A Victorian Battle: Holmes v. Darwin
The Victorian society placed a strong value on professional and well-rounded scientists that were capable of making very rapid deductions to solve mysteries and to study and advance new medical breakthroughs. The Victorian age was filled with new discoveries and new notions and philosophies that changed England, Europe, and moreover, the world including: Darwin’s highly debated Theory of Evolution, Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, the worldwide Industrial Revolution, and the invention of cars, telephones, and photography. These, among others, are just a fraction of occurrences during the Victorian era that will have forever changed the world. Holmes, in many ways, is also much like a scientist. He too uses forensic approaches in solving his various mysteries, in addition to using scientific tools, such as a convex lens. Holmes disentangles myths with his rather swift and hyper-logical intuitions, like many other scientists of the time, Darwin included.
The Holmes series, and some would argue genre, was created by Conan Doyle at nearly the same point in time that Darwin was assembling his Theory of Evolution for the world to critique. Holmes became the personification of the Victorian era’s obsessions with science and technology and reflects it with the numerous, above mentioned, scientific advances made at the time. He uses his numerous techniques and equipment, similar to that of a scientist, and is a good representation of a real-life scientist. Through this, he is able to make quick deductions in order to solve any problem presented to him, a trait that any great scientist possesses. Sherlock Holmes establishes all of these abilities on more than one occasion in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
During the period of the story’s construction, the Victorians were gaining knowledge of new scientific theories, and the academic and technical revolutions. The Victorians were uncertain of these theories as they were first introduced because they destabilized appreciated views of Victorian existing thought, and undermined the thoughts of millions in the country and the world. An example of one of these contentious theories is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Darwin made huge developments with his precise and systematic approach to problems, undermining the myth of creation and quite literally scaring the heck out of the Catholic church. Both Darwin and Holmes made astonishing progresses and unraveled mythologies to alter the entire process of thinking for the Victorian people. Darwin used logical and nearly indesputible evidence to compile a scientific explanation to replace his so called “myth of creation” with his theory, which facilitated the persuasion of many people who were, at first, highly skeptical.
Darwin’s theory began to be recognized in the Victorian world because he committed to an enormous amount of research to make sure that his theories were sound. This meant that, despite undertaking the...