Origin of SpeciesJune 26, 2021
British naturalist Charles Darwin’s book, published on November 24, 1859. It is one of the most important studies in the history of science. The study is on the idea of biological evolution, which Darwin formed based on his observations, especially in the Galapagos Islands, after his research voyage on the HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836.
The debates between the religious doctrine, which assumes that living things were created by God, and the evolutionist doctrine, which tries to prove their existence by going through very long processes and changes, have continued since the publication of the work.
The work of Charles Darwin also attracted the great attention of Marx and Engels. As soon as Darwin’s work was published, Engels said in a letter to Marx: “Darwin, whose book I am currently reading, is simply magnificent”. In Marx’s book, “This is the book that contains the natural history basis of our views.” described as.
The most important misconceptions and prejudices about Darwin are the claims that Darwin based human origin on apes. On the contrary, Darwin warns about this. Man is descended from the same species as apes, but did not emerge as a result of the evolution of apes. There is a separation from the common ancestor.
The Birth of Theory
Darwin learned from his investigations that species are not fixed, but change according to environmental conditions, albeit for a long time. However, he had not yet been able to explain what triggered this process. After returning to England, this was essentially what he discussed with the naturalists he was working on and whose views he valued.
While Darwin was establishing his theory of evolution, in Malthus’s Essay on Population, which sheds light on and influenced him: “All living things are in a war of existence or extinction, the cause of wars is population growth, because food resources are limited and humans are required to have them. They are forced to wage war as a nation, and in this war, the strong will smash the weak.”
Connecting the struggle for existence in Malthus’s thesis with his own observations, Darwin answered what was the driving force of the theory of evolution and defined it as natural selection and adaptation to the environment.
Charles Darwin, disconnected from religion and the church ever since Darwin began drawing conclusions from his observations as a natural scientist, was downright reluctant to take this final step and reveal his theory to the world. He had packed his notes with the words “to be opened after my death” on it. This package, and the new notes it added, have been sitting in the ballot box on the skirting board of Charles Darwin’s house under the stairs for almost two decades.
Scope of Theory
While working on Darwin’s theory of evolution, he made the following assumptions:
1. Variability: The world is not immutable, it is in a process of constant change.
2. Creationality of species: All living structures emerged in a continuous process of differentiation and have common ancestors.
3. Evolution is a process: Evolution is a continuous process and does not occur in instantaneous leaps.
4. Natural selection: Creatures that are best adapted to environmental conditions reproduce the most, and as a result, those that are less adaptable are pushed out of their habitats. Changes that are neither advantageous nor disadvantageous in terms of adaptation are not affected in this process.
These assumptions are based on the following facts that Darwin considered observable:
– Regardless of their mode of reproduction, living things tend to reproduce in a geometric sequence.
– Despite this trend, the population of the species remains more or less constant.
– Natural resources are limited, they do not change in parallel with population growth.
– No two specimens of a species are ever exactly the same, so there is great potential for variability within each species.
A large part of the variability is genetic.
– From all these facts, Darwin arrives at what he calls the “war of life”.
Accordingly, since there is a struggle for survival among individuals with different characteristics in a certain environment, it is inevitable that individuals (or species) with superior characteristics will dominate and the others will be eliminated in terms of adaptation to natural conditions. Thus, the driving mechanism of evolution was found to be natural selection.
Darwin’s theory of evolution has faced a number of criticisms from the scientific world as well, and has always been on the agenda of discussion on the basis of newly discovered facts.