Darwin's Natural Selection And Historical Circumstances - Essay Example

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Darwin's natural selection and historical circumstances Introduction While the 19th century witnessed substantial scientific and cultural changes, perhaps the most groundbreaking were the theories of Charles Darwin. Darwin’s theories of natural selection as articulated in his seminal text ‘the Origin of the Species’ established the foundation for the theory of evolution…
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Darwins Natural Selection And Historical Circumstances
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Download file to see previous pages Still, there were a number of historical circumstances and influences that affected Darwin’s thinking. This essay considers the specific historical circumstances when Darwin published his theory of natural selection and considers the ways Robert Chamber's publications impacted Darwin's work. Analysis In considering the historical circumstances surrounding Darwin’s development of the theory of natural selection it’s necessary to examine then prominent objections and criticisms to Darwin’s work. While largely neglected in the current scientific climate (although still a prominent aspect of religious theology), a major criticism levied against Darwin occurred through claims regarding geological time. In terms of geological time Darwin had been greatly influenced by prominent 19th century scientist Charles Lyell. Darwin’s heavy reliance on Lyell’s perspectives on the geologic record and time frames therein would lead a number of individuals to criticize his work on the grounds that it did not apply enough scientific rigor in these investigations. Burchfield notes that, “Lyell had taught him that the time available for geological and biological change was virtually limitless, and his own observations had strengthened this conviction to the point of certainty” (Burchfield, pg. ...
d that Darwin’s evolutionary theory relied on significant time frames for change to occur; his critics, pointing out the inaccuracies of Darwin’s account of the geologic record, claimed that there was not enough time for such evolutionary change to occur. The impact of criticisms regarding Darwin’s understanding of geologic time were so pronounced that it led Darwin to include a disclaimer in the second edition of ‘Origin of the Species’. Still, the imperfect nature of the geological record as articulated in Darwin’s text was perhaps the central area of scientific criticism during this period. A number of individuals equated Darwin’s approach in these regards to cosmology, or a sort of mystical logic, rather than hard scientific diligence. H.C. Fleeming levied another prominent mode of criticism towards Darwin’s text during this historical period. Fleeming’s now seminal review, in addition to criticizing Darwin on his account of the geologic record, argued. “against the probability of a single, individual variation being perpetuated in a community of normal organisms” (Burchfield, pg. 307). This claim was significant as it constituted a prominent scientific objection to Darwin’s articulation of the process of natural selection. While Darwin had a number of supporters, including Thomas Huxley, the historical circumstances surrounding the publication of Darwin’s text led to substantial changes in new editions as a means of counter-acting prominent criticisms. For instance, Darwin would eventually abandon his support of steady state uniformitarianism. Ultimately, the criticisms and changes represent a theory at part in-flux. Another prominent consideration regarding Darwin’s development of the theory of natural selection is the extent that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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