"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin is thought to be the father of evolution. His most famous book is the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection published in 1859 and his most well-known theory is the idea of natural selection or survival of the fittest (Nale, 2010). Shrewsbury, UK is the birthplace of this naturalist. He was born into an educated family, with a father that was a doctor, and was one of three children. His older brother studied literature and the arts (Darwin, 2008). However, Charles did not always intend to become the scientist that we know him as. He was originally a student studying medicine, but he was not cut out to follow in his father’s footsteps. He then transferred to Cambridge to become a minister. While at Cambridge, his interest in zoology and geography lead him to relationships with professors in both the biology and geology department. After a trip to Wales with the geology professor, he went to survey South America on the Beagle (Landry, 2011). This is when Darwin started to become the scientist that we know him to be.
The idea of Natural Selection had been around from before Darwin was born, but it was Darwin’s use of real life observations and data that allowed this concept to become accepted (Landry, 2011). Darwin contributed to the scientific world with many of this other works, including The Descent of Man. Published in 1871, this novel compares lower and more basic species with the construction and behaviors of humans (Landry, 2011). Each chapter moves to a higher level of understanding, starting with similar body construction, and ending with sexual characteristics and behaviors (Darwin, 2008). One thing most people don’t know about is his contribution to the marine sciences. Darwin was first person to document the origin of corals. While sailing on the Beagle, he made many evolutionary discovers about organisms in general, but he also research small coral polyps with geologists aboard the ship (Rainbow, 2011). Darwin also showed a special interest in barnacle species. He studied their adaptive reproductive abilities and the differences between multiple barnacle species. These observations along with many others gave more evidence to his works, specifically The Origin of Species (Rainbow, 2011).
Some of Darwin’s other works include Coral Reefs, Effects of Cross and Self Fertilization on the Vegetable Kingdom, Geological Observations on South America, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, The different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species, The Expression of the Emotion in Man and Animals, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, The Voyage of the Beagle, and Volcanic Islands (Darwin, 2008). While alive, he received the Royal Medal, the Wallaston Medal, and the Copley Medal (Landry, 2011). Charles Darwin passed away April 19th 1882. Even though Darwin had died, he continued to receive many awards for his work and four of his seven children became respected scientists (Darwin, 2008).
"The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an improved theory, is it then a science or faith?"
- Charles Darwin
2008. Charles Darwin Biography. Received at http://www.darwin-literature.com/l_biography.html
Darwin, C. (2008). Charles Darwin Quotes. Received at http://www.darwin-literature.com/l_quotes.html
Landry, P. (2011). Charles Darwin. Received at http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Biographies/Science/Darwin.htm
Nale, J. (2010). Biotic Competition and Progress in the Works of Charles Darwin. Southern Journal Of Philosophy, 4836-42. doi:10.1111/j.2041-6962.2010.00019.x
Rainbow, P. S. (2011). Charles Darwin and marine biology. Marine Ecology, 32130-134. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0485.2010.00421.x