The world of Charles is a very complex one. Filled with parables and mysteries, this man has captivated the ideas and hearts of nations of people worldwide. I chose to research because his proposals of evolution have intrigued my mind for quite sometime. Not that I struggle with the idea of creation vs. evolution, but the idea of how through time our genes would actually succumb to our environment, so that in the end we are only a stronger and better fit creation.
The year is now 1831, and we see a young man (age 22) that is soon to depart on a vessel known as the Beagle set to travel around the world. We are in a time when titles are held high, and the church has nearly the power of that of the crown. The church’s power was not of one to be trifled with. ism would later add the clergy to one of its enemies after denying the idea of a divine creation. England at that time had accepted the ideas of Christ and the Bible, and basically it was crazy to attempt to challenge their thoughts and ideas.
Our young man slowly trudges his way down the cobblestone paths that make up England’s streets. Peasants crowd his way as he attempts to make his way to the ship. As he passes through the poor and crowded streets he sees a rather rich Duke stroll toward the direction of the Beagle. Whatever grace and beauty that this man was proposed to have was immediately dismissed as our young stranger saw him strike one of his servants to the ground. England at this time was a fabulous place to live if you had the money, yet for the poor, it was a place of vile disgust.
The young man continues on toward his goal. As we walks he sees a message posted on the wall. It boasts of communism and that the answer to society’s problems has now been answered. At this time Karl Marx, the creator of communism, had just publicly come out with his doctrine on a new of life and how to live. As our young man boards the ship a young cabin boys says, “Mr. , welcome to the Beagle.” has just started his journey that will take him around the world and he will start discovering what he will come to believe as true science dealing with evolution. Yet one of the thoughts that plagued many of the current day scientists and philosophers, was if Karl Marx’s ideas of communism had anything to do with publishing a document that would be contrary to that of the church.
The point of walking you through some of the streets of England, with this mysterious young , is to show the life style of the English. You must remember what type of a world this is at the time of ‘s discoveries. It is a world where science is just starting to be accepted because of the advances the Sir Isaac Newton had discovered and yet still favored the clergy. was starting to open the eyes of the world to something that was quite different than what they blindly believed. It took some time for the world to accept just a few of ‘s basic principle ideas, but at the same time, some parts of the world still haven’t.
On February 12, 1809 Charles was brought into this world. The open arms of Robert Waring were quite pleased to see another son born. The mother, Susannah was also very happy as she viewed for the first time her new baby boy. Charles also had one older brother and three older sisters awaiting him. Later another girl would be born to the family. It was a happy family that did get along quite well or at least as well as any family could. came from a long line of scientists. His father was a scientist, and that would eventually be the path for ‘s older brother and himself. His grandfather, Erasmus had written scientific books that were successful in that time. (The Botanic Garden and Zoonomia) Like , his grandfather would also study the life of plants and animals.
As far as schooling went, the beginning stages are Darwin’s education were very slow. His eldest sister, who in turn describes Darwin as being very slow, taught him how to read and write. She taught him the basics of education, leaving him to become a day-boy at the school of the Reverend G. Case, a Unitarian minister. He stayed here at that school for only a year before moving onto much more advanced studies.
Now age nine, Charles enters into Dr. Butler’s school in his hometown of Shrewsbury. He stayed here for the next seven years of his life. It is said that, “even at this age he showed a passion for natural history by collecting all sorts of things, shells, seals, franks, coins and minerals.” [Charles Darwin and His World, Pg. 8] Later Darwin would remark, “The passion for collecting… was clearly innate, as none of my sisters or brother ever had the taste.”
Now being sixteen the young man travels to the University of Edinburgh where his father decides for him that his calling to be for the medical sciences. It could be said the years that he spent here were a flop. The medical doctors did not agree with some of the ideas that the young student held. Yet the time that he spent here would introduce him to some of the people that would change his life drastically. Such people were: A professor of his Doctor Grant, an American naturalist Audubon, the geologist W.F. Ainsworth, and the kind hearted Dr. Coldstream, who contributed “good zoological articles’ with whom he ‘examined marine animals on the shore of the Firth of Forth’, and who was responsible for Darwin’s interest in a Bryozoan like Flustra.” [Charles Darwin and His World, Pg. 13]
At about this time both Charles and his older brother had given up on the dream that their father had for them to be physicians. After this Charles went and stayed with his uncle, where he was free to become whatever he wished. He dreaded the holidays where he would have to return home and face his father and the life that he chose to leave behind when he quit medicine.
His father furious with the idea that his son would not practice medicine then decided for him that he was to be a clergyman. Which meant that at nineteen, Charles was enrolled at Christ’s College: Cambridge, the Gateway. Darwin hated his time here equally to the love that he shared for Edinburgh.
Yet at the time while Darwin was there, Adam Sedgwick, the professor of Geology and Rev. John Stevens Henslow, the professor of Botany, got Charles interested in taking a boat ride that would travel the world and do scientific research. After having seen some parts of the world while traveling with his uncle, Charles was filled with excitement to get to view more than just Europe. This is where we meet up with that young man at the beginning of the essay. Here we have that young man that at age 22 is venturing onto the Beagle.
“As more individuals of each species are born that can possibly survive, and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.” -Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species [Stavrionos, Pg. 474]
This is Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. It is the basic concept behind evolution. It is basically saying that if a species will not change and evolve over time to fit the needs of the environment that it is originally born into, it will eventually die and no longer propagate. Natural Selection means:
This is an important part in the process of evolution; in the struggle for existence, the organisms whose genes are best adapted to the environment are selected and will survive, the less well adapted will die out. [Stavrionos, Pg. 773]
Darwin came to idea of this after studying not only animals from around the Galapagos Islands area, but also ones from all around the world. His main research was done while he spent time on the Galapagos Islands studying the tortoises and birds that lived on the islands. He noticed a difference between one species of tortoise on one side of the islands and different adaptations on tortoises on the other side of the island. All of this together would spawn Darwinism.
Darwin refused to give up on his ideas and the things that he stood for. He believed they were scientifically factual and proven. Even at a younger age he would refuse to believe to give up for his search of science. He once said before his first journey, “I was troubled with palpitations and pain about the heart and like many a young ignorant man, especially one with a smattering of medical knowledge, was convinced that I had a heart disease. I did not consult any Doctor, as I fully expected to hear that the verdict that I was not fit for any voyage and I was resolved to go at all hazards.” [Charles Darwin and His World, Pg. 5] He refused not to go in the search for truth and once he believed that he had found it, he refused to give it up. Though, I have heard, (please note that this point has not yet to be found in any of my research.) That on Darwin’s deathbed, he rebuked some of the ideas of Darwinism. Whether that be true or not, Darwin died believing that he had truly found science.
Darwinism has now taken our world and our lives by storm. The theories of evolution are taught in every high school science class, and some people are still searching for that “missing link.” When you drive through any city you can find cars that proudly support the Darwin Salamander. (A Jesus fish with legs.) Our society has accepted Darwin and his beliefs and will forever be immortalized in our scientific efforts from this point in history forward. Charles Darwin was truly one of the great minds of science, and we shall forever be blessed with the knowledge he has given to us.