual variation in appearance and behaviour. These variations may involve body size, hair colour, facial markings, voice properties, or number of offspring. On the other hand, some traits show little to no variation among individuals—for example, number of eyes in vertebrates. 2. Inheritance. Some traits are consistently passed on from parent to offspring. Such traits are heritable, whereas other traits are strongly influenced by environmental conditions and show weak...
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