As Dr. Janet Browne so humorously explained, contemporary society has bestowed a certain celebrity status upon Charles Darwin for his work and research in the field of biology, and discovery of the idea of evolution. By presenting a series of pictures depicting Darwin on posters, banners, and other mediums for presentation, she backed up this claim and even touched on how this elevated status of a scientist is very much abnormal, especially when one considers the bulk of her argument which was questioning how much Darwin should really be credited with the discovery of evolution.
Dr. Browne pointed out that despite Darwin’s modesty when it came to his own discoveries, people around him still held him up as someone meant to be famously revered. However, due to the fact that many other scientists during that time period are not credited with anywhere near the amount of love that Darwin has received over the years is what made Dr. Browne question how Darwinian this revolution was. As she stated, if it weren’t for some of those people, and in particular the later geneticists who truly reaffirmed Darwin’s theories long after his death, it’s hard to say how much praise should be going to people other than Darwin for their accomplishments as well.
On top of her questioning of how Darwinian this revolution was, Dr. Browne also questioned how truly revolutionary Darwin really was. As she pointed out, this “revolution” lasted over 150 years, from when Darwin first made public his theories up until the mid 20th century when many of those things were proven true by advancements in genetics. This extended period of time, she stated, is vastly different from our typical idea of how long a revolution is meant to in fact last, and therefore leaves the door open for whether time should in fact define whether something is truly a revolution or not.
Despite Dr. Browne’s fascinating claims, I still believe that the Darwinian Revolution is worthy of such a claim. If it weren’t for Darwin, changes in human knowledge and understanding may not have been as clear cut as they ended up being on this time scale, and the challenges posed to many institutions because of it were certainly revolutionary. From questioning what can or can not be taught in school to whether religion is not only true but should have any place in society were questions all raised subsequently by Darwin’s theories. To an extent, Darwin set off a chain reaction of fundamental changes to our society and what we perceive as human understanding of our past and where we came from. This act, therefore, no matter how much others may have aided Darwin in his discoveries, deserves the title of Darwinian revolution for that very reason.