In this week’s past lecture with Janet Browne we spoke about Charles Darwin’s biography and the origins of his studies.
Charles Darwin came from a well-educate and affluent family in England. His advanced studies drove his curiosity regarding human kind and their origins. Browne focuses not only on Darwin’s findings but also his person life which lead him to delve deeper into our evolution.
During our lecture with Professor Browne she asked each of us individually if we have learned about Darwin in biology classes during high school. The entirety of our class responded that they had even if their studies had been brief. However, Browne question caused me to think about the scope in which we learn about Darwin opposed to the scope that her biography took. Browne goes as far back into Darwin’s life as one could. She wrote about his siblings, parents, and education at the basic level. Browne then goes on to elaborate on Darwin’s college education. Browne gives the reader a deeper understanding to the way in which Darwin’s mind worked. She explained how his research can be seen as taking both Edinburgh University and Christ College approach and how the philosophies of the two schools shaped Darwin’s intellectual approach. Browne then goes on to talk about Darwin’s voyages and later findings.
However, what I realized from Browne’s initially question regarding our previous knowledge of Darwin made me realize I had known little of Darwin’s personal life prior to reading Browne’s book. The greater background knowledge of Darwin helped to explain how his mind approached the issue of our origins and what was driving his passions.
At the end of the lecture Browne asked us to leave with one final thought. My final thought regarded the unique timing of Darwin and his findings. Browne stated that while some people were and still are opposed to the idea of evolution, Darwin was not shunned for his findings. In other historical accounts people like Gallileo, for example, was put under house arrests for proposing ideas as to how the earth rotated and existed in relation to the sun. While now we know that Gallileo’s findings were in fact correct, during the time period he lived people refused to believe him. Browne’s writings made me realized the importance of time. Had Darwin lived just fifty years early he would not have been the one to come up with the idea of evolution. Theres a chance that it could have taken hundreds of years for the ideal of evolution to arise. This idea can be applied to any history, philosopher, mathematician, or scientists. However, it highlights the important of the society in which one is living in . The society in which Darwin was a part of was receptive to his findings. In addition it made me think of how while society is constantly changing, there has not been a massive shift in our societal beliefs for years. The last major societal shift was that from having slaves to being a slave-free society. While Darwin looked at the evolution of many kind and species, I think it is important to understand the history of Darwin as a person and the society he was living in when he proposed his ideas.