One of the great struggles in humanity is the difficulty with which we can adapt personal beliefs or ideas to include new information.  Proposed changes in mindset are often perceived as an attack on the person or institution themselves, rather than a simple presentation of fact or alternative point of view. The struggle that Darwin experienced while attempting to reconcile his ideas about evolution with the preconceived societal notion that God is solely responsible for creation conveys how difficult it is for humans to adapt to new perspectives or ways of thinking.

In Darwin’s biography, Janet Browne emphasizes how Darwin was anxious to share his discoveries even with his own wife due to her devout belief in divine creation. The couple was emotionally close, but the subject was a topic of strain. The prospect of then sharing his information with strangers, especially people in positions of power based on religious beliefs, was undoubtedly daunting. His doubt was only confirmed by the negative public reception of Robert Chambers’ Vestiges. This atmosphere was created and perpetuated by the inability or unwillingness of people to open their minds to considering new ideas. Darwin was at risk of being wholly rejected by society, despite maintaining some personal respect and even reverence for religion.

We can see this inability in our turbulent and often violent political climate today. The polarization of the two main parties are in part a result of one side refusing to understand or give credit to the other. As disagreements become more of an attack on the group rather than the idea itself, the system is less productive and more divided. Many people are unable to accept scientific information on climate change because it contradicts their prior knowledge or threatens the integrity of their career.

Still, the facts persist. Darwin’s theory of evolution holds true and remains respected and taught today. Climate change has spurred inventive minds around the world to create alternative forms of energy and encourage practical waste methods. The general mindset of the community changes eventually, despite being argued and met by conflict initially.