Evolution. Is it a fact or fiction? Darwin’s theory has had a great impact on the world today. It has caused many debates between religious authorities and those from the scientific community. This theory prompted individuals to think about the origin of life in the universe.
What distinguishes Charles Darwin from the others is the fact that he collected and provided substantial evidences and he related various branches of science such as geology, botany and biology, which helped, validate his theories. His theory of natural selection as stated by Nelson and Jurmain (1991, p.606) in the modern form is that "the evolutionary factor causes changes in allele frequencies in populations due to differential net reproductive success of individuals." His grasp of the evolutionary process and the clarity of his work makes Charles Darwin the most popular figure in the scientific field of Evolution (Francoeur, 1965, p.34).
The grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was a well renowned doctor, poet and philosopher who wrote many books concerning nature. He said that all different living things were produced over millions of years by one original ancient parent, such that each offspring had a natural tendency to improve itself (Karp, 1968, p.14). However, fossil records show that this theory of one original parent was not probable (Karp, 1968, p.14). His opposition toward any form of organized religion and his rejection of Christianity was considered to be superficial and eccentric (Chancellor, 1973, p.21). His tendency to theorize and create wild speculations without testing his theories caused his reputation as a scientist to suffer.
Around the end of the eighteenth century all discussions of evolution were suppressed because of the rigid creationist views held by the Church who persecuted anyone who challenged their beliefs (Chancellor, 1973, p.41). It was not until the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species that the discussion of evolution was revived.
When non-biologists talk about biological evolution they often confuse two different aspects of the definition. On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur? Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution.
EVOLUTION AND FOSSIL RECORD
In the study of human evolution, two main methods of dating are used:
· Carbon-14 and potassium-argon dating. Carbon-14 dating involves the decay of radioactive C-14, which has a half-life of 5770 years. This makes this...