History has told us that Charles Darwin was not the first person to suggest the theory of evolution, but he is whom we credit with this discovery. This is a controversial part of history, but we have seen this happen in other fields of study. Janet Browne was quick to let us know that Darwin was modest about his accomplishments and did not seek all of the attention he received. Rather, other scientists and members of society made him into the representative of what we call the Darwinian Revolution. The Darwinian Revolution was not all Darwin, and, as Browne would argue, not quite a revolution. However, I would argue the Darwinian Revolution was a revolution based on the long lasting implications it has had on society.
Darwin knew that his discoveries would have uncomfortable social and political implications. This contributed to his hesitancy to share them with the rest of the scientific community, and the rest of the world. Religion was the way to explain the unknown, and it governed everyone’s lives. Suggesting that some other process produced humans than creation caused widespread horror. While probably not to the degree it was back then, many people are still outraged by this suggestion. So while the Darwinian Revolution changed science, it also changed religion. Darwin also knew his discoveries would cause a revolution, but not in his lifetime. Even before his death, Darwin had become romanticized as a hero of modern science. His supporters were adamant about keeping his legacy alive. They made sure the theory of evolution was never discredited or considered irrelevant. They were successful, considering we still learn and talk about it today. However, this has continued to be a controversial topic, especially in the United States.
Browne stated that The Darwinian Revolution was long because it lasted more than a few years; one hundred and fifty to be more exact. However, I would disagree with this statement. As we have seen in this course, revolutions often last many years and continue to influence society after they end. The Darwinian Revolution is no exception. The changes that occurred in the scientific world were vast, and this also affected the education system. When it comes to religion, the Darwinian Revolution’s influences are still very prevalent. The decision to teach evolution in public schools in the United States was implemented very recently in relation to the acceptance of evolution as a legitimate scientific theory. The resistance of religious institutions and groups has not gone away, even today. Darwin has become the symbol and hero of atheists. Darwin considered himself to be agnostic, but for some reason many religious people cannot separate science and religion. This is definitely not true of everyone. There are many people who can accept both. When charting the evolution of the Darwinian Revolution, it has changed from a scientific revolution to a religious one. Because of this, I would argue that the after effects if the Darwinian Revolution still play a large role in the questions asked by people about science, religion, and the intersection of the two.