Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Shrewsbury was where Darwin was born and raised. However, it was Cambridge that Darwin found his love for the natural world. He gained much knowledge about studying nature from University of Cambridge. During the years at Cambridge, Darwin attended Revd. John Stevens Henslow’s lecture, Professor of Botany, and was addicted to natural history after. At the end of his University life, Henslow invited Darwin to join aboard H.M.S. Beagle as a naturalist on its two year survey of South America, including Valparaiso, Pacific Ocean, Cocos Islands, and South Africa, which later extended into five years. During the voyage, Darwin made many discoveries from the nature world as he would gather and preserve insects, birds, plants, and many other specimens to support his findings. The Beagle voyage auxiliary Darwin’s innovation with the world. After the return of voyage, Darwin’s life settled in London where he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society on discovered new specimen. This is also where he publishes books, evaluates his findings, finished his autobiography, and died.
Darwin to me is still a naturalist as he is only publishing what he had found for the world. The places he had been have a lot of effect on Darwin, especially the Beagle voyage where he collected and make note of many specimens to strengthen his passion for nature. Ascertain ideas for evolution is certainly not only from Darwin but from many other theorists as well. Darwin has only made his theories in more surpass language package since he has more breakthrough knowledge from the places he went.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"The extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist."
Also, in his letter to Asa Gray, an American Presbyterian who was cooperating with Darwin and discussing the relations between natural theology and natural selection, Darwin mentioned that he still cannot reject God as the first cause. The following is a letter Darwin sent to Asa Gray about his religious beliefs:
"With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me.— I am bewildered.– I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, & as I [should] wish to do, evidence of design & beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe & especially the nature of man, & to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can." Therefore, during accumulating his thoughts during Origin of Species, Darwin was still in doubt about existence of God and his tendency to Christianity.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
We are all the product of our surroundings, and our characteristics and interests are built from those we surround ourselves with. Charles Darwin’s grandfather was perhaps one of the most influential people in his life. Being exposed to Erasmus’s literature, especially those on plant evolution must have sparked his earliest interests in biology, and his fascination on biological change. Although Charles had never met his grandfather, the lineage is clear when understanding they both shared a mutual interest in evolution. It is interesting to note that Butler’s criticism of Darwin’s work illustrates a lack of recognition on the part of his grandfather, and this blatantly seen in the literature. Erasmus had many interests and hobbies, and with many of them combined what surfaced were poems on evolution. Multiple methods of studies used by Erasmus were followed forth by Charles and the many different subjects he was clearly interested in. Erasmus was a very smart man, and as such he had come up with many inventions in his lifetime. This ambition towards making new things, and new discoveries was perhaps a genetic precursor to what was in store for the future generations of the Darwin family.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Therefore, it should be noted that Charles Darwin was not invincible to the marital strains (experienced by many in society) resulting from contrasting views on religion.
It should also be noted that this situation could represent the sacrifices that a man in the Victorian era would have been required to make in the name of science.
*All quotes from: Barlow Nora, The Autobiography of Darwin Charles, 1809-1882, WW Norton & Company, New York 1958