Charles Robert Darwin
- Born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire ( Somewhere in England)
- Darwin died on 19 April 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey
- Darwin himself initially planned to follow a medical career, however instead in 1831, he joined a five year scientific expedition on the survey ship HMS Beagle
- At this time, most Europeans believed that the world was created by God in seven days as described in the bible
- On the voyage, Darwin read Lyell's 'Principles of Geology' which suggested that the fossils found in rocks were actually evidence of animals that had lived many thousands or millions of years ago
Darwin’s Theory ( Beginning)
- The breakthrough in his ideas came in the Galapagos Islands, 500 miles west of South America. Darwin noticed that each island supported its own form of finch which were closely related but differed in important ways.
- Darwin tried to solve the riddles of these observations and the puzzle of how species evolve
- He proposed a theory of evolution occurring by the process of natural selection
- The animals (or plants) best suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on the characteristics which helped them survive to their offspring.
- With this theory, gradually, the species changes over time.
- Worked on his theory for 20 years
- Learned that another naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, had developed similar ideas, this made the two of them make a joint announcement of their discovery in 1858
- In 1859 Darwin published 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection'.
- This book was extremely controversial, because the logical extension of Darwin's theory was that homo sapiens was simply another form of animal
- Made it seem possible that even people might just have evolved - quite possibly from apes - and destroyed the prevailing orthodoxy on how the world was created
Darwins Theory of Evolution
- States that different species arose from a common ancestor and that those species that survived were best adapt to meet the demands of their environments.
- With this theory it is stated that present day humans descended from a creature that split off from apes millions of years ago.
- Supporting this theory was the DNA results that stated that Chimpanzees share at least 98 % of their DNA with humans.
Forces at work
- Genetic mutations ( accidental error in genetic instructions that lead to a change)
- Natural Selection ( genes and traits that are helpful for the organism to survive and reproduce)
- Relatively new theory which shows how adaptation ( common features of a species that provides it with improved function), as well as natural selection, explain human behaviors and mental process.
- This idea was vehemently attacked, particularly by the Church
- However, his ideas soon gained currency and have become the new orthodoxy
Darwin’s Idea of Natural Selection
- Darwin did not believe that the environment was producing the variation within populations
- He correctly thought that the variation already existed and that nature just selected the most and less useful within the population
- By the late 1860's, Darwin came to describe this process as the "survival of the fittest."
- Many assume that "the fittest" refers to the strongest, biggest, or smartest and most cunning individuals.
- This may or may not be the case.
- From an evolutionary perspective, the fittest individuals are simply the ones who have the combination of traits that allow them to survive and produce more offspring.
- In fact, they may be relatively weak, small, and not particularly intelligent.
- What makes an individual fit all depends on the environment at the time and the combination of traits that are most suited to flourishing in it
- Darwin did not believe that evolution follows a predetermined direction or that it has an inevitable goal.
What Darwin didn’t think of was this :
- If natural selection were the only process occurring, each generation should have less variation until all members of a population are essentially identical, or clones of each other
- According to most after the Earth stops , and humans cease to exist, there are only 2 things that will survive…..
- 1. Cockroaches
- 2 Cher
- HAHAHA!!!! ( Laugh it’s a joke..)
Sir Francis Galton
- Born in 1822, at “The Larches”, in Birmingham, England
- Died in 1911
- Francis Galton and Charles Darwin were half cousins
- Not much is documented about Francis Galton's activities from the age of 22 to about 27
- In 1869 he published Hereditary Genius
- Aim of which was "to show...that a man's natural abilities are derived by inheritance
- Never got a degree in psychology, however was a great contributor
- Concluded that the prospect for a high level of intelligence was inherited but that it must be fostered by an appropriate environment
- Galton prompted the nature-nurture debate!
- His entire Theory was predicated on the theory that Intelligent children where a product of Intelligent parents.
- In particular that those of Noble blood should only mate with those with noble blood. Others should just not mate at all, and should be in camps to prevent this from happening