A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
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.
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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
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