A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
Ah, the great Charles Darwin. Not quite the writer his cousin Charles Dickens was (wait...okay, never mind; I am being told that there is no relation between the two, other than the fact that both men lived in Victorian-era England and may have been referred to as Chuck D over a century before Public Enemy ever instructed us not to believe the hype [another side-note, by the way: Flava Flav once tried to make moves on my aunt in Las Vegas, unsuccessfully but with a sticktoitiveness that left me rather impressed]); nevertheless, one of the most influential minds that has ever put pen to parchment.
I can recall many conversations from the days of my youth in which my grandfather, a retired rocket scientist (yes, that was actually his job - a rocket scientist. I guess, for him, it really was rocket science, after all), would sit me down and tell me of the infamous Dodo bird and its gradual extinction over time. It simply was not fit to survive, he would say. Then he made me write a report on natural selection and present it to him. When I was five.
“If you don’t focus on your studies, you’re going to end up like the Dodo bird, kid” he would advise, in harsh tones, while sucking down the juice from a grapefruit. He would offer me a spoonful, but I would politely decline; at the time, I had not yet developed the taste for it. However, as the years have gone by, I have learned to eschew the hankering for Cocoa Krispies and have since replaced such speedy sugar delivery systems with the natural replenishing bittersweetness of the grapefruit. It really is quite a filling breakfast.
And there you have it, folks. That is Darwinism at work, if there ever was an example. Were I to continue shoving sugar coated lard squares down my gourd past my teenage years into adulthood, I would likely be a diabetic. And then I’d have to start shelling out clams for insulin - clams I ain’t got. Then I’d have to go on government assistance. Then I’d lose my government assistance because I’d probably forget to fill out some form on time, because my brain would be floating in a vat of high fructose corn syrup. And then I would be forced to take to the streets and shout “Happy Monday!” at passing strangers, hoping a couple bucks may fall my way. And then I’d get stabbed by a crackhead.
Survival of the fittest.
The Origins of Species was written for non-specialist readers which led to its widespread interest upon publication, making science accessible for those that weren’t involved in the field. As Darwin was an eminent scientist himself, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented led to meaningful scientific, philosophical, and religious discussions. Within two decades of initial publication, the book led to widespread scientific agreement that evolution, with a branching pattern of common descent, had occurred, speaking volumes to the influence and talents of Darwin himself.
Interested in learning more about the foundations of evolution? This book is available for FREE download on planksip.
Published in 1859, this work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. The Origin of Species introduces the scientific theory that different populations evolve over the course of multiple generations through a process of natural selection. Darwin presents a body of evidence that argues that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Included in the book is evidence he had gathered on his Beagle expedition in the 1830's and his subsequent findings through experimentation, research, and correspondence.
Various evolutionary ideas had been published prior to The Origin of Species to help explain new findings in biology. However, while science was considered to be a part of natural theology in the first half of the nineteenth century, the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the church. The political and theological implications of humans being tied to animals, rather than being completely unique, were intensely debated.
Darwin’s theory explores the following:
- Every species is fertile enough that if all offspring survived to reproduce, the population would grow.
- Despite periodic fluctuations, all populations remain roughly the same size.
- Individuals within a population vary significantly from one another
- A struggle for survival can ensue
- Resources for food are both limited and relatively stable over time
- Much of the variation between individuals is heritable
- Individuals less suited to the environment are less likely to survive and reproduce while individuals that are more suited to the environment are more likely to survive and reproduce their traits to future generations, which is the process of natural selection.
- This slowly effected process eventually results in populations that change to adapt to their environments, and ultimately, these variations accumulate over time to form new species