The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was a man who shaped the way in which we think about evolution in modern times. He brought forth and described the theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest. To fully understand modern evolutionary thoughts it is necessary for one to completely understand the early theories of Charles Darwin. In this paper I will provide the reader with a complete background on Charles Darwin, describe his voyage on the HMS Beagle, and discuss his theory of natural selection. Charles Robert Darwin, the founder of evolution, was born on February 12, 1809 in rural England. Charles was the son of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgewood.
After passing his last examinations, Charles Darwin took two terms of residence at Cambridge, where he moved his focus of interest towards geology. During this time Darwin and another geologist, Adam Sedgwick made an excursion to Northern Wales in 1831. After returning from this trip, Darwin would be prompted by one of his peers to apply for a position aboard the HMS Beagle. He would function as the position of “Naturalist” during a long surveying expedition. Darwin’s voyage aboard the HMS Beagle would last from 1831 to 1836. These 5 years of exploration and discovery would become his inspiration for many later views and ideas. Among the most widely known is the theory of evolution by natural selection. Functioning in the capacity of the ships naturalist, Darwin’s job was to study the geographical features of unexplored coasts and ecosystems. He would collect an immense cache of specimens in his studies showing evidence of species evolution. His first theory was that the earth was only 6000 years old, and that the inhabitants were unchanged during this time of the planet’s development. This would later change as Darwin would realize that the earth was infinitely more aged than his first belief of a mere 6000 years. In South America, Darwin witnessed one of the marvels of nature. After a large earthquake the landscape was altered; the ground in certain places had risen by several feet. Later in the expedition of the Beagle, Darwin would have the opportunity to study the Galapagos Islands. He would find multiple species of animals and reptiles which were adaptations of similar species found in other parts of the world. These discoveries would bring about the realization that the earth was in constant geographical and ecological change. The inhabitants of Earth were also in a constant flux of adaptation geared towards the survival of the inevitable change of their environment. During his voyage on the Beagle, Darwin would encounter many more examples of the adaptation of various species for survival within the respective environments. Pondering these observations, Darwin would begin to question how and why life would adapt to meet the demands of the climate and ecology of the native land.
However, there are still many issues in Darwin’s work, which have to be analyzed and be better understood by us. Therefore, there can be observed many attempts to understand Darwin: Darwin’s theory touches upon very difficult and important things and observe different ways of using the word “nature”. To comprehend Darwin’s ideas and intentions, it is very important to understand his world and his attitude to this life and to realize that by Darwin, nature is a great part of us.The first thing that is very important for understanding Darwin is the analysis of his life, the way he worked and understood this great world. We know that Darwin lived in the industrial world, and we can observe the facts, which reflect this in his works, when he uses metaphors reflected the world of business, factories and the empire (Crook 160). Therefore, that is necessary to mention that such a situation influenced Darwin very much, as that is not possible to live and to work without feeling the influence of time. That is also possible to suppose that Darwin tried to compare the system that exits in nature and in business. Because in his works we can observe the situation that all the species live in great competition, and that is why some species can change some other species (Darwin 67-90). The same situation we can observe in the sphere of business. So, we can say that Darwin tried to see and to understand the world through the glasses of the time, when he lived and worked. Such a statement is very important for understanding Darwin.
To conclude, the daring and restless mind, the integrity and simplicity of Darwin's character are revealed in this direct and personal account of his life―his family, his education, his explorations of the natural world, his religion and philosophy. The editor has provided page and line references to the more important restored passages, and previously unpublished notes and letters on family matters and on the controversy between Samuel Butler appear in an appendix.
Crook, Paul. “Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography.” The Australian Journal of Politics and History 53.1 (2007): 160+.
Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. Ed. Gillian Beer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Dawrin, Charles, Zimmer, Carl, and Waal, Frans. The Decent of Man. New York: Plume, 2007.
Gelernter, David, Thomas Fleming, Michael Behe, and John O. Mcginnis. “The Descent of Man: Can Conservative Concepts Be Derived from Evolution? Critics Respond to John O. McGinnis.” National Review 9 Mar. 1998: 52+.