Darwin and the Origin of Species

Author: Charles Darwin (1802-1882) was an English naturalist and geologist, whose contributions to evolutionary theory were significant. He was born into a wealthy family, and his father was a doctor, which Darwin almost pursued as a career path. His family was largely Unitarian. Darwin was highly critical of the Bible as a source of history, and traveled the world in order to disprove many of the Bible’s scientific stances.

Context: 1859, when much of the world believed in the Bible as an explanation for the science of the natural world. Many people believed that the world and every species on it were created by God. Darwin sought to disprove this.

Language: Darwin writes using many basic scientific terms, but in a way that is understandable.

Audience: Darwin writes for a population interested in scientific theory, perhaps written for those who previously had doubts about Biblical scientific explanations. His audience does not need an extensive background knowledge in science.

Intent: Darwin writes in order to inform people of the way in which evolution occurs, disproving certain Biblical theories. He wants to provoke thought among a large population, inspiring a naturalistic rather than Biblical approach to science. Furthermore, Darwin writes in order to provide a wider pool of opinions and beliefs.

Message: There are more species born than can survive, which creates a struggle for existence among species. Survival is determined by those who have even the slightest advantage, which will turn the balance. These advantages give a being significant benefits where its survival is concerned. This theory of natural selection accounts for the extinction of certain species and the survival of others.

4 thoughts on “Darwin and the Origin of Species

  1. You followed the ACLAIM method OK, but you have a few issues here. Your use of the present tense when speaking about Darwin is inappropriate for this purpose, you should use the past tense. Another minor issue is your understanding of his message; he wrote that more individuals are born than can possibly survive, not species. He is not specifically advocating the extinction of certain species.

  2. Darwin also spoke about modification and the idea that as long as the conditions of life in general remain the same, modification may continue to be inherited for an almost infinite number of generations. His theory about natural selection is that it is the “great agency” in the creation of distinct species.

  3. Next time on your ACLAIM, focus more on your audience. It is important to analyze who the piece is written for to help understand the writers motive.

  4. Darwin’s theories on evolution were revolutionary and downright defied religious beliefs. It was necessary for people like Gladstone to establish the non-contradictory relationship between religion and science for ideas as radical as this to be accepted.

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