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Transcript of Darwin
Darwin and Evolution
and Social Backlash
Impact on Society
Journey of a Lifetime
Using biological concepts of the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest to justify social policies.
Continues to be a topic of "debate"
Foundation of modern medical science
Modern thought and science have also been affected by the Darwinian theory ("Darwin, Charles Robert"), since it gave a whole new perspective on life and scientific study. The Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection has provided us with a possible answer to where we came from
Profoundly changed mankind's understanding on the origin of species and ourselves
extremist political theories
This enraged his father, who later sent him to the University of Cambridge, Christ's College (a well renowned clergy school) as the first step to becoming an
He soon befriended the botany professor John Henslow, as he encouraged Charles to further studies. He also met other leading naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology studies, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature.
Darwin was able to receive a bachelor of arts degree and placed very high on his exams.
Voyage of the Beagle
At Darwin's last few months of his stay at Christ College, he read Alexander von Humboldt's Personal Narrative of Scientific Travels. This inspired Darwin to study natural history in the tropics. His father initially objected to the 5 year journey, but his brother in law (Josiah Wedgewood) convinced him to allow and fund the expedition.
He was born on
Februray 12th of 1809
, in Shrewsbury England. His family was well off, as his father was a doctor and the family consisted of six children including himself. His ancestry includes Josiah Wedgwood (a famed abolitionist and credited with the industrialization of pottery) as well as Erasmus Darwin (famous enlightenment figure and abolitionist).
His mother was often bed ridden
, and his sisters looked after him.
Eventually she passed away in 1817 from a stomach ulcer.
In 1826, he met Dr. Robert Grant, a naturalist and who believed in Lamarckism (organisms can pass on characteristics it acquired during its lifetime to its offspring), and examines marine animals.
In Novemember, he was elected to Plinian Society, a student group that debates about natural history. In his second year, he presented his papers on marine animals to Plinian Society.
Struggle for Existence
Differential Survival and Reproduction
Process of Natural Selection
1. Variation Under Nature
2. Inheritable Traits
3. Struggle for Existence
4. Survival and Reproduction
Organisms have individual variation in appearance and behaviour.
1. Genetic traits are carried in the chromosomes.
2. Chromosomes come in pairs, each pair inherited from the male or female parent.
3. During meiosis, pairs of chromosomes are randomly selected and recombined, creating a large variation in genetic traits.
The most powerful mechanism of evolution
(2^23) x (2^23) = 2^46 = 7.037 x 10^13
= 70 000 000 000 000 variations
-> 10 000 times the world population
Traits are passed on from parent to offspring through reproduction.
Some traits are more heritable than others, some traits are strongly influenced by environmental conditions and have less heritability.
The environment cannot support unlimited population growth.
Every generation produces a population more than what the environment can support.
Organisms compete against one another over the limited resources in a struggle for survival.
Due to the variation in traits, some traits within species will be more advantageous than others in the
struggle for survival
Those with less favourable traits will be less likely to survive.
Those with more favourable trait in the given environment will give the organism a larger chance to survive.
Those more likely to survive will
produce more offsprings
and pass on the traits that are beneficial for their survival.
applying evolution to sociology... and politics.
Definition: (noun) The theory that individuals, groups, and peoples are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals. Now largely discredited, social Darwinism was advocated by Herbert Spencer and others in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was used to justify political conservatism, imperialism, and racism and to discourage intervention and reform.
Essentially the concept means that there are superior groups of humans that will beat out the inferior ones. This term is hardly used because if gives off a negative connotation after the second world war, as it used the term
survival of the fittest
to justify unfair social policies.
Lamarck's Giraffe was a theory developed by Jean Baptiste Lamarck, the idea that an organism can
pass on characteristics that it acquired during its lifetime
to its offspring. This theory was rejected by Charles Darwin in his book The Origins of Species.
"Famine Relief Camp"
* He married his first cousin Emma Darwin with whom he sired 10 children
* Before he married his cousin, he created a pros and cons list but later decided to marry her
* Contrary to popular belief, Darwin was actually an Agnostic
* He was an abolitionist, especially after visiting South America and witnessing the treatment towards the slaves
Influence of Social Darwinism
- Fascism is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy
- (Nazis) these were members of the German fascist political party controlled by Adolph Hiltler from 1933-1945. They believed that only pure Germans were worthy and that others such as Jews, the Roma people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and people with mental or physical challenges were unworthy of life.
- the idea that the mentally and physically ill are unfit and should be left to perish. Programs by which humans are carefully selected for breeding in order to maximize certain qualities. The German Nazi government instituted a Mutterkreuz (mother's cross) program which encouraged women to have many "Aryan" children, for which they could receive crosses.
- the use of pseudoscientific (a belief that claims to be scientific but is invalid and lacks supporting evidence) techniques and hypotheses to sanction the belief in racism, racial inferiority, or racial superiority, or alternatively the claim of "classifying" individuals of different phenotypes into discrete races or ethnicities
- The policy of forcefully extending a nation's authority by territorial gain or by the establishment of economic and political dominance over other nations.
Darwinism vs. Social Darwinism
everything natural is morally correct
observation and evidence
to discover the origin of species
to support acts of racial discrimination
Herbert Spencer was a major writer of the idea of
upper class elitism
His “fittest” were the
economically most successful
not only among groups but within societies. The “savage” or inferior races of men were clearly the unfit and would soon die out.
Spencer advocated that governments eschew policies that helped the poor; he was against all charities, child labour laws, women's rights, and education for the poor and uncivilized.
Such actions, he claimed, interfered with the
laws of natural evolution
; these beliefs became known as social Darwinism.
He attended day school in nearby Anglican Shrewbury School with his brother.
As a child growing up he had a taste for natural history by
, being an avid hunter and enjoying long walks in the forest nearby.
He did not excel neither did he enjoy school and this caused his father to worry that he'd become an "idle hunting man".
70% of mutations have damaging effects
1. no effect
2. alter the product of a gene
3. prevent the gene from functioning
His father had sent him to the University of Edinburgh in hopes of him
. However, Darwin was disgusted by surgical procedures and neglected his studies.