A belief system
Darwinism is a belief system based on the biological evolutionary theories that were presented by Charles Darwin. The theory uses natural selection as a means to explain how and which individuals of species survive and reproduce. Charles Darwin was the creator of this theory, but he did not create the name Darwinism. It was a English biologist named Thomas Henry Huxley that came up with the term. Darwinism is also known as the Darwinian theory. Darwin explained his theory in a book he published in 1859 called The Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory goes against what the Bible teaches and rejects the concept of divine design. It relies entirely on natural processes to explain life.
Influences on Darwin
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. His mother died when he was eight and his father was a doctor that feared his son would become a failure. Darwin’s father sent him to Edinburgh University for him to further his education after traditional Anglican Shrewsbury School. At the university, he was exposed to students that held to radical evolutionary theories. Edinburg University attracted many students who were banned from graduating from other universities because of their point of view. The courses themselves had little impact on Darwin, but there is no doubt that the time he spent at Edinburg helped shape his worldview that later caused him to create his scientific theories. While at Edinburg he learned much and with the urging of Robert Edmond Grant, a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who created radical evolutionary theories, he conducted his own research.
After Edinburg, Darwin went to Cambridge University, where he had other influences. He met people that wanted to reform the natural science curriculum that was taught at Cambridge. People like Rev. John Henslow had a great impact on his beliefs at this time. He also was influenced by Sir J. Herschel’s book Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy. Even Darwin himself said there was no other book that influenced him more along with Humboldt’s Personal Narrative. Also, it was at Cambridge that Darwin began to develop a passion for bug collecting. Furthermore, it was John helm slow that connected Darwin with the captain of the H.M.S. Beagle. Darwin admitted that while on the H.M.S. Beagle a great influence of his was Charles Lyell book Principles of Geology. The book moved him to create a theory of his own. While, Darwin struggled to develop a theory on how a new species was created, he looked to Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy for help. He then wrote the On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life where he described his theories…
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image credit: Portrait: John van Wyhe describes the photo as being taken around 1855 for the Literary and Scientific Portrait Club Book title: Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Public Domain tag United States