Revolutionary Theory

In the beginning, Darwin’s theory was never bulletproof. He lacked perhaps the most important factor of evolution, a model for genetics. In the face of such a deficiency, Darwin appealed to the aesthetic qualities of his theory. He argues that when viewing “all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings…[They] become ennobled” (Darwin, 513). From his decades as a naturalist, Darwin understood the majesty of the biological world and was set on capturing it within his evolutionary model. His theory, while not perfect, reflects a beautiful interplay between geological record, biogeography, morphology, embryology, struggle, and variation. Darwin brilliantly compares his biological interplay to the planets “cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity” (Darwin, 513). This concluding metaphor draws connections between Newton’s revolution in the physical sciences and Darwin’s emerging revolution in the biological sciences. Once his ideas were finally completed and synthesized with Mendelian genetics in the 1930s, Evolution through Natural Selection became every bit as influential as gravity.

The most convincing aspect of Darwin’s argument for me is his keen foresight. Darwin knew his theory would have immense, often warranted, opposition. Getting ahead of the flak, Darwin took a fierce approach and wrote that his close-minded generation will die out and a new field of “young and rising naturalists…will be able to view both sides of the question” (Darwin, 503). Not only did Darwin know the future would err on the side of evolution, but he also accurately predicted the plethora of new academic fields to be reworked with his theory. “Psychology will be based on a new foundation…Light will be thrown on the origin of man” (Darwin, 512). These statements compellingly demonstrate how far-reaching the Theory of Natural Selection became after Darwin’s time. Born from the sciences, evolution has invaded humanities and grown more prolific than Darwin ever imagined.

2 thoughts on “Revolutionary Theory”

  1. Excellent post, Ben. Your first paragraph gives a great overview of Darwin’s arguments for natural selection. Your second paragraph is also a fantastic view of Darwin’s courage in the face adversity to his theory. Despite knowing that his views would be fiercely opposed in his time, Darwin had the foresight to see a brighter future for his ideas and that science would take his ideas and progress with them. Your closing statement makes me wonder what Darwin would say if he could see how extensive his theory has become. Evolution through natural selection has become one of the most fundamental theories in the natural sciences, and I believe Darwin would have been proud of the “young and rising naturalists” who helped shape and spread his idea.

  2. This was a great blog to understand and was written well to really take in the genius of Darwin. I enjoyed your part about how theory of evolution, was as influential as the theory of gravity after the 1930’s. Also, you talked about how Darwin faced a lot of opposition to his theory of evolution and how Darwin’s “close-minded” counterparts, would eventually be over passed by a new and more “naturalist” future generation of biologists. I also liked that comment from Darwin because it showed how much Darwin was correct about his theory and also what would happen in the future with his theory of evolution.

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