Darwinism and its Implications in Other Fields

Charles Darwin, the son of a wealthy doctor/financier, originally studied medicine before developing a fascination with natural history. While¬†traveling aboard the HMS Beagle as a “self-financed naturalist”, he collected flora and fauna from many different parts of the world, one of which, the Galapagos Islands specifically influenced his work¬†On the Origin of Species. The island had species that, although geographically isolated, shared similar traits with species from nearby South America. His idea was that although they shared similar ancestors, each of these species had developed traits beneficial to their survival in their own respective environments.The slow and methodical transformations resulted in drastic changes over millenniums (which humans cannot see) and the creation of two distinct species.… Read the rest here

Spencer’s Social Progress

Author: Herbert Spencer, English philosopher

Context: 1857, prior to Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, on the tail-end of the first Industrial Revolution

Language: inquisitive and scholarly; here he asked what social progress really meant and whether it should be redefined

Audience: the intelligent but uninformed, more specifically those interested in philosophy and anthropology

Intent: to direct scholars’ attention to another way of thinking about society and social progress; until this time most were under the impression that social progress meant that societies were improving the standard of living.… Read the rest here

The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science

Author: Ernst Haeckel. Born in 1834, died in 1919. He was born in Potsdam- in what was then Prussia. He was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, professor and artist. Haeckel established and named thousands of species and devised many biology terms (i.e. anthropogeny, stem cell, ecology, and phylogeny). He also read Charles Darwin’s work and encouraged it, spreading it throughout Germany. He believed that races were separate species and that caucasians were the highest among these.… Read the rest here