Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
He was the first evolutionary biologist whose revolutionary explanation of the origin of species and the descent of man startled the whole world .His eleboration of human development was diametrically opposed to the conventional belief of Christianity.The majority of the Christian believed that the universe and all it’s creatures,as in many other religions,were put on the earth by almighty God.Darwin’s theory explained that human beings were the result of evolution that took millions of years.
Darwin’s theory infuriated the hierarchy of all religious denomination and they squarely blamed Darwin for poisoning the society by propagating baseless and unholy principles.Despite bitter criticism from various quarters,Charles Darwin would not budge an inch .His critics,specially priest,scathingly called his discovery “The Monkey’s Principle”.Undaunted Darwin continued promulgating his new newly discovered principle by publishing articles in various scientific journals and addressing the intellectual .As the time passed,more scientist took interest in the subject and,later ,came to the conclusion that Darwin was right.
In 1860the revered bishop Bilwar Force of Oxford bitterly criticised Charles Darwin and the his supporter T.H Huskley for the misleading people by propagating such a scandalous principle.Today scientific research has proved Charles Darwin’s theory of origin of species and the descent of man to be correct.
Charles Darwin spent many precious years of his life in research work.He made long voyage to far off places and studied the wild life he collected day and night .What is notable about him is that when he was intensely involved in his research work,he remained unperturbed by the scathing criticism coming from all the sides,many people abhorred him and his research,but Darwin was never afraid of his life.He remained true to his vocation as a dedicated scientist and served science to the best of his ability.He was determined to find the out the hidden truth of human genesis .In the end years of hard working brought him rich rewards as he succeeded unravelling the hidden mystery of human evolution.Up until the present day there aren’t any counter theories to refute Darwin’s.Now the situation is that many people hold parallel beliefs, they believe in Darwin’s theory and at the same time they believe that God created the world.
Charles Robert Darwin was born in Mount House,England on 12th February,1809 to an upper class family.His father was a successful doctor who was making a good living out of his profession.His mother was a daughter of the famous English potter Josiah Wedgwood.His grandfather was Erasmus Darwin,a scientist,doctor,inventor and poet.Darwin’s childhood was spent in relative comfort and ease in this privileged family.But sadly he was a deprived of a mother’s love as she died when Darwin was only eight years old.
As a young boy Darwin took a deep interest in nature and naturally formed things and he would spend hours collecting various kind of rocks ,and in closely studying plants,creatures and insects.He wanted to know why plants,insects and creature were different from each other,and as he couldn’t get suitable answers from the book he was studying in school,he gradually began to lose interest in education.Frequently Darwin would spend hours chasing after grasshoppers etc.,and missed his classes and would be punished by his teachers.He drew lots of criticism and derogatory remarks from them but Darwin turned a deaf ear to the teachers and carried on his favourite activities unperturbed.
When Darwin left school he became a student of medicine in Edinburgh University .He studied hard for a few years but soon lost interest and eventually gave up the idea of becoming a doctor .His father,himself a reputable doctor,was furious and disappointed that his son didn’t want to follow in his footsteps,but Darwin would not change his mind.
At the age of 19,Darwin was admitted into Christ Church College,Cambridge in 1828 to study theology for three years.At the age of 22 Darwin was awarded degree which means he could now become a church minister and do religious preaching but he showed no interest at all in doing this.While studying theology at Cambridge Darwin became friendly with a biology professor,John Steven Henslow ,who was a zoologist.Their friendship grew as Darwin found geography and zoology very interesting and very much to his liking.Another senior geologist Professor Adam Sedgwick Liked Darwin because of his strong desire to learn more about nature and its recreation.
An opportunity came to Darwin when Professor Sedgwick took him on an important field trip to Wales,this field trip proved immensely profitable to Darwin as he learnt many things from Professor Sedgwick that enlarged Darwin’s mental perspective .Professor Henslow and Sedgwick put forward Darwin’s name for a British Science Expedition on a ship called the HMS Beagle which was going to the South Seas.This was a very valuable opportunity for Darwin to secure his place as a geologist,zoologist and botanist on the team.In fact this voyage change Darwin’s life altogether .Darwin boarded the Beagle and left Plymouth on 27th.December 1831 ,it was a voyage that lasted 5 years and took in the South Sea Islands,the south American coast and Australia.During 5 long years of research work collecting and studying specimens Darwin was sure that life on earth started evolving many millions of years ago.
In 1859 Darwin’s ground breaking theory was publicised in the form of a book called “The Origin of a Species”.Darwin was much criticised for bringing out such an unbelievable theory that explained how changes take places in all living things with the passage of time.Moreover Darwin’s research about the nature and development of living things had found that only the fittest survive in the jungle.The struggle for sustenance and space meant that only those species survived that could overcome the weaker species and adapt to changes in their environment.According to him,it is nature that causes changes in the shape,size,and behaviour of all living things.
During the five year long survey aboard the Beagle,Darwin learned several things.First of all,his tireless work boosted his confidence to the extent that he began to think of himself as a naturalist worthy of note.He also developed observational skills skills that helped him tremendously in later years.The volume of works that Darwin did during the voyage of the Beagle made him popular and earned him the respect of the scientific community.When he returned to England in 1836 ,after the five years voyage,he was welcomed back by the large community of scientists.He was soon made a fellow of the Geological Society and just two years later in 1838 Darwin was elected a member of the Athenaeum club.This was a renowned club whose members where distinguished people in the fields of art,literature and science.Following this honour Darwin was made a fellow of the oldest scientific organisation in Great Britain, the Royal Society,whose membership is made of leading scientist.
While Darwin was being hailed as one of the most distinguished scientist ,there were many people who strongly disagreed with his theory.One of these was Richard Owen,a leading scientist,who openly said that Darwin’s theory of evolution was inconsistent with the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis in which God created the universe and everything in it and which the majority of people believed in.Despite a lot of opposition and severe criticism Darwin stood his ground and continued gathering more evidence which further strengthened his theory of evolution.In later years Darwin published book after book and wrote several thought-provoking articles in various scientific journals which duly elevated Darwin’s status as a distinguished naturalist and scientist.
In later years,Darwin preferred to live alone and lead the life of an independent scientist.It was in Darwin’s nature to look at everything from a scientific point of view and possibly this is what he did when he thought about marriage ,weighing of all the pros and cons.But at the age of 30 he married his cousin Emma Wedgood on 29th.January 1839 and they had ten children, three of whom sadly died at an early age.Darwin suffered from ill-health,possibly due to the voyage on the Beagle as he was fit afterwards.After the age of 40 he was always chronically ill but despite that he still continued his research work without interruption.
Darwin died at his home Down House in Kent on 19th.April 1882; aged 73.Although he and his family wished for simple funeral in Kent his scientific colleagues felt he should have a more elaborate funeral in recognition of his life long devotion to science. On 26th, April 1892 he was given a state funeral in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.