Essay about Charles Darwin

Submitted By brittanykal
Words: 1742
Pages: 7

Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin was the second son of Dr. Robert Waring Darwin, of Shrewsbury, where he was born on February 12, 1809. Dr. Darwin was the son of Erasmus Darwin, sometimes described as a poet, but more deservedly as a physician and naturalist. Charles Darwin’s mother was Susannah, daughter of Josiah Wedgewood, a well-known potter of Etruria, in Staffordshire. Many believe Darwin inherited his sweet spirit from the Wedgewood side, while the character of his genius came from his Darwin grandfather. Robert Waring Darwin had no pretentions of being a man of science. He was guided more by intuition and everyday observation rather than knowledge of his subject. He was great at reading a person’s mental characteristics and thoughts in just a short period of time. He had a strong influence over the lives of a large number of people. He was fond of society with a large practice of many friends. Darwin’s mother was remarkably sweet and happy faced. She portrayed a continuance express of gentle and sympathetic nature. She died on July 15, 1817, thirty two years before her husband, whose death occurred on November 13, 1848. From a young age, Darwin loved reading various books and used to sit for hours reading the historical plays of Shakespeare. He also read poetry such as Thomason’s “Seasons”. With respect for science, he started to collect minerals and insects and classifying them. He took pleasure in watching the habits of birds also. Oddly enough he did not excel in school. Darwin’s father took him out at an early age and sent him to Edinburgh University in October of 1825. He was expected to be a physician, but in his second year at the university he started attending lectures on Geology and Zoology sparking his interest in things other than medicine. He then decided to become a clergyman and started at Cambridge. During his last year at Cambridge, he read with care and profound interest Humboldt’s “Personal Narrative”, and Sir J. Herschel’s “Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy”. No one person or a dozen other books influenced him nearly as much as these two. Darwin was a British scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world. In 1831, he joined a five year scientific expedition on the survey ship HMS Beagle. At this time, most Europeans believed that the world was created by God in seven days as described in the bible. On the voyage he read Lyell’s “Principles of Geology” which suggested that fossils found in rocks were actually evidence of animals that had lived many thousands or even millions of years ago. Lyell’s argument was reinforced in Darwin’s own mind by the rich variety of animal life and the geological features he saw during this voyage. The breakthrough of his ideas came in the Galapagos Islands, 500 miles west of South America. Darwin was struck by certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to past inhabitants of that continent. Darwin noticed that each island supported its own form of finch which was closely related but different in important ways. These facts seemed to throw light on the origin of species. On his return home in 1837, Darwin tried to solve the riddles of these observations and the puzzle of how these species evolve. After five years of work, he allowed himself to speculate on the subject, and drew short notes, which he then turned into a large sketch of the conclusions. Influenced by the ideas of Malthus, he proposed a theory of evolution occurring by the process of natural selection. The animals or plants best suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on the characteristics which helped them survive to their offspring. Gradually the species will change over time. Darwin worked on his theory for twenty years. After learning that another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace,