Although not necessarily an immediate revolution, Darwin greatly impacted the scientific and secular world, opening its eyes to the realization of evolution.  Despite many other scientists (Robert Chambers, Alfred Russel, and Herbert Spencer) besides Darwin proving and expressing convincing evidence for the theory of evolution, the idea of creationism was still generally accepted by the public as the only explanation for why life existed as it did: God is perfect, and he created these things in his perfect way; in fact, thinking otherwise would be blasphemous.  It’s imperative to consider the time period in which Charles Darwin and his colleagues lived: a relatively sacred and philosophically conservative world when compared to today.  New ideas that challenged the structure of the belief system that Christianity portrayed were dismissed, because only God and related works (the bible), contained true knowledge.  To go against the word of god was considered outlandish and crazy.  Although discussed in a different Revolution’s seminar, the philosophical question is again introduced: what is knowledge and how can it be obtained?  Does knowledge come from something that simply is?  Is knowledge considered to be truthful when it makes sense in God’s image?  Surely than, the Earth must be the center of the solar system because it contains humans that God made in his image.  Or, is knowledge measured with regard to data, with experimentation, with deductive reasoning?  Although may individuals in Darwin’s time seemed to believe in knowledge simply because there is no other explanation, Darwin challenged that long-lasting status quo.  Examples of this new way of thinking and obtaining knowledge are evident in his famous voyage aboard the Beagle and his close documentation of his finches on the Galapagos Islands.  It was here in which Darwin challenged hundreds of years of Christianity and reasons, and purposed his theory of evolution: decent with modification.


Although revolutionary, Darwin’s theory during the mid 1800s was not revolutionary in the sense that it drastically changed the way people perceived nature.  Although his book On the Origin of Species was successful, still only a minority of people bought into the idea of such a powerful concept overthrowing what religion had conditioned people to believe in.  Although evolution gained popularity decade by decade, even in the 1920’s, many still believed this “knowledge” to be blasphemous, evident in John Scopes’ 1925 arrest for teaching evolution in a Tennessee public school.  However, despite the backlash from religious groups, Darwin’s contribution to the scientific world was mammoth.  And, while Darwin’s contribution at the time of his discovery and publication may not have been revolutionary, the populace’s eventual acceptance of this knowledge proves that his findings are revolutionary.  Although Darwin contributed greatly to the understanding of our species’ history, it’s interesting to note how individuals abused this knowledge and twisted in order to justify persecution and the practice of “natural selection”, or rather, “artificial selection”.  World War II Germany and its persecution of Jewish, homosexual, and other “inferior” deemed groups is proof enough about how knowledge could negatively impact a society.  Although not explicitly mentioned in the lecture, Germany’s response and interpretation of this Darwin’s Revolution gives rise to another question: Are all revolutions beneficial?