Darwin’s Defense of Evolution

Ahead of his time and pushing an unpopular theory, Charles Darwin argues for the theory of evolution in The Origin of Species, with “Recapitulation and Conclusion” being one of his most influential sections. To convince his readers of evolution through natural selection, Darwin argues “that gradations in in the perfection of and organ or instinct… either do now exist or could have existed, each good of its kind, – that all organs and instincts are, in ever so slight a degree, variable, – and lastly, that there is a struggle for existence leading to the preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct” (Darwin 482). In this assertion, we can see Darwin is arguing for evolution because of three points: in all species, there is a range of abilities, all being are good, that all species are variable to change, and that the struggle for existence adds to the variability of each species.

While this was a broad overview of Darwin’s argument, he also makes more specific claims about evolution. I thought his strongest claim was when states what the theory of creation lacks and how “it is inexplicable on the theory of creation why a part developed in a very unusual manner in any one species… [and] of great importance to the species, should be eminently liable to variation”, which illustrates why variation is key in explaining the evolution of species (Darwin 494). One thing I find to be less convincing about Darwin’s argument however, is his constant assertion that “we [need to] admit the geological record is imperfect, in an extreme degree”, which I find to be relaying too much on other factors (Darwin 495). While the geologic record probably is and will be imperfect, basing an entire theory on the hope that it is imperfect seems risky to me.

2 thoughts on “Darwin’s Defense of Evolution”

  1. I like what you pointed out in what Darwin said about the struggle for existence leading to the preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct. I think that human instinct has a lot of what formed society today because our instincts is we only like change if it makes it easier to humans with that being said, I think that it explains the evolution of humans and society. We see it in the early stages of life when the sapiens tried growing crops so they wouldn’t have to go gather all the time. And today, computers and other luxuries make it easier to create and share ideas. I agree that basing an entire theory based on hope is not only risky but incredible unreliable. But at the same time what else do we have to rely on? It might as well be something. But other than that i thought your article was sincere and in depth. Good Job.

  2. I really like the end of the first quote you used saying, “there is a struggle for existence leading to the preservation of each profitable deviation of structure or instinct”. I think that if Darwin could get one message across to the most amount of people in order to support his arguments for his theory of evolution through natural selection it would be that. The struggle for existence is so great that it is only plausible for species to preserve themselves through variation and deviation of genes. Very understandable, very concise. Thanks!

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