It was a great opportunity to Janet Browne this week to Discuss more about Darwin and Origin of his works. With her discussions in class, she seemed to have immersed her life in studying Darwin’s work by writing and reading a lot about Darwin. From reading her book, ‘Origin of Species,’ I got to learn a lot about Darwin from his childhood and his family and how it all influenced who he later became in his life
Darwin’s experience, growing up in a religious background sparked my childhood experiences. I was brought up in a Christian family and went to a Christian high school. In both places, there were emphasize of God creating the earth and all the things in it in six days in the form they are now. It was strange to learn about evolution in Biology classes in high school then move into a Christian Religious Education class that we were required to study as well. The expectation in Victorian Science did not include the possibility of any disprove in their religion and was a challenging a moment for Darwin during his upbringing and his career path.
Janet emphasis was that Darwin’s evolution interest probably originated from the Beagle voyage he had for five years. These five years gave him an opportunity to be away from his family and interact with nature and fellow naturalist. He had an opportunity to see geological activities, like the mountain erupting, experience of earthquake in 1835, and encounter with different groups of people which made him believe that there must be something more than nature. During this time, he kept notes on animal observation, plants, and geology which he sent them back to England for further study. It was impressive how careful Darwin was during this voyage to notice very detailed things and the incident of eating an ostrich when he suspected that that might have been the smallest ostrich and was willing to send the remaining part of the ostrich back home for further study.
When he moved from one region to another during his voyage, he was fascinated by the difference between organisms which were close to each other. He called them, “different varieties” which he later figured out that these those species were in that form because of the adaptation to that place. His experience with the ingenious people was fascinating to him in how those people were different from the Europeans.
I think therefore, that the aspect of being independent in life is important. Darwin leaving home for the voyage, his habit of thinking in silence and walking the sand walk gave him an opportunity to think about his work. I think if he had not gone on that voyage, he would have probably gone on a different career path in life, maybe become a clergy as his parents wanted him to be after Darwin dropped out of medical.
It is encouraging to see how much work has been done now which has roots in Darwin’s work. Medical field has improved a lot in gene modification to have a plants and animals who can adapt well to different places, which can be traced back to Darwin’s work.
Scientists as controversial as Charles Darwin are few and far between. It seems strange that the same person can be so readily placed upon a pedestal and dismissed as incredible at the same time. This disparity of opinion and prevalence of Darwin in academic lives led me to think about what impact he has had on my life and how he may have been a part, or not, in the lives of others.
Charles Darwin, he may be one of the most famous people in the world. He is also well recognized with his book The origin of species (1859), introducing the theory of evolution. I was familiar with the theory Darwin proposed because I learned in school, however I had only few knowledge about Charles Darwin himself. The lecture of “The Origin of the Origin” by prof. Janet Browne provided me various ideas and sights about Darwin and how he reached the theory of evolution.
Especially I was amazed by Darwin’s fieldwork and detailed observation on creatures. Through sketching of hundreds of types of insects and mammals and both males and females, he integrated features such as their figures, colors, ecology, life cycle and sex ratio. For example, Darwin formulated his ideas on natural selection when he visited to the Galapagos Island, where he found several species of finch adapted to different environmental niches. The finches also differed in beak shape, food source, and how food was captured. In that way he corrected huge amount of data to support his theory.
I also found that Darwin could not attain this big finding or publish his book without any supports or collaborations with people around him. John Henslow was the one of people Darwin admired and he was also the one who made an arrangement of the Beagle voyage for Darwin. Darwin also wrote numerous letters to the scholars asking more resources which he was not familiar with or confirm each details about his researches. Correspondents all over the globe were plied with questions and requests for facts and specimens. Alfred Russel Wallace was the one of the important figures to help him to publish Darwin’s book The origin of species. Even though Darwin kept researching on his revolutionary theory for many years, he was hesitating to publish it because he was afraid of conservatives at the time. Wallace, however, he bravely announced unorthodox views and published his paper in 1855. Darwin was encouraged to see the paper Wallace sent to him because the paper was proposing the similar theory as Darwin had. Those collaborations and interactions with other people definitely helped the Darwin’s theory moved forward.
He also built a model attitude as a scientist to see their own research objectively and telling scientific fact earnestly. For instance, the point that Darwin is impressive as a scientist is that he did not try to apply everything in nature with his evolution theory. The theory at the time was epoch-making discovery, and yet it had not been completed as the perfect theory due to lack of evidences. He admitted and wrote in his book that there are still matters which he was not able to explain fully with his theory therefore he was ready to take any counterargument against the theory of evolution. Although those descriptions which made his position weaken and brought many opponents at that time, gradually it had been accepted by people with following backup researches took over by other researchers. It proved that his attitude as a scientist encouraged many researchers to continue exploring his uncertain evidences and still his principles influence and inspire many academic fields and the thinking of every person .