On Darwin\'s Theory of Natural Selection


Dale Anderson
AP Biology
February 3, 1997

Whether it is Lamarck\'s theory that evolution is driven by an innate
tendency towards greater complexity, Darwin\'s theory of natural selection, or
the belief that the evolution of plant and animal life is controlled by a higher
being, the process of evolution cannot be denied. Archaeological investigations
have proven that species evolve over time, but the unanswered questions are "
How?" and "Why?" The answer lies in Charles Darwin\'s theory of evolution.
Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809. Mr.
Darwin was easily bored with his studies as a child, he turned away from his
father\'s footsteps and becoming a physician after seeing several operations
performed without anesthesia. He became interested in geology and natural
history and was not intrigued by his studies of the holy ordge University. He
was sent on a trip to explore the world and while he was on this journey, he
became enthralled with biology and geology. He made and wrote observations about
coral reefs (1842), and volcanic islands (1844), but his greatest biological
observations were those pertaining to his theory of evolution.
Darwin\'s findings begin in the Galapagos Islands where he noticed a wide
array of finches whose beaks were different sizes. He believed that the
physical conditions on the island did not affect the birds\' beaks, but it was
the birds\' feeding habits. For instance, the birds with the large, powerful
beaks ate large seeds, while the birds with the small or fine beaks, ate small
seeds or insects. He theorized that each bird was suited to its surroundings
and was adapted to its environment, thus the birds best suited to the
environment prevailed and reproduced, leaving those who did not adapt, extinct.
In his book, On the Origin of Species, Darwin presented the idea that
species evolve from more primitive species through the process of natural
selection, which works spontaneously in nature. Darwinism states that not all
individuals of a species are exactly the same, but individuals have variations
and that some of these variations make their bearers better adapted to their
particular ecological conditions. Not only does this theory make perfect sense,
it is also very simple and difficult to dispute. Darwinism can be compared to
the today\'s world by using an analogy such as, two people apply for a job, one
person has the educational background and experience that is required to obtain
the job, while the other does not. The person with the experience and education
has better adapted himself to his surroundings ,therefore the person who has
adapted to his environment is given the job and the other remains unemployed.
Darwinism is often opposed by orthodox churchgoers who believe that
their God is directly responsible for every happening in nature. This is a
respectable opinion, but Darwinism and religious beliefs do not have to be in
direct conflict, for example, in the Christian Bible in the book of Genesis
(1:11-12,1:24) it is stated that God said, "Let the earth produce all kinds of
plants...So the earth produced all kinds of plants, and God was pleased with
what he saw. Most Christians have difficulty believing that evolution is
justifiable, all God commanded was that the earth was to produce the plants and
animals, the Bible does not say that the earth looked like it does today, and we
know, in fact, that it did not. The Bible does not explain how evolution
occurred, what processes evolution entails, and therefore does not contradict it.
The Bible describes how things began, and is not even very descriptive at that.

Charles Darwin\'s Theory of Evolution is an easily justifiable way of
explaining the process of evolution. His ideas have made an enormous impact on
the world, and have revolutionized biology. Though some disagree with Darwin\'s
ideas, they are still worthy of acceptance and should be revered as one of the
most intelligent and important biological findings in history.

Category: Science