Public Outcry And Acceptance To Darwin's Theory Of Evolution

2152 words - 9 pages

On Thursday 24 November 1859, Charles Darwin published and made available to the western world his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, a compilation of some twenty plus years of research regarding the human biology and its advancement. Darwin proposed in Origins that all life slowly evolved, biologically mutated over a period of time, to its present day form. Expanding on prior research in the field of genetics, Darwin theorized a "survival of the fittest" complex which forced basic animals to evolve new advanced traits to survive in their respective environments, in the process theorizing that humans also evolved from lesser creatures. Darwin's theory of evolution was meet with critical response, mainly negative, at the time of its inception, but slowly gained support in the years following. In particular at the time of Origins publishing, the western world was undergoing a religious revival of sorts thanks to the rise of Evangelicalism. Due to conflicts of interest between Darwin's proposed theory of evolution directly contradicting the biblical theory of creationism, much controversy was generated by the publication of Origins. Creationism which stressed the belief of one omnipotent God creating the world and all its inhabitants was the most widely spread belief during this time period. Across the western world different assortments of clergymen attacked, or surprisingly stood in solidarity with the theory of evolution. This brings into question, why were the responses to evolution so disparaging? This can be explained that due to prior established beliefs and knowledge of respective individuals, the reaction to the theory of evolution was at first quite negative, but overtime became more and more accepting as people grew to be more accepting, understood that reason does not have to compromise belief.
Initial reaction to Origins and Darwin's claims of evolution were less than favorable. Many reviewers criticized Darwin's theory in the sense that it was purporting that civilized men came directly from bestial apes while having no significant prepared evidence. Highlighting this common response to the controversy of evolution, the Baptist Quarterly attacked Darwin's theory of evolution, by introducing the case of the elephant, "Without then, in any way limiting Almighty power, if an elephant was created without progenitors, the first elephant must in some way or the other have physically arrived on earth.", suggesting that the existence of elephants contradicted with evolution, as where in the first place could elephants have come from other than an all mighty creator, there were no other akin animals that it could have evolved from (Scientific Dogmatism 2). The article goes on to further state "No one has ever observed the phenomenon of the origin of one species from another, the suggestion of its possible occurrence is a guess that hardly rises to the dignity of a hypothesis.", attacking Darwin by asserting lack of any physical proof of...

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