What is Darwin’s theory?

We explain what Darwin’s theory is, how it explains the origin of the species and natural selection. Also, who was Charles Darwin.

  1. What is Darwin’s theory?

Darwin’s theory is the set of scientific formulations proposed and developed by the British-born naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) that explains the origin of the diversity of life and the role of natural selection on the evolutionary process .

This set of studies and formulations, collected in various works of his own, are known as Theory on the origin of species and also as Darwinism.

Contrary to popular belief, Charles Darwin was not the author of the theory of evolution , which already existed previously. However, it was he who made one of the most important contributions to it, which led to the formulation of contemporary evolutionary theory: natural selection.

Darwin called natural selection the effect of environmental pressure and competition with other species for available resources. This phenomenon is the force that triggers evolutionary change and, therefore, gives rise to the different species of living beings .

The set of scientific theories proposed by Darwinism was the product of Darwin’s long journeys around the world aboard the Beagle boat . It was reflected in the book The Origin of Species , published in 1859, which forever revolutionized numerous scientific and knowledge fields.

More than a single theory, it is a set of interrelated scientific disquisitions, whose foundations can be summarized in three key points:

  • Transformism . This is called the verifiable fact that species are not fixed and immutable orders of life , but are gradually changing over time. That is why for years it was called “transformism” to what we know today as “evolutionism”.
  • Diversification and adaptation of life . The different species of living beings that exist or were, are the product of life’s commitment to adapt to the environmental conditions in which it lives, as part of a struggle to prosper and multiply, overcoming adversities. From there it can be concluded that all species possess a common ancestor, and that therefore they are in some degree related (phylogeny) to each other and with a remote common ancestor.
  • Natural selection . This adaptation of life to the environment occurs due to what Darwin called “natural selection”, and that is the result of two factors: on the one hand the natural variability that individuals of a species inherit to their offspring, so that it find better adapted to the environment; and on the other hand, the pressure exerted on these variations by the environment, distinguishing between the successful species that reproduce and multiply, and the unsuccessful ones that diminish until they are extinguished.

Darwin’s theory remains in force despite some inaccuracies and ignorance characteristic of the time. It is at the bottom of a materialistic approach to the fact of life, in which there is no place for religious or magical ideas such as those of the soul or the spirit.

For that reason it was fought for years by the different western churches. However, finally the majority recognized the indisputability of the evidence and updated their creeds to understand evolution as part of the divine work.

  1. Importance of Darwin’s theory

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Darwin’s theory has extensive scientific evidence to support it.

Darwinism was a revolutionary scientific contribution that laid the foundation for virtually all contemporary biology . In addition, it affected other sciences and even fields of humanistic knowledge.

His precepts were embraced by social scientists of the early twentieth century. For example, social Darwinism originated , a doctrine that aspired to think about the functioning of societies in terms of natural selection, a central idea in the emergence of European fascism in the twentieth century.

However, there are still those who pretend to dismiss the contribution of Darwinism, using various pseudosciences or claiming it as “one more theory.”

In the first place it is important to understand that a scientific theory is not a more or less informed assumption or assumption, but a set of testable concepts, abstractions and formulations that explain in the best possible way, and according to the guidelines of the scientific method, a natural fact.

Consequently, Charles Darwin’s observations and deductions are the basis of much of modern evolutionary synthesis and his proven knowledge.

  1. Charles Darwin Biography

Charles Darwin's theory natural selection species origin evolution biography
Darwin’s travels at HMS Beagle were indispensable for his theory.

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England, in 1809 . He was the son of a doctor and a wealthy businessman, and was raised in the precepts of the Anglican church and of free thought .

From a young age Darwin showed talents for natural history and passion for the collection of biological specimens. He learned taxidermy, after following his father’s steps in medicine he found it an unbearable idea.

He was sent to Cambridge to study letters and be ordained as a pastor. However, in 1931 he embarked on the HMS Beagle to map the American South , as part of Robert FitzRoy’s exploration. This trip was key in Darwin’s life.

The numerous observations, drawings and conclusions he obtained from the Azores, Cape Verde, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador, as well as after Australia, Cocos Island and South Africa gave him a fundamental perspective on the vast and diverse of life. Thus he obtained the keys to formulate his scientific theories.

The following years he dedicated them completely to the elaboration of his work and to the publication of numerous manuscripts, despite the fact that in the last 22 years of his life he suffered significant cardiac conditions. He finally died in Kent, England, on April 19, 1882 and received a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

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